10-K 1 a10-kfilingsquareinc2015.htm 10-K 10-K


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ý ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
OR
o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                      to
 Commission File Number 001-37622
 
 
 
SQUARE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
 
Delaware
 
80-0429876
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
1455 Market Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94103
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(415) 375-3176
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
 
Title of Each Class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, $0.0000001 par value per share
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES o NO ý
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. YES o NO ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES ý NO o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). YES ý NO o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non‑accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer ý (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Accelerated filer o
Smaller reporting company o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). YES o NO ý

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of a share of the registrant’s Class A common stock on November 19, 2015 as reported by the New York Stock Exchange on such date was approximately $1,866 million. The registrant has elected to use November 19, 2015, which was the initial trading date on the New York Stock Exchange, as the calculation date because on June 30, 2015 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter), the registrant was a privately held company. Shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock and Class B common stock held by each executive officer, director and holder of 5% or more of the outstanding Class A common stock and Class B common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This calculation does not reflect a determination that certain persons are affiliates of the registrant for any other purpose.

As of March 7, 2016, the number of shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock outstanding was 31,717,133 and the number of shares of the registrant's Class B common stock outstanding was 303,544,942.

Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to the Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. Such Definitive Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2015.





TABLE OF CONTENTS

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” or “continue,” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions that concern our expectations, strategy, plans, or intentions. Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about our future financial performance, our anticipated growth and growth strategies and our ability to effectively manage that growth, our plans for funding and expanding Square Capital, our expectations regarding litigation, and the sufficiency of our cash and cash equivalents and cash generated from operations to meet our working capital and capital expenditure requirements.
The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.

 

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PART I
Item 1. BUSINESS


Our Business

We started Square in February 2009 to enable anyone with a mobile device to accept card payments, anywhere, anytime. While we found early success providing easy access to card payments, commerce extends beyond payments. In every transaction, we see opportunity for our sellers: to learn more about which products are selling best, to reinvest in their businesses, or to create and engage loyal buyers. Although we currently generate approximately 94% of our total net revenue from payment processing services, which include revenue generated from Starbucks Corporation (Starbucks), we have extended our product and service offerings to include additional point-of-sale (POS) services, financial services and marketing services, all to help sellers start, run, and grow their businesses.

We are driven by economic empowerment and work to democratize commerce—leveling the playing field for sellers of all sizes. Our focus on technology and design allows us to create products and services that are accessible, intuitive, and easy-to-use. We set attractive and transparent pricing that is easy for our sellers to understand. We provide a free software app with our affordable (often free) hardware to turn mobile devices into powerful POS solutions in minutes. Our insights into our sellers’ businesses have allowed us to develop services that are applicable to businesses of all types and sizes, from Square Analytics to digital receipts. We also continue to add advanced software features that tailor our POS solution to specific types of sellers, such as open tickets for bars and restaurants and inventory management for retailers.
    
Because of our approach, we have grown rapidly. Millions of sellers accept payments with Square. They span all types of businesses: from cabs to coffee shops, lawyers to landscapers, retail stores to restaurants. Although substantially all of our revenue is currently generated in the United States, we also serve sellers throughout Canada and Japan. As this international base of sellers grows, so too should our Gross Payment Volume (GPV) and revenue in these regions. We serve sellers of all sizes, ranging from a single vendor at a farmers’ market to multinational businesses. Our products and services are built to scale, so sellers can stay with us over the life of their businesses. In the year ended December 31, 2015, we processed $35.6 billion of GPV, which was generated by 712 million card payments from approximately 190 million payment cards. GPV measures the total dollar amount of card payment transactions we process for our sellers (net of refunds), excluding card payments processed for Starbucks and our Square Cash peer-to-peer service. Since we generate transaction revenue as a percentage of payment volume, we believe GPV is a key indicator of our ability to generate revenue.
    
For the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, our total net revenue grew to $1,267.1 million and $850.2 million, an increase of 49% and 54% from the prior years, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, our Adjusted Revenue grew to $452.2 million and $276.3 million, an increase of 64% and 73% from the prior years, respectively. Adjusted Revenue is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as our total net revenue less transaction costs, adjusted to eliminate the effect of activity under our payment processing agreement with Starbucks. For more information on Adjusted Revenue, see the section titled “Key Operating Metrics and Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

The size and strength of our payments and POS business have allowed us to develop a deep understanding of our sellers’ business performance and to build a cohesive commerce ecosystem. As such, we are well positioned to provide financial services and marketing services to sellers efficiently and intelligently. For example, one of our financial services, Square Capital, uses our deep understanding of our sellers’ businesses to proactively underwrite and extend cash advances to them. Although Square Capital is still in its early stages, we have already advanced over $400 million across over 70,000 advances in the year ended December 31, 2015. Square Capital demonstrates how our services can rapidly reach significant scale through a combination of strong demand and our direct, ongoing interactions with our sellers.

Our software and data product revenue, including revenue derived from Square Capital, has grown quickly, and we expect these products will contribute a larger portion of our total revenue over time. For the year ended December 31, 2015, our software and data product revenue accounted for 13% of Adjusted Revenue, up from 4% in the year ended December 31, 2014.    
    
We intend to continue to make investments that will serve sellers and buyers over the long term even if a return on these investments is not realized in the short term. For the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, we generated a net loss of $179.8 million, $154.1 million and $104.5 million, respectively. For information regarding geographic areas, see Note 17 of the accompanying notes to our consolidated financial statements.






Payment Processing Overview

Processing payment card transactions requires close coordination among a number of industry participants that provide the services and infrastructure required to enable such transactions. These participants consist of payment service providers, acquiring processors, card networks, and issuing banks. Within this landscape, Square serves as a payment service provider, acting as the touch point for the seller to the rest of the payment chain. The definitions and graphic below outline this payment chain and the typical flow of a Square payment transaction, along with the types of fees typically paid and received at each stage.

Payment Service Provider (PSP): Provider of the payment services that holds the direct relationship with the seller and facilitates the rest of the payment transaction on behalf of the seller. A PSP is also the merchant of record for the transaction. The merchant of record is liable for the settlement of transactions processed.
Acquiring Processor: Provider of the back-end technology that facilitates the flow of payment information through the Card Networks to the Issuing Bank. Our agreements with acquiring processors typically have terms of two to four years.
Card Networks (e.g. Visa, MasterCard): Provider of the infrastructure for card payment information to flow from the Acquiring Bank to the Acquiring Processor.
Issuing Bank: The financial institution that issues the Buyer’s payment card.
Acquiring Bank: The financial institution associated with the Acquiring Processor.

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1.
Once the Buyer is ready to make a purchase, the Seller inputs the transaction into the Square point-of-sale (POS) and presents the Buyer with the amount owed.
2.
The Buyer pays for the transaction by swiping or dipping their payment card, or by tapping their NFC-enabled mobile device on the Square Reader or Square Stand, which captures the Buyer’s account information.
3.
The Square POS sends the payment transaction information to Square, which acts as the Payment Service Provider (PSP).
4.
Square passes the payment transaction information to the Acquiring Processor via an internet connection. Square pays a small fixed fee per transaction to the Acquiring Processor.
5.
The Acquiring Processor routes the payment transaction to the appropriate Card Network affiliated with the Buyer’s card such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express. Square pays a variety of fees to the Card Network, the most significant of which are assessment fees that are typically less than 0.15% of the transaction amount.
6.
The Acquiring Processor then routes the payment transaction through the Card Network to the Issuing Bank, which authorizes or declines the payment transaction for the Buyer’s payment card.
7.
Upon authorization, the Issuing Bank sends a notification back through the Card Network to the Square POS to inform the Seller that the transaction has been successfully authorized.
8.
The Square POS sends a digital receipt for the transaction to the Buyer, enabling a persistent communication channel between the Seller and the Buyer. For example, this is how the Buyer can send feedback to the Seller about the service provided.
9.
The Issuing Bank then triggers a disbursement of funds to the Acquiring Bank through the Card Network for the transaction amount. Square will ultimately pay the Issuing Bank an interchange fee as a percentage of the amount of the transaction plus a fixed fee per transaction, which together average between 1.5% to 2.0% of the transaction amount. However, this percentage can vary significantly based on the card type, transaction type, and transaction size.

