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Alum Revolutionizes the Credit Card Industry 


Cameron Walters MS ’08 helped found Square Inc., which revolutionized the credit card industry and is valued at about $3.25 billion.

Not long ago, small business owners who wished to offer credit and debit card sales were forced to buy or rent swipe machines, sign contracts with credit card companies, and pay monthly as well as per-use fees. Then, along came USF’s Cameron Walters MS ’08, one of a small group of entrepreneurs who founded Square Inc., maker of the Square Reader. 

The appeal of the Reader lies in its simplicity. With it anyone can receive a free Reader in the mail, plug it into the audio jack on their Android or Apple smart phones, and begin swiping.

Valued at $3 billion

 Launched in 2010 with small businesses in mind, the Reader set the credit card industry on its ear. Today, the San Francisco-based start-up is valued at more than $3.25 billion and regularly makes the business headlines of the Washington Post, CNNMoney, and The New York Times. 

“My career path into technology and the Internet were directly influenced by the people I met and the knowledge I gained at USF,” said Walters, who is one of Square’s founding six—a group led by Jim McKelvey and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Not surprisingly, Square’s success has attracted other USFers to become Squares, a nickname company employees gave themselves. They include Aaron Dias-Melim ’11, Kailey Duffy ’11, Sarah Hirsch '11, Jared Fliesler ’06, and Cheryl Wong ’97.

USF opened the door

Before settling on a career in technology, Walters was a post-graduate neurobiology researcher. But he found that the long hours in the laboratory waiting for a breakthrough didn’t suit him. At USF he immersed himself in computer science, starting several technology businesses while still enrolled. 

After graduating with an Internet engineering degree, Walters was hired as Square’s lead software developer. He made sure the Reader flawlessly tracked sales, made deposits, and provided receipts (Would you like that printed or sent to your email address?). 

He’s constantly impressed with the talent and enthusiasm Square employees bring to their work. “Square’s founders started with an agreement that we would always seek to hire people that were better than us, smarter than us, and would challenge us, and that we could learn from both professionally and personally,” said Walters, who now oversees Square’s international expansion efforts.

by Ed Carpenter | Office of Communications and Marketing »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews