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Dotcom brothers' company worth €15m

TWO Irish brothers who became dotcom millionaires in their teens have received €1.42m in backing from some of Silicon Valley's most successful investors.

Co-founders of PayPal, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, along with top Silicon Valley VCs, have invested the money in Limerick brothers Patrick (22) and John (20) Collison's latest venture.

Their company is now likely to be valued at close to €15m before it launches a product.

The pair, from Castletroy, became an overnight sensation two years ago when they sold their first company, Auctomatic, to Canadian firm Live Current Media for €3.2m.

They have moved to California for their latest venture, Stripe, a facility which makes it simple for website operators to accept payments online.

Patrick has refused to comment on who is funding the venture, but says that a number of organisations were already testing their product before the launch.

Patrick said that he and John began working on the idea when they were at college in the States. Patrick was studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and John was at Harvard University.

They moved to Palo Alto, which is one of the main cities in Silicon Valley, to work on their new project.

The co-founders of PayPal, who sold their company to eBay for $1.5bn in 2002, are understood to be investing in Stripe.

Patrick's love of computers was ignited by a First Communion present of a computer game.

At the age of eight, he took a computer course in the University of Limerick. Aged 10, he started studying books on computer programming.

But it was only when he won the BT Young Scientist of the Year in 2005, aged 16, that the world took notice. He unveiled a completely new computer language to the awestruck judges.

He took A-levels so he could go to college earlier and was offered a place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He deferred his studies to work on Auctomatic, which allows users of websites such as eBay to manager their account.

John was still a transition-year student at Castletroy College when the firm was sold.

csheehy@herald.ie