10.
Square transfers the funds to the Seller’s bank account, net of the fee charged by Square (typically 2.75% of payment volume for card present transactions or 3.5% of payment volume plus $0.15 per transaction for card not present transactions). Square provides sellers with fast access to funds, typically settling with them by the next business day after the date of the transaction via Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, or the same day via its Instant Deposit service for an additional fee. Square pays a very small fee for each ACH transfer.
11.
The funds are settled from the Acquiring Bank to Square, typically in one to two business days after the date of the transaction.
12.
At the end of the month, the Issuing Bank sends a statement to the Buyer showing their monthly charges. The statement includes a reference to Square as the merchant of record on the billing statement as a prefix to the Seller name (denoted as SQ).

Our Products and Services

We offer products and services for our sellers to start, run, and grow their businesses. From our payments and POS services, we gather unique insights that enable us to extend into differentiated financial services and marketing services.


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Payments and POS Services

Square Register, our free POS software application for iOS and Android, is available to sellers in most countries worldwide. It integrates seamlessly with our payment processing solutions, but can also be used on a standalone basis. Square Register enables sellers across a wide range of business types to itemize products or services for faster checkout. Items can be grouped, categorized, sorted, and linked to inventory management. Square Register supports a range of tender types including cash, checks, and gift cards, in addition to credit and debit card payments. When completing a purchase, a buyer can opt in to receive a digital receipt via email or text message. Because payments information recorded using Square Register is stored in the cloud, Square Analytics can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Analytics can surface key insights to a seller such as “Which items have been selling the best over the last month?” or “How many of my customers are new versus returning?” without requiring spreadsheets or other tools.

We currently offer our payment processing solutions in the United States, Canada, and Japan, with further international expansion planned. It is easy for sellers to get started, taking only a few minutes to sign up and requiring no credit checks to begin taking payments. We provide sellers with a range of options for easily and securely accepting payments in-person or online. Funds are typically deposited into a seller’s bank account the next business day or the same day with Instant Deposit for an additional 1% charge. Sellers can accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express all at the same rate. We cover up to $250 in chargebacks per month for all of our sellers, and we offer custom rates for those who process a large volume of payments.

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For in-person payments, we offer custom-designed hardware that is affordable and often free. Our free Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards plugs into the standard headset jack of a mobile device, enabling swiped transactions. Our newest Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC connects wirelessly to mobile devices. It accepts EMV chip cards and payments made via the tap of the buyer’s mobile device using NFC. This enables acceptance via Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other mobile wallets.1 

Square Stand transforms an iPad into a full POS terminal. It features an integrated magnetic stripe reader, provides power to a connected iPad, and can connect to the Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC wirelessly or via a USB connection. It also connects to various peripheral devices that brick-and-mortar businesses need, such as barcode scanners and receipt printers.

Sellers can also accept payments with Square from buyers who are not in-person. For example, sellers can manually enter card information in Square Register when accepting payments over the phone. Alternatively, sellers can create custom digital invoices and collect payments securely with Square Invoices. Sellers can also create a simple online store with Square Online Store or build more advanced websites through integrations with companies such as Bigcommerce and Weebly.

Square Cash is a fast, easy way for anyone to send and receive money electronically. Individuals and businesses can sign up for a Square Cash account using just a debit card or credit card and an email address or a phone number. People can quickly pay businesses or send money using the Square Cash app to a recipient’s phone number, email address, to people nearby using Bluetooth LE, or to a $Cashtag. Square Cash is available for free to individuals sending peer-to-peer payments with a debit card, or for a per transaction fee for all businesses and individuals sending peer-to-peer payments with a credit card.

________________
1 Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) technology is a global payments standard that places microprocessor chips into credit and debit cards that store and protect cardholder data. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that allows smartphones and other devices, such as payments readers, to communicate when they are close together, enabling transactions that require no physical contact between the payments device and the payments reader.

Financial Services

Square Capital

Square Capital provides merchant cash advances (MCAs) to pre-qualified sellers. Our sellers are attracted to the service because we reach out to them proactively with an offer of an advance based on their payment processing history. The terms are straightforward for our sellers, they get their funds quickly (often the next business day), and, in return, they agree to make payments to us equal to a percentage of the payment volume we process for them up to a fixed amount. We receive these payments seamlessly through each card transaction we process for them. A seller can quickly access the status of their Square Capital funds through their Square dashboard. We currently fund a majority of these advances from arrangements with third parties who commit to purchase the future receivables related to these MCAs. This funding significantly increases the speed with which we can scale Square Capital and allows us to mitigate our balance sheet risk.


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Sellers receiving MCAs are contractually obligated to use Square as their only card payment processing service until we have received the agreed-upon fixed amounts of receivables. To the extent a seller breaches this obligation, the seller would be liable to us for the balance of the purchased receivables. Consistent with the general nature of MCAs, there is also no fixed period of time in which the seller must deliver the purchased future receivables to us, as delivery of the purchased future receivables is contingent on the generation of such receivables, and we do not otherwise have any economic recourse to the seller in the event that it does not process a sufficient volume of payments with us to pay the agreed-upon fixed amount of receivables. In addition to MCAs, we plan to expand Square Capital further to offer new product types, including merchant loans, in the near future.

Marketing Services

Square Customer Engagement

Square Customer Engagement helps sellers better analyze and understand their businesses, engage their buyers in ongoing conversations, and promote their offerings through email marketing to drive additional sales. Buyers that have opted in to receive a digital receipt via Square Register can contact the seller about their experience directly from the receipt. A seller can reply to a buyer and even offer a credit or refund directly. We automatically build customer lists for those who have opted in and organize them (loyal, casual, lapsed, etc.) to add context to an otherwise anonymous channel. Sellers can also upload their own buyer contact information. Sellers can create promotions, announcements, or event invitations to send to their buyers. Square Customer Engagement then closes the loop for sellers by enabling them to see precisely how marketing drives in-store sales, whether customers come back, and how much they spend when they do. Free customer engagement services are available to all of our sellers and we also offer a set of advanced services for a monthly fee.

Caviar

Caviar offers a food delivery service to help restaurants reach new customers and increase sales. By managing the logistics of delivery, Caviar makes it easy for restaurants to expand their reach and grow revenue without additional overhead. Caviar enables buyers to order delivery from their favorite local restaurants, including those that did not previously offer delivery. With Caviar’s purpose-built courier and order management apps, delivery is fast. Caviar FastBite, which offers curated meals, can provide delivery in as little as 15 minutes. Buyers can easily access Caviar through our iOS and Android mobile apps or through our website. Caviar is currently available in many U.S. markets, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, with thousands of partner restaurants available in our marketplace. Caviar charges consumers a fixed fee per delivery plus a service fee. We also charge our partner restaurants a service fee as a percentage of total food order value.


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Our Current Sellers

Our sellers represent businesses in a diverse set of industries, including retail, services, food, and leisure. We serve sellers of all sizes, ranging from a single vendor at a farmers’ market to multinational businesses. We believe the diversity of our sellers underscores the accessibility of our offerings. For the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, we had no customer other than Starbucks who accounted for greater than 10% of our total net revenue. The chart below shows the percentage mix of our GPV by seller size:



Product Development and Technology

We organize our product teams with a full-stack development model, integrating product management, development, and design. We focus on affordability, reliability, and cohesion when developing our hardware and software. Our products and services are mobile-first and platform agnostic. We frequently update our software products and have a regular software release schedule with improvements deployed twice a month, ensuring our sellers get immediate access to the latest features. Our services are built on a scalable technology platform, enabling us to assess risk and capture and analyze over a billion transactions a year.

While our software and hardware is developed in-house, we utilize contract manufacturers for the production of our hardware products.

Our product development expenses were $199.6 million, $144.6 million and $82.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, respectively.

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Sales and Marketing

We have a strong brand and continue to raise brand awareness among sellers by enhancing our services and fostering rapid adoption through increased brand affinity, public relations, and strategic partnerships. We also leverage our direct sales and account management teams to facilitate the acquisition and support of larger sellers. Direct marketing, online and offline, has also been an effective customer acquisition channel. This includes display advertising, search engine marketing, social media, direct mail campaigns, trade shows and events, radio and television advertising, and print media. Our Square Readers for magnetic stripe cards are available for free directly via our website or mobile apps, and also at over 35,000 retail stores (including Apple, Best Buy, Staples, Target, Verizon, Walgreens, and Walmart). We plan to continue offering our Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards for free.

Our Competition

The markets in which we operate are competitive and evolving. Our competitors range from large, well-established vendors to smaller, earlier-stage companies, including third-party acquiring processors or payment processors, POS software and terminal providers, peer-to-peer payment providers, and business software providers such as those that provide ecommerce, inventory management, analytics, and appointment solutions.

