This is an interesting move for Square, which is mainly dedicated to helping small merchants accept payments on their mobile device.
“At Square, we are committed to creating a better experience for our merchants by helping them focus on their customers rather than on the payment itself,” product engineering lead Gokul Rajaram said in a blog post. “Evenly’s app made it easy for anyone to send or collect payments from friends, anywhere, anytime. But more importantly, the team showcased the importance of prioritizing experience over the technical aspects of the product itself.”
This is Square’s fourth acquisition to date, meaning in one week, it doubled the number of acquisitions it has made over its four-year history. Evenly will now work on seller initiatives at Square, along with Viewfinder — a photo-sharing app Square acquired just last week.
Square shook the payments world when it debuted its credit card reader that plugs into an iPhone. This dongle made it infinitely easier for small merchants, like food truck owners and craftspeople, to accept digital payments. It now processes billions of dollars in payments a year.
In June, Square unveiled an online marketplace where local businesses can sell their wares online. It aims to give businesses without a strong digital presence a way to reach a wider audience and effectively sell online.
Square’s goal was to make selling products online as simple as embedding a YouTube video in a blog, and building out the marketplace has been a big focus for the company over the past six months.
Both the Evenly and Viewfinder acquisitions will help Square build out the tools it offers to its merchants, as well as its engineering team.
Evenly looks a lot like Venmo — a popular social payment service that makes it dead simple to pay and charge your friends for anything from rent to a shared meal. Venmo was acquired by Braintree in August 2012, and Braintree was then acquired by PayPal for $800 million in September.
Square has also made a push into peer-to-peer payments this year with the release of Square Cash, which it rolled out in October. With Square Cash, anyone with a debit card can send money to others by creating an email, putting an amount in the subject line, and hitting send.
Mobile payments is a red hot and competitive space right now. Square and PayPal are the dominant players, but there is also newcomer Clinkle to contend with, and of course, Google (which has its hands in everything.)