Square Inc.’s Waterloo, Ont.-based office is set to expand as the team dedicates itself to rolling out Square Cash, a peer-to-peer mobile payments solution, to the Canadian market, according to a company executive.
Square co-founder, Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame announced Square’s first permanent office in Canada last September, and the company followed up by issuing a press release May 13. Placed firmly in the middle of Ontario’s technology region, that office currently has about 10 engineers on staff, according to Francoise Brougher, Square’s business lead. That will soon expand to between 40 and 50 people as Square pushes more of its products currently available in the U.S. north of the border.
At the beginning of May, Square launched Inventory Tracking to Canada, giving merchants the ability to automatically track stock as they make sales and receive shipments. It was the first solution to build on top of the simple point of sale (POS) Square offers – a dongle that enables a smartphone or tablet to receive credit card payments.
Next up for Canada is Square Cash, Brougher says.
“Projects are generally run with a team of engineers, so what happens is the critical mass project is in Waterloo,” she says. “Square is much more than a payments company. We make things easier for buyers and sellers.”
Released to the U.S. market last October, the mobile app’s goal is to make money as sending an e-mail. It allows users to transfer money directly between bank accounts using a debit card number.
“If for example I’m at a restaurant and I pay the bill and I want my friend to actually pay half the bill, she can use her debit card to pay me back right away,” Brougher says.
There’s no timeline for when the product will be launched in Canada, but Brougher says as soon as debit payments are enabled on Square’s platform in the country, they can roll out that solution. While most U.S. debit transactions are still being done with magnetic stripe cards, Canada has mostly adopted the chip and PIN method.
Square also hopes to bring other products from the U.S. to Canada, she adds. Square Feedback was released south of the border earlier this month, allowing merchants to issue customers digital receipts that also become a mechanism for opening a new line of communication. Then there’s Square Capital, which gives U.S. merchants access to cash advances without need for completing paperwork or even passing a credit application.
“We’re working on getting these products to Canada as fast as we can,” Brougher says.
Expect to see more services like this spinning out of Square’s core service of simple POS, she says. “Think about the amount of data we have and collect for sellers… we’re in a good position to offer products like this.”
As for a Wall Street Journal article published in April that Square was being courted by the likes of Google Inc. and PayPal for acquisition, Brougher dismisses that as speculation.
“We never had a conversation with those companies around acquisition,” she says. “Right now we’re on track to be a standalone company.”
Brougher is in Montreal to speak at the C2MTL conference wrapping up today.