We seek to differentiate ourselves from competitors primarily on the basis of our cohesive commerce ecosystem and focus on accessibility, speed, transparency, and trust. For payments and POS services, we compete primarily with traditional acquiring processors and payment processors who sell more expensive POS systems, often bundled with long-term contracts, through direct sales and Independent Sales Organization (ISO) channels. Our ability to innovate quickly to accept new payment technologies such as NFC through Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other new currencies further differentiates our payments platform from our competition. Many competitors offer payments and POS services that have features tailored to particular business types or seller needs, and many competitors, especially larger ones, have more comprehensive offerings with specific features and integrations that are attractive to larger sellers and sellers in particular industries.

With respect to our financial services, we compete against established and new alternative lenders as well as other more traditional financial service providers. With respect to our marketing services, we compete with other customer engagement software providers and traditional advertising solutions, as well as with delivery service providers.

We expect the markets for payments and POS services, financial services, and marketing services to evolve and overlap, which we expect will increase competition in our industry. For additional information, see the section titled “Risk Factors-Substantial and increasingly intense competition in our industry may harm our business.”

Intellectual Property

We seek to protect our intellectual property rights by relying on a combination of federal, state, and common law rights in the United States and other countries, as well as on contractual measures. It is our practice to enter into confidentiality, non-disclosure, and invention assignment agreements with our employees and contractors, and into confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with other third parties, in order to limit access to, and disclosure and use of, our confidential information and proprietary technology. In addition to these contractual measures, we also rely on a combination of trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, registered domain names, trade secrets, and patent rights to help protect our brand and our other intellectual property.

We have developed a patent program and strategy to identify, apply for, and secure patents for innovative aspects of our products, services, and technologies where appropriate. As of December 31, 2015, we had 133 issued patents and 493 filed patent applications in the United States and in foreign jurisdictions relating to a variety of aspects of our technology. Our issued patents will expire between 2022 and 2034 (with the exception of a single patent obtained through an acquisition, which will expire in 2016). We intend to file additional patent applications as we continue to innovate through our research and development efforts, and to pursue additional patent protection to the extent we deem it beneficial and cost-effective.

We actively pursue registration of our trademarks, logos, service marks, trade dress, and domain names in the United States and in other jurisdictions. We are the registered holder of a variety of U.S. and international domain names that include the term “Square” and variations thereof.


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From time to time, we also incorporate certain intellectual property licensed from third parties, including under certain open source licenses. Even if any such third-party technology did not continue to be available to us on commercially reasonable terms, we believe that alternative technologies would be available as needed in every case.
For additional information about our intellectual property and associated risks, see the section titled “Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Business and Our Industry.”

Government Regulation

Foreign and domestic laws and regulations apply to many key aspects of our business. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in, among other things, revocation of required licenses or registrations, loss of approved status, private litigation, administrative enforcement actions, sanctions, civil and criminal liability, and constraints on our ability to continue to operate.

Payments Regulation

Various laws and regulations govern the payments industry in the United States and globally. For example, certain jurisdictions in the United States require a license to offer money transmission services, such as our peer-to-peer payments product, Square Cash, and we maintain a license in each of those jurisdictions. We are also registered as a “Money Services Business” with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. These licenses and registrations subject us, among other things, to record-keeping requirements, reporting requirements, bonding requirements, limitations on the investment of customer funds, and inspection by state and federal regulatory agencies.

Outside the United States, we provide localized versions of some of our services to customers through various foreign subsidiaries. The activities of those non-U.S. entities are, or may be, supervised by regulatory authorities in the jurisdictions in which they operate. In Canada, Square Register is the sole payments service we offer, and we are not required to hold a license to offer it. We remain in close contact with Finance Canada, which has regulatory authority over payments issues, among other areas. Square Register is the sole payments service we offer in Japan and we are not required to hold a license to offer it. We remain in close contact with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, which has regulatory authority over payments issues, among other areas.

Our payments services may be or become subject to regulation by other authorities, and the laws and regulations applicable to the payments industry in any given jurisdiction are always subject to interpretation and change.

Consumer Financial Protection

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other federal, local, state, and foreign regulatory agencies regulate financial products, including credit, deposit, and payments services, and other similar services. These agencies have broad consumer protection mandates, and they promulgate, interpret, and enforce rules and regulations that affect our business.

Anti-Money Laundering

We are subject to anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations in the United States and other jurisdictions. We have implemented an AML program designed to prevent our payments network from being used to facilitate money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activity. Our program is also designed to prevent our network from being used to facilitate business in countries, or with persons or entities, included on designated lists promulgated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls and equivalent foreign authorities. Our AML compliance program includes policies, procedures, reporting protocols, and internal controls, including the designation of an AML compliance officer, and is designed to address these legal and regulatory requirements and to assist in managing risk associated with money laundering and terrorist financing.

Protection and Use of Information

We collect and use a wide variety of information to help ensure the integrity of our services and to provide features and functionality to our customers. This aspect of our business, including the collection, use, and protection of the information we acquire from our own services as well as from third-party sources, is subject to laws and regulations in the United States and elsewhere. Accordingly, we publish our privacy policies and terms of service, which describe our practices concerning the use,

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transmission, and disclosure of information. As our business continues to expand in the United States and worldwide, and as laws and regulations continue to be passed and their interpretations continue to evolve, additional laws and regulations may become relevant to us.

Communications Regulation

We send texts, emails, and other communications in a variety of contexts, such as when providing digital receipts. Communications laws, including those promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, apply to certain aspects of this activity in the United States and elsewhere.

Additional Developments

Various regulatory agencies in the United States and elsewhere continue to examine a wide variety of issues that could impact our business, including products liability, import and export compliance, accessibility for the disabled, insurance, marketing, privacy, and labor and employment matters. As our business continues to develop and expand, additional rules and regulations may become relevant. For example, as our Square Capital service shifts from offering merchant cash advances to merchant loans, state and federal rules concerning lending could become applicable. Similarly, if we choose to offer Square Payroll in more jurisdictions, additional regulations, including tax rules, will apply.

For additional information, see the section titled “Risk Factors-Risk Related to Our Business and Our Industry.”

Our Employees

As of December 31, 2015, we had 1,449 full-time employees. We also engage temporary employees and consultants as needed to support our operations. None of our employees are either represented by a labor union or subject to a collective bargaining agreement. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.

Corporate Information
    
Square was incorporated in Delaware in June 2009. Our headquarters are located at 1455 Market Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, California 94103. Our telephone number is (415) 375-3176. Our website is located at www.squareup.com, and our investor relations website is located at www.squareup.com/about/investors. The information contained in, or accessible through, our website is not part of, and is not incorporated into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

We use various trademarks and trade names in our business, including “Square” and Square®, which we have registered in the United States and in various other countries. This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains trademarks and trade names of other businesses that are the property of their respective holders. We have omitted the ® and ™ designations, as applicable, for the trademarks we name in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Available Information
    
Copies of our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act), are available, free of charge, on our investor relations website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such material electronically with or furnish it to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC also maintains a website that contains our SEC filings. The address of the site is www.sec.gov. Further, a copy of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is located at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. Information on the operation of the Public Reference Room can be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.
    
We webcast our earnings calls and certain events we participate in or host with members of the investment community on our investor relations website. Additionally, we provide notifications of news or announcements regarding our financial performance, including SEC filings, investor events, press and earnings releases, and blogs as part of our investor relations website. We have used, and intend to continue to use, our investor relations website, as well as the Twitter account @Square as means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Further corporate governance information, including our board committee charters, code of business conduct and ethics and corporate governance guidelines, is also available on our investor relations website under the heading “Governance Documents.”

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The contents of our websites are not intended to be incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any references to our websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.


