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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Stripe, a San Francisco-based digital payments infrastructure company, is in talks to raise new private funding at a valuation of at least $70 billion, and perhaps as high as $100 billion, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: This would make Stripe the world's second-most valuable venture-backed company, or maybe the most valuable if ByteDance divests its majority stake in TikTok by this Friday's CFIUS deadline. It's also another indication that Stripe's founding Collison brothers are reticent to bring the company public.

$$ history: Stripe raised $600 million at nearly a $36 billion valuation back in April. Overall it's raised nearly $2 billion from firms like Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, CapitalG and Thrive Capital.

The bottom line: "The company has benefited during the pandemic with more shoppers turning to e-commerce. It’s gone on offense during the downturn this year, starting a card-issuing service for U.S. clients and agreeing to acquire a Nigerian startup to expand in Africa," Bloomberg writes.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Venture capital's record-smashing year

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Just weeks into the pandemic, we reported that venture capitalists were still doing deals, even though their offices were closed and their flights were canceled. But we didn't quite foresee the WFH gusto.

Driving the news: U.S.-based venture capital hit an all-time record in 2020.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
19 mins ago - Sports

MLB falls out favor with Republicans

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

MLB is the latest sports league to fall out of favor with Republicans following its decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

By the numbers: In mid-March, MLB's net favorability rating among Republicans was 47%, the highest of the four major U.S. sports leagues. Since then, it has plummeted to 12%, dropping the league below the NFL and NHL, according to new data from Morning Consult.

33 mins ago - World

Blinken makes unannounced trip to Afghanistan to sell troop withdrawal

Photo: CARLOS BARRIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday to meet with the nation's president, Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, who is representing the Taliban in negotiations, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Blinken sought to reassure the pair that the U.S. will maintain support for the country, despite President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting May 1 and concluding in full by Sept. 11.