After months — if not years — of waiting, Square has filed paperwork to go public. The move comes just over a week after Square's founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, was reinstated as the CEO of Twitter as well. That'll certainly impact what investors think of Square, given that it'll now be working with a leader juggling two notable tech companies, but Twitter investors' response to Dorsey has largely been positive. Square will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SQ." An initial price range and the number of shares to be offered has not yet been determined.
Square is still losing money
Square quickly became known for its small white credit card processing dongle after launching in 2009. They're now pretty ubiquitous among small merchants who want to accept credit cards, and that's led to Square becoming a major payments processor. It works with millions of merchants and processed $23.8 billion in payments last year, which explains why investors have been watching for its IPO.
That said, like many other recent tech IPOs, Square is still losing money. In 2013 it saw a net loss of $104.5 million, and that grew to $154.1 million in 2014. That's continued to this year, with Square losing $77.6 million just through the end of June. Square's revenue, however, is growing. Its net revenue during that same six month period was $560.6 million, up 51 percent from the same time last year. During all of 2014, it brought in a net revenue of $850.2 million, up 54 percent from 2013.
Square also doesn't see its revenue being entirely tied up in payments. Square Capital, a small business cash advance, is one revenue source that Square expects to make up a "larger portion" of its total revenue over time. The program launched in 2014 and has already given $225 million in advances. Note that those are advances — not loans — which explains why this service has been somewhat controversial. Square notes that it's continuing to explore other models for this business, in part to potentially avert risks from economic downturns.
One other risk that Square brings up: Jack Dorsey's role at Twitter. In its filing, Square notes that "this may at times adversely affect his ability to devote time, attention, and effort to Square." Square is probably just being exhaustive in its disclosure of risks to shareholders, but it certainly speaks to an issue that's been on investors' minds over at Twitter. He seems to be fairly dedicated to the company, however. Dorsey currently owns nearly a quarter of Square, and his refusal to leave Square was briefly an issue with Twitter's board when it was discussing his appointment.
Square currently lists its offering at a total of $275 million, however the filing notes that this is an estimate subject to change.