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Item 1A. RISK FACTORS
Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes, before making any investment decision with respect to our securities. The risks and uncertainties described below may not be the only ones we face. If any of the risks actually occur, our business could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Business and Our Industry
Our business depends on a strong and trusted brand, and any failure to maintain, protect, and enhance our brand would hurt our business.
We have developed a strong and trusted brand that has contributed significantly to the success of our business. Our brand is predicated on the idea that sellers and buyers will trust us and find value in building and growing their businesses with our products and services. Maintaining, protecting, and enhancing our brand is critical to expanding our base of sellers, buyers, and other third-party partners, as well as increasing engagement with our products and services. This will depend largely on our ability to maintain trust, be a technology leader, and continue to provide high-quality and secure products and services. Any negative publicity about our industry or our company, the quality and reliability of our products and services, our risk management processes, changes to our products and services, our ability to effectively manage and resolve seller and buyer complaints, our privacy and security practices, litigation, regulatory activity, and the experience of sellers and buyers with our products or services, could adversely affect our reputation and the confidence in and use of our products and services. Harm to our brand can arise from many sources, including failure by us or our partners to satisfy expectations of service and quality; inadequate protection of sensitive information; compliance failures and claims; litigation and other claims; employee misconduct; and misconduct by our partners, service providers, or other counterparties. If we do not successfully maintain a strong and trusted brand, our business could be materially and adversely affected.
Our growth may not be sustainable and depends on our ability to retain existing sellers, attract new sellers, and increase sales to both new and existing sellers.
Our total net revenue grew from $552.4 million in 2013 to $850.2 million in 2014 and to $1,267.1 million in 2015. We expect our rate of revenue growth will decline, and it may decline more quickly than we expect for a variety of reasons, including the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Starbucks has announced that it will transition to another payment processor and will cease using our payment processing services altogether prior to the scheduled expiration of our payment processing agreement with them in the third quarter of 2016. As a result, our total net revenue may decrease meaningfully going forward. Our sellers and other users of our services have no obligation to continue to use our services, and we cannot assure you that they will. We generally do not have long-term contracts with our sellers, and the difficulty and costs associated with switching to a competitor may not be significant for many of our services. Our sellers’ payment processing activity with us may decrease for a variety of reasons, including sellers’ level of satisfaction with our products and services, the effectiveness of our support services, our pricing, the pricing and quality of competing products or services, the effects of global economic conditions, or reductions in our sellers’ customer spending levels. In addition, the growth of our business depends in part on existing sellers expanding their use of our products and services. If we are unable to encourage sellers to broaden their use of our services, our growth may slow or stop, and our business may be materially and adversely affected. The growth of our business also depends on our ability to attract new sellers, to encourage larger sellers to use our products and services, and to introduce successful new products and services. We have invested in new products and services, including Square Cash and Caviar, and will continue to invest in new products and services, but if those products and services fail to be successful, our growth may slow or decline.
Our business has generated net losses, and we intend to continue to invest substantially in our business. Thus, we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.
We generated net losses of $179.8 million, $154.1 million, and $104.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
As of December 31, 2015, we had an accumulated deficit of $607.6 million. We intend to continue to make significant investments in our business, including with respect to our employee base; sales and marketing, including expenses relating to

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increased direct marketing efforts, referral programs, and free hardware and subsidized services; development of new products, services, and features; expansion of office space and other infrastructure; expansion of international operations; and general administration, including legal, finance, and other compliance expenses related to being a public company. If the costs associated with acquiring and supporting new or larger sellers materially rise in the future, including the fees we pay to third parties to advertise our products and services, our expenses may rise significantly. In addition, increases in our seller base could cause us to incur increased losses because costs associated with new sellers are generally incurred up front, while revenue is recognized thereafter as sellers utilize our services. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses and may not achieve or maintain profitability.
We frequently make decisions that may reduce our short-term operating results if we believe those decisions will improve the experiences of our sellers, their customers, and other users of our products and services, which we believe will improve our operating results over the long term. These decisions may not be consistent with the expectations of investors and may not produce the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case our business may be materially and adversely affected.
We, our sellers, our partners, and others who use our services obtain and process a large amount of sensitive data. Any real or perceived improper use of, disclosure of, or access to such data could harm our reputation as a trusted brand, as well as have a material and adverse effect on our business.
We, our sellers, and our partners, including third-party data centers that we use, obtain and process large amounts of sensitive data, including data related to our sellers, their customers, and their transactions. This is also true of other users of our services, such as Square Cash and Square Payroll. We face risks, including to our reputation as a trusted brand, in the handling and protection of this data, and these risks will increase as our business continues to expand. Our operations involve the storage and transmission of sensitive information of individuals using our services, including their names, addresses, social security numbers, payment card numbers and expiration dates, bank account information, and data regarding the performance of our sellers’ businesses. We also obtain sensitive information regarding our sellers’ customers, including their contact information, payment card numbers and expiration dates, and purchase histories. We have administrative, technical, and physical security measures in place, and have policies and procedures in place to contractually require third parties to whom we transfer data to implement and maintain appropriate security measures. However, if our security measures or those of the previously mentioned third parties are inadequate or are breached as a result of third-party action, employee error, malfeasance, malware, phishing, hacking attacks, system error, trickery, or otherwise, and, as a result, someone obtains unauthorized access to sensitive information, including personally identifiable information, on our systems or our partners’ systems, our reputation and business could be damaged. If the sensitive information is lost or improperly disclosed or threatened to be disclosed, we could incur significant liability and be subject to regulatory scrutiny and penalties, including costs associated with remediating the breach. Under payment card rules and our contracts with our card processors, if there is a breach of payment card information that we store or that is stored by our sellers or other third parties with which we do business, we could be liable to the payment card issuing banks for their cost of issuing new cards and other related expenses. Additionally, if our own confidential business information were improperly disclosed, our business could be materially and adversely affected. A core aspect of our business is the reliability and security of our payments platform. Any perceived or actual breach of security could have a significant impact on our reputation as a trusted brand, cause us to lose existing sellers, prevent us from obtaining new sellers, require us to expend significant funds to remedy problems caused by breaches and to implement measures to prevent further breaches, and expose us to legal risk and potential liability. Any security breach at a company providing services to us, our sellers, or other users of our services could have similar effects.
Our risk management efforts may not be effective, which could expose us to losses and liability and otherwise harm our business.
We offer payments services and other products and services to a large number of customers, and we are responsible for vetting and monitoring these customers and determining whether the transactions we process for them are legitimate. When our products and services are used to process illegitimate transactions, and we settle those funds to sellers and are unable to recover them, we suffer losses and liability. These types of illegitimate transactions can also expose us to governmental and regulatory sanctions. The highly automated nature of, and liquidity offered by, our payments services make us a target for illegal or improper uses, including fraudulent or illegal sales of goods or services, money laundering, and terrorist financing. Identity thieves and those committing fraud using stolen or fabricated credit card or bank account numbers, or other deceptive or malicious practices, potentially can steal significant amounts of money from businesses like ours. In configuring our payments services, we face an inherent trade-off between security and customer convenience. Our risk management policies, procedures, techniques, and processes may not be sufficient to identify all of the risks to which we are exposed, to enable us to mitigate the risks we have identified, or to identify additional risks to which we may become subject in the future. As a greater number of larger

