Stripe, the payments startup now valued at $95 billion, has launched a number of new products to move beyond the API that made its name, to build out its position as a platform for financial services and related business infrastructure. The latest of these makes its debut today: App Marketplace, as the new service is called, is a new offering where Stripe provides access to third-party apps as well as scripts created by app publishers, users, and Stripe itself, who run those apps with Contain stripe. It may represent the biggest jump ever away from payments.
The Marketplace launches with 35 apps that Stripe’s customers already use as part of their marketing, payments, and business development stacks, such as DocuSign, Dropbox, Intercom, Mailchimp, Disaster and Xero. More will be added over time, Stripe tells me.
Initially, scripts containing these apps with Stripe will be free to use – the goal is to gain some critical mass around usage, so the barriers are low – although it is a marketplace, and that it will try to add more third parties to it. To encourage building apps for that ecosystem, Stripe may charge for some of those scripts in the future. Third-party apps that are part of those scripts and paid services charge customers directly if those users are not already subscribers. But as with the scripts themselves, Stripe can also bring new payments to its own platform over time.
And perhaps most interesting of all, while initially the idea will be to create scripts for some of the most common uses, in theory these scripts can cover any kind of business flow that would naturally suit Stripe, even if there are no Stripe services are involved. herself.
“We have a requirement in the app review process that it must have real business functionality,” Bowen Pan, product head for Stripe Apps, said in an interview. “So it can’t just be a quiz app. It should be business oriented. But it doesn’t have to have existing Stripe functionality. It can be a productivity workflow that helps with processing.”
The idea with the App Marketplace, Pan told me, came from the company’s observations about how Stripe products are used: in short, payments don’t come in a vacuum, but are part of broader business services streams that can include sales or marketing campaigns, customer support teams and issuing contracts or other agreements.
Until now, customers have mostly used these tools side by side, either by building manual integrations or not integrating them at all. (If you’ve ever been on a call or contacted customer support and find yourself waiting many minutes for responses…this is usually one of the reasons: they’re searching and updating multiple databases.)
The idea here is to provide ways to speed up all of that — and, of course, to make it more likely that people will stay within the Stripe ecosystem to conduct all of the business activities.
The Marketplace’s launch comes on the heels of a few other product launches Stripe has made in recent months that have taken the company beyond the services that helped make its name, which is an API largely used to for merchants and others who make online card payments (even the company’s name, Stripe, is a reference to the magnetic strip on the back of payment cards). That included making long-awaited strides in cryptocurrency; Connections, a Plaid-like service to help customers retrieve financial information from bank accounts; and most recently an ETL product to more effectively channel and analyze Stripe data in Snowflake and AWS Redshift warehouses.
To be fair, the company has been taking small steps for years to expand beyond payments to neighboring areas such as tax calculations, cash advances and even corporate incorporation. However, this new wave of tools represents very large financial infrastructure games that talk about how the company wants to fill out its outsized valuation, perhaps an even more important task these days, given what is happening in both the public and private finance markets.