UPDATE (April 2023): Courtland and Channing Allen have bought Indie Hackers back from Stripe, after six years of building within the company. The brothers are now majority owners in the business, and Stripe is an investor. Here’s their podcast on the new direction.
Indie Hackers, a knowledge-sharing platform and community of Internet business founders, was acquired by financial tech giant Stripe in 2017.
Founder Courtland Allen launched the platform just a year earlier, in 2016, to create a community where successful founders could share valuable insights and aspiring entrepreneurs could find inspiration, he wrote in 2017.
Allen said he was shocked when he saw a personal note in his inbox from Stripe CEO Kevin Collison.
“I was checking my emails and the very top of the inbox was “Acquire Indie Hackers?” from Patrick at Stripe,” Allen recalled in an interview with Acquired.fm. “And I was just like, “Holy shit. There’s no way this email is real.”
At the time of the acquisition, Indie Hackers was netting nearly $8,000 per month in revenue, Allen said when he was interviewed on his own Indie Hackers podcast after the acquisition.
Now, five years later, the company’s online forum attracts thousands of engaged founders and creators, and its thrice-weekly newsletter has nearly 85,000 subscribers.
Indie Hackers represented Stripe’s third acquisition. Stripe previously acquired collaboration app Kickoff in March 2013 and prototyping tool Tonic in September 2016.
Stripe’s motivation for acquiring the Indie Hackers community
Stripe, a payments processing and financial tech firm, is one of the most valuable private companies in the world. The company raised $600 million in March at a valuation of $95 billion, Stripe reported.
Stripe was interested in acquiring Indie Hackers because it supports the company in fulfilling its mission of helping more founders grow profitable businesses, Allen said.
“As crazy as it may seem, it’s not a stretch to say that anything that gets more people to start businesses and that helps those businesses succeed is a win for Stripe,” Allen wrote. “Indie Hackers is a natural home for inspiring founders and empowering their growth.”
Allen and his brother who later joined the company, Channing Allen, lead Indie Hackers, which continues to operate as a stand-alone brand powered by Stripe. Neither Allen responded to requests for comment for this story.