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sellers use our services, our exposure to material risk losses from a single seller, or from a small number of sellers, will increase. For example, in the year ended December 31, 2015, we recorded a loss of approximately $4.4 million related to fraud by a single seller using our payments services. In addition, when we introduce new services, focus on new business types, or begin to operate in markets where we have a limited history of fraud loss, we may be less able to forecast and reserve accurately for those losses. Furthermore, if our risk management policies and processes contain errors or are otherwise ineffective, we may suffer large financial losses, we may be subject to civil and criminal liability, and our business may be materially and adversely affected.
We are currently, and will continue to be, exposed to risks associated with chargebacks and refunds in connection with payment card fraud or relating to the goods or services provided by our sellers. In the event that a billing dispute between a cardholder and a seller is not resolved in favor of the seller, including in situations where the seller engaged in fraud, the transaction is typically “charged back” to the seller and the purchase price is credited or otherwise refunded to the cardholder. If we are unable to collect chargebacks or refunds from the seller’s account, or if the seller refuses to or is unable to reimburse us for chargebacks or refunds due to closure, bankruptcy, or other reasons, we may bear the loss for the amounts paid to the cardholder. Since October 2015, businesses that cannot process EMV chip cards are held financially responsible for certain fraudulent transactions conducted using chip-enabled cards. This has shifted an increased amount of the risk for certain fraudulent transactions from the issuing banks to these sellers, which has resulted in our having to seek an increased level of reimbursement for chargebacks from our sellers that do not deploy EMV-compliant card readers. Our financial results would be adversely affected to the extent these sellers do not fully reimburse us for the related chargebacks. We do not collect and maintain reserves from our sellers to cover these potential losses, and for customer relations purposes we sometimes decline to seek reimbursement for certain chargebacks. The risk of chargebacks is typically greater with those of our sellers that promise future delivery of goods and services, which we allow on our service. If we are unable to maintain our losses from chargebacks at acceptable levels, the payment card networks could fine us, increase our transaction fees, or terminate our ability to process payment cards. Any increase in our transaction fees could damage our business, and if we were unable to accept payment cards, our business would be materially and adversely affected.
We derive substantially all of our revenue from payments services. Our efforts to expand our product portfolio and market reach may not succeed and may reduce our revenue growth.
We derive substantially all of our revenue from transaction fees we collect in connection with payments services. While we intend to continue to broaden the scope of products and services we offer, we may not be successful in deriving any significant revenue from these products and services. Failure to broaden the scope of products and services that are attractive may inhibit the growth of repeat business and harm our business, as well as increase the vulnerability of our core payments business to competitors offering a full suite of products and services. Furthermore, we may have limited or no experience in our newer markets. For example, we cannot assure you that any financial services and marketing services will be widely used. These offerings may present new and difficult technological, operational, and other challenges, and if we experience service disruptions, failures, or other issues, our business may be materially and adversely affected. Our newer activities may not recoup our investments in a timely manner or at all. If any of this were to occur, it could damage our reputation, limit our growth, and materially and adversely affect our business.
Our success depends on our ability to develop products and services to address the rapidly evolving market for payments and POS, financial, and marketing services, and, if we are not able to implement successful enhancements and new features for our products and services, our business could be materially and adversely affected.
We expect that new services and technologies applicable to the industries in which we operate will continue to emerge and evolve. Rapid and significant technological changes continue to confront the industries in which we operate, including developments in ecommerce, mobile commerce, and proximity payment devices (including contactless payments via NFC technology). Other potential changes are on the horizon as well, such as developments in crypto-currencies and in tokenization, which replaces sensitive data (e.g., payment card information) with symbols (tokens) to keep the data safe in the event that it ends up in the wrong hands. Similarly, there is rapid innovation in the provision of other products and services to businesses, including in financial services and marketing services.
These new services and technologies may be superior to, impair, or render obsolete the products and services we currently offer or the technologies we currently use to provide them. Incorporating new technologies into our products and services may require substantial expenditures and take considerable time, and we may not be successful in realizing a return on these development efforts in a timely manner or at all. There can be no assurance that any new products or services we develop and offer to our sellers will achieve significant commercial acceptance. For example, in 2011, we introduced Square Wallet, a mobile payment app, and discontinued it in May 2014. Our ability to develop new products and services may be inhibited by

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industry-wide standards, payment card networks, laws and regulations, resistance to change from buyers or sellers, or third parties’ intellectual property rights. Our success will depend on our ability to develop new technologies and to adapt to technological changes and evolving industry standards. If we are unable to provide enhancements and new features for our products and services or to develop new products and services that achieve market acceptance or that keep pace with rapid technological developments and evolving industry standards, our business would be materially and adversely affected.
The success of enhancements, new features, and products and services depends on several factors, including the timely completion, introduction, and market acceptance of the enhancements or new features or services. We often rely not only on our own initiatives and innovations, but also on third parties, including some of our competitors, for the development of and access to new technologies. For example, we have recently introduced a chip and contactless reader combining EMV and NFC technologies, but we do not yet know whether this reader will be supported by other important industry participants or gain wide market acceptance. Failure to accurately predict or to respond effectively to developments in our industry may significantly impair our business.
In addition, because our products and services are designed to operate with a variety of systems, infrastructures, and devices, we need to continuously modify and enhance our products and services to keep pace with changes in mobile, software, communication, and database technologies. We may not be successful in either developing these modifications and enhancements or in bringing them to market in a timely and cost-effective manner. Any failure of our products and services to continue to operate effectively with third-party infrastructures and technologies could reduce the demand for our products and services, result in dissatisfaction of our sellers or their customers, and materially and adversely affect our business.
Substantial and increasingly intense competition in our industry may harm our business.
We compete in markets characterized by vigorous competition, changing technology, changing seller and buyer needs, evolving industry standards, and frequent introductions of new products and services. We expect competition to intensify in the future as existing and new competitors introduce new services or enhance existing services. We compete against many companies to attract customers, and some of these companies have greater financial resources and substantially larger bases of customers than we do, which may provide them with significant competitive advantages. These companies may devote greater resources to the development, promotion, and sale of products and services, and they may offer lower prices or more effectively introduce their own innovative products and services that adversely impact our growth. Mergers and acquisitions by these companies may lead to even larger competitors with more resources. We also expect new entrants to offer competitive products and services. Certain sellers have longstanding exclusive, or nearly exclusive, relationships with our competitors to accept payment cards and other services that we offer. These relationships may make it difficult or cost-prohibitive for us to conduct material amounts of business with them. Competing services tied to established brands may engender greater confidence in the safety and efficacy of their services. If we are unable to differentiate ourselves from and successfully compete with our competitors, our business will be materially and adversely affected.
We may also face pricing pressures from competitors. Some potential competitors are able to offer lower prices to sellers for similar services by cross-subsidizing their payments services through other services they offer. Such competition may result in the need for us to alter the pricing we offer to our sellers and could reduce our gross profit. In addition, as we grow, sellers may demand more customized and favorable pricing from us, and competitive pressures may require us to agree to such pricing, further reducing our gross profit. We currently negotiate pricing discounts and other incentive arrangements with certain large sellers to increase acceptance and usage of our products and services. If we continue this practice and if an increasing proportion of our sellers are large sellers, we may have to increase the discounts or incentives we provide, which could also reduce our gross profit.
We are dependent on payment card networks and acquiring processors, and any changes to their rules or practices could harm our business.
Our business depends on our ability to accept credit and debit cards, which ability is provided by the payment card networks, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Other than American Express, we do not directly access the payment card networks that enable our acceptance of payment cards. As a result, we must rely on banks and acquiring processors to process transactions on our behalf. Our acquiring processor agreements have terms ranging from two to four years. Our three largest such agreements expire between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, and two of these agreements provide for automatic renewal. These banks and acquiring processors may fail or refuse to process transactions adequately, may breach their agreements with us, or may refuse to renew these agreements on commercially reasonable terms. They might also take actions that degrade the functionality of our services, impose additional costs or requirements on us, or

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give preferential treatment to competitive services, including their own services. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with these payment card networks, banks, and acquiring processors, our business may be harmed.
The payment card networks and our acquiring processors require us to comply with payment card network operating rules, including special operating rules that apply to us as a “payment service provider” providing payment processing services to merchants. The payment card networks set these network rules and have discretion to interpret them and change them. Any changes to or interpretations of the network rules that are inconsistent with the way we or our acquiring processors currently operate may require us to make changes to our business that could be costly or difficult to implement. If we fail to make such changes or otherwise resolve the issue with the payment card networks, the networks could fine us or prohibit us from processing payment cards. In addition, violations of the network rules or any failure to maintain good relationships with the payment card networks could impact our ability to receive incentives from them, could increase our costs, or could otherwise harm our business. If we were unable to accept payment cards or were limited in our ability to do so, our business would be materially and adversely affected.
We are required to pay interchange fees and assessments to the payment card networks, as well as fees to our acquiring processors, to process transactions. From time to time, payment card networks have increased, and may increase in the future, the interchange fees and assessments that they charge for each transaction processed using their networks. In addition, our acquiring processors may refuse to renew our agreements with them on commercially reasonable terms. Interchange fees or assessments are also subject to change from time to time due to government regulation. Because we generally charge our sellers a flat rate for our payments services, rather than passing through interchange fees and assessments to our sellers directly, any increase or decrease in interchange fees or assessments or in the fees we pay to our acquiring processors could make our pricing look less competitive, lead us to change our pricing model, or adversely affect our margins.
We could be, and in the past have been, subject to penalties from payment card networks if we fail to detect that sellers are engaging in activities that are illegal, contrary to the payment card network operating rules, or considered “high risk.” We must either prevent high-risk sellers from using our products and services or register such sellers with the payment card networks and conduct additional monitoring with respect to such sellers. Although the amount of these penalties has not been material to date, any additional penalties in the future could become material and could result in termination of our ability to accept payment cards or could require changes in our process for registering new sellers. This could materially and adversely affect our business.
Our quarterly results of operations and operating metrics fluctuate significantly and are unpredictable and subject to seasonality, which could result in the trading price of our Class A common stock being unpredictable or declining.
Our quarterly results of operations may vary significantly and are not necessarily an indication of future performance. These fluctuations may be due to a variety of factors, some of which are outside of our control and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. Our limited operating history combined with the rapidly evolving markets in which we operate also contributes to these fluctuations. Fluctuations in quarterly results may materially and adversely affect the predictability of our business and the price of our Class A common stock.
Factors that may cause fluctuations in our quarterly financial results include our ability to attract and retain new customers; the timing, effectiveness, and costs of expansion and upgrades of our systems and infrastructure, as well as the success of those expansions and upgrades; the outcomes of legal proceedings and claims; our ability to maintain or increase revenue, gross margins, and operating margins; our ability to continue introducing new services and to continue convincing customers to adopt additional offerings; increases in and timing of expenses that we may incur to grow and expand our operations and to remain competitive; period-to-period volatility related to fraud and risk losses; system failures resulting in the inaccessibility of our products and services; changes in the regulatory environment, including with respect to security, privacy, or enforcement of laws and regulations by regulators, including fines, orders, or consent decrees; changes in global business or macroeconomic conditions; unusual weather conditions; general retail buying patterns; and the other risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We depend on key management, as well as our experienced and capable employees, and any failure to attract, motivate, and retain our employees could harm our ability to maintain and grow our business.
Our future success is significantly dependent upon the continued service of our executives and other key employees. If we lose the services of any member of management or any key personnel, we may not be able to locate a suitable or qualified

