Square is a payment technology company founded in San Francisco by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. To grow globally, Square needed the best possible engineering talent. They chose to create a product development office in Kitchener-Waterloo. Recently, Square acquired Kili Technology, and opened a Toronto office that primarily works on hardware.

Square needed top talent with a global mindset at the forefront of payment technology. Ontario provided Square with a deep talent pool, a healthy IT cluster, a business-friendly environment and a growing economy.

The history of Square and the growth of mobile payments

Payment device and application
Square offers a suite of innovative tools, including a payment device and app that allow credit cards to be swiped using a smartphone or tablet. Photo credit: Square.

Founded in 2009, Square quickly became one of the hottest start-ups in Silicon Valley and in November 2015 became a public company. Square offers payment processing to point of sale, hardware to software that helps individual merchants and small businesses start, run, and grow. The company launched with a payment device and app that allow credit cards to be swiped using a smartphone or tablet.

According to a recent study by Taiwan-based analyst TrendForce, a global provider of market intelligence on the technology industries, consumers worldwide will use their mobile phones to spend a total of US$620 billion on all forms of mobile transactions this year, representing year-on-year growth of 37.8% from $450 billion in 2015. The total mobile payment volumes are expected to reach $1.08 trillion by 2019.

Square has millions of sellers globally and processed $22.8 billion in payments in the first half of 2016. The company has over 1,400 employees with offices in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

The Waterloo region: An "easy" choice

In September 2013, Square announced the opening of a permanent office in Waterloo region, which now employs a growing team of 13 engineers working on Square Cash.

"The engineering discipline, and all the technology thinking, and support and mentorship that is happening in the city, it makes it a very easy choice," said Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square during a visit to the University of Waterloo.

The advantages of investing in Waterloo Region have long been noticed in Silicon Valley. The region is one of the top three recruiting centres in the world for Microsoft and Google.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square, announced at the University of Waterloo that the company will open a product development office in Waterloo Region. Photo credit: University of Waterloo.

Ongoing investment in Ontario

In March 2015, Square acquired Kili Technology, a company that has developed silicon, electronics, and software that simplify and optimize payment processing. They have a team of relentless technology innovators based in Toronto. As part of Square's global hardware team, they continue to lead the way in delivering simple and affordable hardware that gives small and medium-sized businesses a smarter and safer way to do business.

"We're continually investing in Canada, both through our talented engineering teams in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, and through our growing suite of services for developers and small business owners," said Cathy Vigrass, Head of Canada at Square.

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