Square began in 2010 after the invention of a small credit card reader that plugged into iPhones. About 10 years later, the company has grown into a $26 billion fintech behemoth under Jack Dorsey’s leadership. Square profits off a lot more than card swipes at your favorite trendy coffee shop.
The company provides a wide range of software products for sellers that helps simplify everything from payroll to making appointments with customers. Square offers small business loans as well, often in sums smaller than traditional banks are willing to lend to neighborhood stores, restaurants and coffee shops.
On the consumer side, Square launched Cash App, originally called Square Cash, in 2013. Since then, the app has seen enormous growth, jumping from 7 million to 15 million users in 2018 alone.
Square credits its success to a mission of economic empowerment for everyone from a small business owner to a major retailer. But critics say the company may have lost focus, be overvalued, and struggle to sustain growth if the U.S. faces an economic downturn.