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replacement, and we may incur additional expenses to recruit and train a replacement, which could severely disrupt our business and growth. Jack Dorsey, our co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Twitter, Inc. This may at times adversely affect his ability to devote time, attention, and effort to Square.
To maintain and grow our business, we will need to identify, hire, develop, motivate, and retain highly skilled employees. Identifying, recruiting, training, integrating, and retaining qualified individuals requires significant time, expense, and attention. In addition, from time to time, there may be changes in our management team that may be disruptive to our business. If our management team, including any new hires that we make, fails to work together effectively and to execute our plans and strategies on a timely basis, our business could be harmed. Competition for highly skilled personnel is intense, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area where our headquarters are located. We may need to invest significant amounts of cash and equity to attract and retain new employees, and we may never realize returns on these investments. If we are not able to add and retain employees effectively, our ability to achieve our strategic objectives will be adversely affected, and our business and growth prospects will be harmed.
In addition, a number of employees, including many members of management, may be able to receive significant proceeds from sales of our equity in the public markets. As a result, it may be difficult for us to continue to retain and motivate these employees, and, if we are unable to do so, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
If we fail to manage growth effectively, our business could be harmed.
In order to manage our growth effectively, we must continue to strengthen our existing infrastructure, develop and improve our internal controls, create and improve our reporting systems, and timely address issues as they arise. These efforts may require substantial financial expenditures, commitments of resources, developments of our processes, and other investments and innovations. Furthermore, we encourage employees to be bold and to quickly develop and launch new features for our products and services. As we grow, we may not be able to execute as quickly as a smaller, more efficient organization. If we do not successfully manage our growth, our business will suffer.
A deterioration of general macroeconomic conditions could materially and adversely affect our business.
Our performance is subject to economic conditions and their impact on levels of spending by businesses and their customers. Most of the sellers that use our services are small businesses, many of which are in the early stages of their development, and these businesses may be disproportionately adversely affected by economic downturns and may fail at a higher rate than larger or more established businesses. If spending by their customers declines, these businesses would experience reduced sales and process fewer payments with us or, if they cease to operate, stop using our products and services altogether. Small businesses frequently have limited budgets and limited access to capital, and they may choose to allocate their spending to items other than our financial or marketing services, especially in times of economic uncertainty or in recessions. In addition, if more of our sellers cease to operate, this may have an adverse impact not only on the growth of our payments services but also on our transaction and advance loss rates, and the success of our other services. For example, if businesses processing payments with us receive chargebacks after they cease to operate, we may incur additional losses. Additionally, the growth in the number of sellers qualifying for Square Capital may slow or the receivables related to the Square Capital merchant cash advances (MCAs) or merchant loans may be paid more slowly, or not at all. Thus, if general macroeconomic conditions deteriorate, our business could be materially and adversely affected.
If we are unable to maintain, promote, and grow our brand through effective marketing and communications strategies, our brand and business may be harmed.
We believe that maintaining and promoting our brand in a cost-effective manner is critical to achieving widespread acceptance of our products and services and to expanding our base of customers. Maintaining and promoting our brand will depend largely on our ability to continue to provide useful, reliable, and innovative products and services, which we may not do successfully. We may introduce, or make changes to, features, products, services, or terms of service that customers do not like, which may materially and adversely affect our brand. Our brand promotion activities may not generate customer awareness or increase revenue, and even if they do, any increase in revenue may not offset the expenses we incur in building our brand. If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brand or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business could be materially and adversely affected.
The introduction and promotion of new services, as well as the promotion of existing services, may be partly dependent on our visibility on third-party advertising platforms, such as Google, Twitter, or Facebook. Changes in the way these platforms

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operate or changes in their advertising prices or other terms could make the maintenance and promotion of our products and services and our brand more expensive or more difficult. If we are unable to market and promote our brand on third-party platforms effectively, our ability to acquire new sellers would be materially harmed.
We have received a significant amount of media coverage since our formation. We have also been from time to time in the past, and may in the future be, the target of incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading or false statements about our company, our business, and our products and services that could damage our brand and materially deter people from adopting our services. Negative publicity about our company or our management, including about our product quality and reliability, changes to our products and services, privacy and security practices, litigation, regulatory enforcement, and other actions, as well as the actions of our customers and other users of our services, even if inaccurate, could cause a loss of confidence in us. Our ability to respond to negative statements about us may be limited by legal prohibitions on permissible public communications by us during future periods.
We face challenges in expanding into new geographic regions.
We plan to continue expanding into new geographic regions, and we currently face and will continue to face risks entering markets in which we have limited or no experience and in which we may not be well known. Offering our services in new geographic regions often requires substantial expenditures and takes considerable time, and we may not be successful enough in these new geographies to recoup our investments in a timely manner or at all. We may be unable to attract a sufficient number of sellers, fail to anticipate competitive conditions, or face difficulties in operating effectively in these new markets.
The expansion of our products and services globally exposes us to risks relating to staffing and managing cross-border operations; increased costs and difficulty protecting intellectual property and sensitive data; tariffs and other trade barriers; differing and potentially adverse tax consequences; increased and conflicting regulatory compliance requirements, including with respect to data privacy and security; lack of acceptance of our products and services; challenges caused by distance, language, and cultural differences; exchange rate risk; and political instability. Accordingly, our efforts to expand our global operations may not be successful, which could limit our ability to grow our business.
We rely on third parties and their systems for a variety of services, including to process transaction data and settle funds to us and our sellers, and these third parties’ failure to perform these services adequately could materially and adversely affect our business.
To provide our payments solution and other products and services, we rely on third parties that we do not control, such as the payment card networks, our acquiring processors, the payment card issuers, various financial institution partners, systems like the Federal Reserve Automated Clearing House, and other partners. We rely on these third parties for a variety of services, including to transmit transaction data, process chargebacks and refunds, settle funds to our sellers, and to provide information and other elements of our services. For example, we currently rely on three acquiring processors in the United States and two for each of Canada and Japan. While we believe there are other acquiring processors that could meet our needs, adding or transitioning to new providers may disrupt our business and increase our costs. In the event these third parties fail to provide these services adequately, including as a result of errors in their systems or events beyond their control, or refuse to provide these services on terms acceptable to us or at all, and we are not able to find suitable alternatives, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
Our services must integrate with a variety of operating systems, and the hardware that enables merchants to accept payment cards must interoperate with third-party mobile devices utilizing those operating systems. If we are unable to ensure that our services or hardware interoperate with such operating systems and devices, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
We are dependent on the ability of our products and services to integrate with a variety of operating systems, as well as web browsers that we do not control. Any changes in these systems that degrade the functionality of our products and services, impose additional costs or requirements on us, or give preferential treatment to competitive services, including their own services, could materially and adversely affect usage of our products and services. In addition, we rely on app marketplaces, such as the Apple App Store and Google Play, to drive downloads of our mobile app. Apple, Google, or other operators of app marketplaces regularly make changes to their marketplaces, and those changes may make access to our products and services more difficult. In the event that it is difficult for our sellers to access and use our products and services, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

