A Platform’s Role is to Reduce Friction, so Say Hello to Stripe Atlas

The platform is the single biggest agent in the economy for reducing business friction. It’s also a strategy for market domination because of the advantages a platform can offer to customers. We said this in Edition 1 of the Elastic Enterprise, and now Nick and I are busy figuring out an update to the book, we think this is the single most interesting persistent feature of platforms, and one to focus on. That thought struck me when I started to hear about the new Stripe Atlas service.


I hadn’t quite clocked what Atlas was about until I read DC Cahalane’s post on LinkedIn Pulse. Here’s the full skinny for Irish companies – in fact for any company – and this is the pitch for winner-takes-all, friction free, business startup and expansion:

Through its new product, Atlas, Stripe, already the payment platform of choice for the majority of new Irish startup companies has now enabled a new Irish company to cut through the red tape and set itself up as a US based, Delaware corporation from day one….Your Atlas account comes with a fully functioning US bank account from Silicon Valley Bank, thrown in. It’s an incredibly well thought out product offering.

You can see the implications. Right now I am finishing off a study on millennials and the disruption of Chinese banking. Thousands of miles away and yet a similar theme. China tech platforms are offering services highly integrated services. That includes, taxi booking, ride booking, travel booking, payments, ecommerce, logistics, wealth management and so on. As we said in Elastic Enterprises stretch horizontally across industries. They refuse to recognize old industry barriers. Their main thrust is to reduce business friction.

Here’s Stripe’s version of what it is offering:

With Stripe Atlas, entrepreneurs can easily incorporate a U.S. company, set up a U.S. bank account, and start accepting payments with Stripe. Starting today, it’s available to developers and entrepreneurs globally.

Today’s business world knows no boundaries, neither geographic nor vertical because the platform raises the capability of a company beyond old ideas about core competency. That’s the meaning of platform elasticity. Does it have other implications? Platforms tend to be a  winner takes all strategy.  Atlas will put Stripe in prime position for winning the business of any born global (and that means high growth and multi-currency) enterprise for the next decade.

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