Startup Superstar

Pioneering a New Way to Pay

Cameron WaltersPhotos courtesy of Square Inc.

Cameron Walters MS ’08 is one of the men behind Square Inc.’s groundbreaking Square Mobile Card Reader, which is shaking up the credit card industry and propelling the startup company to an estimated value of $3.25 billion. The device allows anyone to accept payments using their smartphone and has landed the company on the pages of The Washington Post, CNNMoney, and The New York Times. 

When the Square Reader launched in 2010, it set the credit card industry on its ear. Suddenly, users could go mobile, skip the annual contracts, and pay only a flat 2.75 percent transaction fee, or a monthly fee of $275. It’s used primarily by small businesses but can be used by anyone wanting to transfer funds. 

Walters took the job as the Reader’s lead software developer shortly after graduating from USF with a master’s degree in Internet engineering. His job was to make sure it flawlessly tracked sales, made deposits, and provided receipts.

Square device“My career path into technology and the Internet were directly influenced by the people I met and the knowledge I gained at USF,” he said. Walters is one of Square’s six founders, a group that includes Twitter creator Jack Dorsey.

But Walters almost wasn’t a Silicon Valley startup star. Before USF, he was a postgraduate researcher in neurobiology. The long hours in the laboratory waiting for a breakthrough didn’t suit him, however, and he took a chance on the fast-paced technology sector. As he worked on his degree at USF, he also started his own app consulting company, launched a product design/technical development firm, and created a search engine that lets computer users find and register Internet domains.

Walters is now part of Square’s international expansion team, and his company is flourishing. It boasts that more than two million businesses now use Square, and in three years, it has grown to more than 400 employees. Some of those new employees, or “Squares” as they’ve nicknamed themselves, are also USF graduates, including Aaron Dias-Melim ’11, Kailey Duffy ’11, Sarah Hirsch ’11, Jared Fliesler ’06, and Cheryl Wong ’97.

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