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In addition, our hardware interoperates with mobile devices developed by third parties. For example, the current version of Square Reader plugs into the audio jack of most smartphones and tablets. Changes in the design of these mobile devices may limit the interoperability of our hardware with such devices and require modifications to our hardware. If we are unable to ensure that our hardware continues to interoperate effectively with such devices, or if doing so is costly, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
Many of our key components are procured from a single or limited number of suppliers. Thus, we are at risk of shortage, price increases, changes, delay, or discontinuation of key components, which could disrupt and materially and adversely affect our business.
Many of the key components used to manufacture our products, such as the custom parts of Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards, including its magnetic stripe-reading element, its plastic cover, and its application-specific integrated circuits, come from limited or single sources of supply, as do the plastic cover, connector, and security cage of Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC. In addition, in some cases, we rely only on one manufacturer to fabricate, test, and assemble our products. For example, a single manufacturer assembles Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards and Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC, as well as manufactures those products’ plastic parts with custom tools that we own but that they maintain on their premises. The term of the agreement with that manufacturer initially expired on June 26, 2014, but automatically renewed (and will continue to renew) for consecutive one-year periods unless either party provides notice of non-renewal. In general, our contract manufacturers fabricate or procure components on our behalf, subject to certain approved procedures or supplier lists, and we do not have firm commitments from all of these manufacturers to provide all components, or to provide them in quantities and on timelines that we may require. For example, pursuant to a development and supply agreement, a component supplier provides design, development, customization, and related services for components of the magnetic stripe-reading element in some of our products. The term of the agreement will continue until September 30, 2016, at which point it will automatically renew for successive two-year terms unless either party provides notice of non-renewal. Similarly, a component provider develops certain application-specific integrated circuits for our products pursuant to our designs and specifications. The term of our agreement with this provider will continue until March 24, 2016, and will automatically renew for consecutive one-year periods unless either party provides notice of non-renewal. Due to our reliance on the components or products produced by suppliers such as these, we are subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of certain components or products. We are still in the process of identifying alternative manufacturers for the assembly of our products and for most of the single-sourced components used in our products. In the case of off-the-shelf components, we are subject to the risk that our suppliers may discontinue or modify them or that the components may cease to be available on commercially reasonable terms. We have in the past experienced, and may in the future experience, component shortages or delays or other problems in product assembly, and the availability of these components or products may be difficult to predict. Additionally, various sources of supply-chain risk, including strikes or shutdowns at delivery ports or loss of or damage to our products while they are in transit or storage, could limit the supply of our products. In the event of a shortage or supply interruption from suppliers of these components, we may not be able to develop alternate sources quickly, cost-effectively, or at all. Any interruption or delay in component supply, any increases in component costs, or the inability to obtain these parts or components from alternate sources at acceptable prices and within a reasonable amount of time, would harm our ability to provide our products to sellers on a timely basis. This could harm our relationships with our sellers, prevent us from acquiring new sellers, and materially and adversely affect our business.
Our business could be harmed if we are unable to accurately forecast demand for our products and to adequately manage our product inventory.
We invest broadly in our business, and such investments are driven by our expectations of the future success of a product. Our products, such as Square Reader, often require investments with long lead times. An inability to correctly forecast the success of a particular product could harm our business. We must forecast inventory needs and expenses and place orders sufficiently in advance with our third-party suppliers and contract manufacturers based on our estimates of future demand for particular products. Our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products could be affected by many factors, including an increase or decrease in demand for our products or for our competitors’ products, unanticipated changes in general market conditions, and the change in economic conditions.
If we underestimate demand for a particular product, our contract manufacturers and suppliers may not be able to deliver sufficient quantities of that product to meet our requirements, and we may experience a shortage of that product available for sale or distribution. The shortage of a popular product could materially and adversely affect our brand, our seller relationships, and the acquisition of additional sellers. If we overestimate demand for a particular product, we may experience excess inventory levels for that product and the excess inventory may become obsolete or out-of-date. Inventory levels in excess of demand may

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result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at further discounted prices, which could negatively impact our gross profit and our business.
Our products and services may not function as intended due to errors in our software, hardware, and systems, or due to security breaches or human error in administering these systems, which could materially and adversely affect our business.
Our software, hardware, and systems may contain undetected errors that could have a material adverse effect on our business, particularly to the extent such errors are not detected and remedied quickly. We have from time to time found defects in our customer-facing software and hardware, internal systems, and technical integrations with third-party systems, and new errors may be introduced in the future. In addition, we provide frequent incremental releases of product and service updates and functional enhancements, which increases the possibility of errors. The electronic payments products and services we provide are designed to process complex transactions and deliver reports and other information related to those transactions, all at high volumes and processing speeds. Since customers use our services for important aspects of their businesses, any errors, defects, disruptions in services, or other performance problems with our services could hurt our reputation and damage our customers’ businesses. Software and system errors, or human error, could delay or inhibit settlement of payments, result in oversettlement, cause reporting errors, or prevent us from collecting transaction fees, all of which have occurred in the past. Similarly, security breaches or errors in our hardware design or manufacture could cause product safety issues typical of consumer electronics devices. Such issues could lead to product recalls and inventory shortages, result in costly and time-consuming efforts to redesign and redistribute our products, give rise to regulatory inquiries and investigations, and result in lawsuits and other liabilities and losses, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business.
Systems failures, interruptions, delays in service, catastrophic events, and resulting interruptions in the availability of our products or services could harm our business and our brand, and subject us to substantial liability.
Our systems and those of our third-party data center facilities may experience service interruptions, denial-of-service and other cyber-attacks, human error, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, natural disasters, power losses, disruptions in telecommunications services, fraud, military or political conflicts, terrorist attacks and other geopolitical unrest, computer viruses, or other events. Our systems are also subject to break-ins, sabotage, and acts of vandalism. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our disaster-recovery planning is not sufficient for all eventualities. In addition, as a provider of payments solutions, we are subject to increased scrutiny by regulators that may require specific business continuity and disaster recovery plans and more rigorous testing of such plans. This increased scrutiny may be costly and time-consuming and may divert our resources from other business priorities.
We have experienced and will likely continue to experience denial-of-service attacks, system failures, and other events or conditions that interrupt the availability or reduce the speed or functionality of our products and services. These events have resulted and likely will result in loss of revenue. In addition, they could result in significant expense to repair or replace damaged equipment and remedy resultant data loss or corruption. A prolonged interruption in the availability or reduction in the speed or other functionality of our products or services could materially harm our reputation and business. Frequent or persistent interruptions in our products and services could cause sellers to believe that our products and services are unreliable, leading them to switch to our competitors or to avoid our products and services, and could permanently harm our reputation and business. Moreover, to the extent that any system failure or similar event results in damages to customers or their businesses, these customers could seek compensation from us for their losses, and those claims, even if unsuccessful, would likely be time-consuming and costly for us to address.
A significant natural disaster could have a material and adverse impact on our business. Our headquarters and certain of our data center facilities are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity. Despite any precautions we may take, the occurrence of a natural disaster or other unanticipated problems at our headquarters or data centers could result in lengthy interruptions in our services or could result in related liabilities. We have implemented a disaster recovery program, which enables us to move production to a back-up data center in the event of a catastrophe.
Although this program is functional, it may prove to be inadequate, increasing the risk of interruptions in our services, which could have a material and adverse impact on our business. We do not maintain insurance sufficient to compensate us for the potentially significant losses that could result from disruptions to our services.

