Back to: Blog Author: Piotr Pawłowski Published on: November 1, 2023

The Rise of Square: Simplifying Payments for Small Businesses

Founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, and Jim McKelvey, a glassblower and entrepreneur, Square Inc. has revolutionized the way small businesses process payments. This article dives deep into the journey of Square, exploring how a small startup became a financial giant, focusing on its mission to empower small businesses with simple, innovative payment solutions.

2009-2010: The Early Days and the Birth of a New Payment Era

“If you solve a problem, you get to build a business.” These were the words of Jim McKelvey when he co-founded Square with Jack Dorsey. The duo observed the challenges small businesses faced in accepting card payments, often due to expensive hardware and complex fee structures. Square introduced a small, white, square-shaped card reader that could be attached to a smartphone or tablet, transforming it into a portable point-of-sale (POS) system.

Key Milestones:

  • February 2010: Official launch of the Square card reader
  • December 2010: Over one million card readers shipped

2011-2014: Expansion and Diversification

With the success of its card reader, Square started to diversify its product lineup and expand its services. In 2011, the company introduced Square Register, an app transforming an iPad into a full-fledged POS system. By 2012, Square was processing over $10 billion in payments annually.

Key Developments:

  • 2011: Introduction of Square Register
  • 2012: Starbucks invests $25 million and partners with Square for mobile payments
  • 2013: Launch of Square Market, an online marketplace for businesses
  • 2014: Square introduces Square Capital, providing funding to small businesses

2015-2017: Going Public and Strengthening the Ecosystem

In November 2015, Square went public, opening at $9 per share. This period also saw the introduction of new products like Square Invoices and Square for Retail, further enriching the ecosystem for small businesses. Jack Dorsey emphasized the company’s mission, stating, “We’re empowering the electrician to send invoices, saving the baker time when selling croissants, and giving the boutique retailer tools to sell online for the first time.”

Significant Events:

  • November 2015: Square’s Initial Public Offering (IPO)
  • 2016: Launch of Square Invoices and Square for Retail
  • 2017: Introduction of the Square Cash Card

2018-2020: Innovating and Thriving Amidst Challenges

Despite the challenges brought about by the global pandemic in 2020, Square continued to innovate and provide crucial support to small businesses. The company introduced new features such as curbside pickup and local delivery options, aiding businesses in navigating the new normal. Square’s Cash App also saw tremendous growth during this period.

Key Achievements:

  • 2018: Launch of Square for Restaurants and Square Installments
  • 2019: Introduction of Square Online Store, offering omni-channel capabilities
  • 2020: Rapid growth of the Cash App, with over 30 million monthly active users

2021 and Beyond: Sustaining Growth and Fostering Innovation

“We’re here for the long term,” stated Jack Dorsey, as Square continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. The company remains committed to its mission of simplifying payments and empowering small businesses. With a strong focus on innovation and customer-centric solutions, Square is well-positioned to continue its growth and contribute to the success of small businesses worldwide.

Looking Forward:

  • Continued emphasis on innovation and customer experience
  • Expansion of product offerings and services to cater to diverse business needs
  • Ongoing support and empowerment of small businesses


From a small startup with a revolutionary idea to a financial giant empowering millions of small businesses, Square’s journey is a testament to the power of innovation and the impact of solving real-world problems. The company’s unwavering commitment to simplifying payments and supporting small businesses has paved the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for entrepreneurs around the world. As Square continues to grow and evolve, its story remains an inspiring example of how technology and vision can come together to create lasting change.

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