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An oddity in Stripe's internal valuation

Jul 19, 2022
An $100 bill folded into a downward arrow.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

After Stripe's lowered valuation, Axios finds that certain figures coming from the payments giant carry a peculiar twist.

Driving the news: Stripe's latest internal assessment of its 409A valuation came with a 28% drop to its valuation, now just above $74 billion, the WSJ reports. A source confirmed the cut to Axios.

Why it matters: At issue is something called a 409A valuation. This is an internal accounting measure used to price employee stock, not equal to an outside investment valuation.

  • 409A valuations usually clock in below their last venture capital round, as investors often have liquidation preferences and other terms that make their shares more valuable.

The intrigue: According to the same source, Stripe's last 409A valuation (around $103 billion) appears to actually have been higher than its venture capital price ($95 billion).

Meanwhile, Stripe declined to comment for this story, and Axios has not yet determined how its 409A valuation could have been higher.

Of note: Startups often lower their 409A valuations as a way to recruit new hires, as lower prices give employees more upside. Instacart notably did so this year.

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