Square raises $100 million for $1 billion valuation

Investment by venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins quadruples the valuation of the mobile payments start-up in just six months.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read

Square's app and system would let buyers make mobile payments as an alternative to NFC.
Square's app and system lets buyers make mobile payments as an alternative to NFC. Square

Mobile payments start-up Square has acquired a $100 million investment from venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, valuing the company at more than $1 billion.

The company announced the investment on its Twitter feed. "To continue to empower everyone to accept payments anywhere, we've raised $100 million in our Series C Financing, led by @kpcb," the company tweeted. KPCB partner Mary Meeker will also be joining Square's board of directors.

The new round of financing has quadrupled the company's value in just six months when a $27.5 million round of funding led by Sequoia Capital in January valued the company at around $240 million.

The service, founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is being positioned as an alternative to the much-touted but still emerging near-field communication (NFC) technology. Square's system still lets you pay for goods and services using your mobile phone without the need for cash or a credit card. But instead of having users tap their phone against an NFC-enabled register or terminal, Square's system also lets users "check into" a store through phone, pick up items, and pay for them through Square account.

A mobile app called Card Case helps users locate nearby stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets that support Square's system. However, both the buyer and the retailer have to sign up for Square accounts. And only about 50 merchants scattered around large cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have signed up for the service so far.

Demand for mobile wallet services is expected to be great, with the total value of mobile transactions reaching $245 billion in 2014, according to market researcher Gartner.