Nope, we're not quite sure whether to feel good for Square, the startup that makes cashless transaction apps for smartphones, and all the success that's about to come its way, or resent it for selling out to the corporate coffee juggernaut Starbucks. "This fall, Square will begin processing all credit and debit card transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States and eventually customers will be able to order a grande vanilla latte and charge it to their credit cards simply by saying their names," reports The New York Times' Claire Cain Miller. "Starbucks is also investing $25 million in Square as part of its latest round of financing, which values the company at $3.25 billion, and Howard D. Schultz, Starbucks’s chief executive, will join Square’s board," she adds.
Okay, so we fully admit that $3.25 billion doesn't make Square "little," but the company's first product was a credit card reader (a square) that allowed anyone with an iPhone to accept credit card payments--just seem tailored for small businesses like farm stands Cain Miller writes, small businesses like the mom and pop coffee shops Starbucks puts out of business. In fact, as Fast Company's Ellen McGirt has noted, Square founder Jack Dorsey (if he sounds familiar it's because he, yeah, co-founded Twitter) his first Square vendors included Sightglass Coffee, a nice, non-Starbucks San Francisco beanery and roastery funded in part by... Jack Dorsey. Here's a video of when Dorsey introducing the lovable, adorable Square at Sightglass in 2009:
A lot changes in three years. "Starbucks is one of the largest organizations in the world, taking technology like Square — simple, fast and focused on customer experience — and bringing it to a massive scale," said Dorsey in The Times report today. Some on Twitter are wondering if that means Sightglass' coffees will be available at Starbucks now; others are wondering what it can mean for Sightglass.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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