Square is a hotly anticipated offering that could come in 2013. Square allows anyone to accept credit cards anywhere at anytime for a fee of 2.75% per swipe. Its simplicity is striking and makes it very appealing to small business. All a company has to do to process a credit card transaction is plug the little square shaped device into a tablet or phone and then swipe the customer's credit card through the square. The customer can sign on the line on the device and then a receipt is sent by email.
The payment processor was founded in 2009 and has grown to 300 employees and has passed the $6 billion run rate on transactions. Square has over a million customers. The company hired a former Goldman Sachs (GS) banker as its CFO last year sparking speculation of an upcoming offering.The company's last round of funding was in September when it received $200 million from a combination of Starbucks (SBUX), Citi Ventures and Rizvi Traverse management. The company is valued at $3.25 billion. The investors include a who's who roster of Esther Dyson, Marissa Mayer, Richard Branson and MC Hammer. As a comparison, Square has raised $341 million vs. PayPal's $203 million. PayPal, a subsidiary of eBay (EBAY), has tried to create a competing product, but the adoption has not been as fast as Square. Why 2013? It doesn't need the money, but it does want to grow. Square is making acquisitions and that costs money. In 2011 Square said it was looking to double or triple its engineering and design teams. Instead it bought New York design firm 80/20 and in turn created a New York office. Bringing it much closer to the banking community. Visa (V) is currently a partner, but if square wants to disrupt the payment-processing game, it will need big money to compete.