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Our Square Capital service is subject to additional risks relating to the availability of capital, seller receivables, and general macroeconomic conditions.
Our Square Capital service is subject to risks in addition to those described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Maintaining and growing our Square Capital service is dependent on third parties to purchase the future receivables and merchant loans. If third parties fail to continue to purchase such receivables or loans or reduce the amount of future receivables or loans they purchase, then we would have to fund future advances and merchant loans to merchants from our own resources and might have to reduce the scale of our Square Capital service. If third parties reduce the price they are willing to pay for these receivables or loans or reduce the servicing fees they pay us in exchange for servicing the receivables or loans on their behalf, then the financial performance of Square Capital would be harmed.
Adverse changes in macroeconomic conditions could cause some Square Capital sellers to cease operating or to experience a decline in their payment processing volume, rendering us unable to obtain the receivables or repayment of loans or extending the period of time required for us to obtain such receivables or repayment of loans. Sellers receiving MCAs are contractually obligated to use Square as their only card payment processing service until we have received the agreed-upon fixed amount of receivables or repayment of loans. To the extent a seller breaches this obligation, the seller would be liable to us for the balance of the receivables in respect of an MCA or an accelerated loan repayment. In the case of MCAs and consistent with their nature, we do not otherwise have any economic recourse to the seller in the event that it does not process a sufficient volume of payments with us to pay the agreed-upon fixed amount of receivables.
In addition, adverse changes in macroeconomic conditions could also lead to a decrease in the number of sellers suitable for Square Capital MCAs and merchant loans and strain our ability to correctly identify such sellers or manage risk of non-payment or fraud. Similarly, if we fail to correctly predict or price the availability of receivables of sellers utilizing our Square Capital service, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
We have partnered with a partner bank on merchant loans. If the partner bank ceases to partner with us and we are not able to find suitable alternatives and/or obtain licenses to make merchant loans ourselves, our Square Capital service may be materially and adversely affected.
We intend to continue to explore other models and structures for our Square Capital service, including other forms of credit. Some of those models or structures would require, or be deemed to require, additional procedures, partnerships, licenses, or capabilities that we have not yet obtained or developed. Should we fail to expand and evolve our Square Capital service in this manner, or should these new models or structures, or new regulations or interpretations of existing regulations, impose requirements on us that are impractical or that we cannot satisfy, the future growth and success of the Square Capital service may be materially and adversely affected.
Our business is subject to extensive regulation and oversight in a variety of areas, all of which are subject to change and uncertain interpretation.
We are subject to a wide variety of local, state, federal, and international laws and regulations in the United States and in other countries in which we operate. These laws and regulations govern numerous areas that are important to our business, including consumer protection, privacy, labor and employment, immigration, import and export practices, product labeling, competition, and marketing and communications practices, to name a few. Such laws and regulations are subject to evolving interpretations and application, and it can be difficult to predict how they may be applied to our business, particularly as we introduce new products and services and expand into new jurisdictions. Any perceived or actual breach of laws and regulations could negatively impact our business. It is possible that these laws and regulations could be interpreted or applied in a manner that would prohibit, alter, or impair our existing or planned products and services; that could cause us to be subject to audits, inquiries, or investigations; that could result in fines, injunctive relief, or other penalties; or that could require costly, time-consuming, or otherwise burdensome compliance measures from us.
In particular, as we seek to build a trusted and secure platform for commerce, and as we expand our network of sellers and buyers and facilitate their transactions and interactions with one another, we will increasingly be subject to laws and regulations relating to the collection, use, retention, security, and transfer of information, including the personally identifiable information of our employees and sellers and their customers. As with the other laws and regulations noted above, these laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied differently over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is possible they will be interpreted and applied in ways that will materially and adversely affect our business. We post on our website our privacy policies and practices concerning the collection, use, and disclosure of information. Any failure, real or perceived, by us to

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comply with our posted privacy policies or with any regulatory requirements or orders or other local, state, federal, or international privacy or consumer protection-related laws and regulations could cause sellers or their customers to reduce their use of our products and services and could materially and adversely affect our business.
Our business is subject to complex and evolving regulations and oversight related to our provision of payments services and other financial services.
The laws, rules, and regulations that govern our business include or may in the future include those relating to banking, deposit-taking, cross-border and domestic money transmission, foreign exchange, payments services (such as payment processing and settlement services), consumer financial protection, anti-money laundering, escheatment, and compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store, or transmit payment card information maintain a secure environment to protect cardholder data. These laws, rules, and regulations are enforced by multiple authorities and governing bodies in the United States, including the Department of the Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and numerous state and local agencies. Outside of the United States, we are subject to additional laws, rules, and regulations related to the provision of payments and financial services, including those enforced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Japan and those enforced by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre in Canada, and as we expand into new jurisdictions, the number of foreign regulations and regulators governing our business will expand as well. In addition, as our business continues to develop and expand, we may become subject to additional rules and regulations. For example, as our Square Capital service shifts from offering MCAs to offering merchant loans, state and federal rules concerning lending may become applicable. Similarly, if we choose to offer Square Payroll in more jurisdictions, additional regulations, including tax rules, will apply.
Although we have a compliance program focused on applicable laws, rules, and regulations and are continually investing more in this program, we may still be subject to fines or other penalties in one or more jurisdictions levied by federal or state or local regulators, including state Attorneys General, as well as those levied by foreign regulators. In addition to fines, penalties for failing to comply with applicable rules and regulations could include significant criminal and civil lawsuits, forfeiture of significant assets, or other enforcement actions. We could also be required to make changes to our business practices or compliance programs as a result of regulatory scrutiny. In addition, any perceived or actual breach of compliance by us with respect to applicable laws, rules, and regulations could have a significant impact on our reputation as a trusted brand and could cause us to lose existing customers, prevent us from obtaining new customers, require us to expend significant funds to remedy problems caused by breaches and to avert further breaches, and expose us to legal risk and potential liability.
We have obtained licenses to operate as a money transmitter (or its equivalent) in the United States and in the states where this is required. As a licensed money transmitter, we are subject to obligations and restrictions with respect to the investment of customer funds, reporting requirements, bonding requirements, and inspection by state regulatory agencies concerning those aspects of our business considered money transmission. Evaluation of our compliance efforts, as well as the questions of whether and to what extent our products and services are considered money transmission, are matters of regulatory interpretation and could change over time. In the past, we have been required to pay fines to Florida regulatory authorities and once received a Cease and Desist Order from Illinois regulatory authorities due to their interpretations and applications to our business of their respective state money transmission laws. In the future, as a result of the regulations applicable to our business, we could be subject to additional liability, including governmental fines, restrictions on our business, or other sanctions, and we could be forced to cease conducting certain aspects of our business with residents of certain jurisdictions, be forced to otherwise change our business practices in certain jurisdictions, or be required to obtain additional licenses or regulatory approvals. There can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain any such licenses, and, even if we were able to do so, there could be substantial costs and potential product changes involved in maintaining such licenses, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business.
We are subject to risks related to litigation, including intellectual property claims and regulatory disputes.
We may be, and in some instances have been, subject to claims, lawsuits (including class actions and individual lawsuits), government investigations, and other proceedings involving intellectual property, consumer protection, privacy, labor and employment, immigration, import and export practices, product labeling, competition, accessibility, securities, tax, marketing and communications practices, commercial disputes, and other matters. For example, we have been served with a putative class action complaint filed on behalf of couriers for our Caviar subsidiary alleging that the couriers have been improperly denied reimbursement for business expenses due to their classification as independent contractors.

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We are currently in litigation with Robert E. Morley and a related entity regarding the inventorship of certain patents related to our intellectual property (Morley Litigation). If one or more claims in the Morley Litigation were determined adversely to us, or if the Morley Litigation were settled on unfavorable terms, this could affect our ability to use certain intellectual property and could also result in substantial monetary liabilities. In addition, Mr. Morley filed a subsequent lawsuit containing allegations that the formation of Square and the development of our card reader and decoding technologies constituted, among other things, breach of an alleged joint venture, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation of trade secrets, as well as other related claims. Mr. Morley contends that he was an equal partner with Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey in the business enterprise that ultimately evolved into Square, and that Mr. Dorsey and Mr. McKelvey breached their alleged joint venture agreement with Mr. Morley by excluding him from ownership in Square. Mr. Morley is seeking a judgment and order that Square, Mr. Dorsey, and Mr. McKelvey hold ownership of Square in constructive trust for Mr. Morley, as well as a variety of damages, injunctive relief, royalties, and correction of inventorship of certain of our patents.
The number and significance of our legal disputes and inquiries have increased as we have grown larger, as our business has expanded in scope and geographic reach, and as our products and services have increased in complexity.
Becoming a public company has raised our public profile, which could result in increased litigation. In addition, some of the laws and regulations affecting the internet, mobile commerce, payment processing, business financing, and employment did not anticipate businesses like ours, and many of the laws and regulations affecting us have been enacted relatively recently. As a result, there is substantial uncertainty regarding the scope and application of many of the laws and regulations to which we are subject, which increases the risk that we will be subject to claims alleging violations of those laws and regulations. In the future, we may also be accused of having, or be found to have, infringed or violated third-party intellectual property rights.
Regardless of the outcome, legal proceedings can have a material and adverse impact on us due to their costs, diversion of our resources, and other factors. Plaintiffs may seek, and we may become subject to, preliminary or provisional rulings in the course of litigation, including preliminary injunctions requiring us to cease some or all of our operations. We may decide to settle legal disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us. Furthermore, if any litigation to which we are a party is resolved adversely, we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that we may not choose to appeal or that may not be reversed upon appeal. We may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of a third party’s rights. If we are required, or choose to enter into, royalty or licensing arrangements, such arrangements may not be available on reasonable terms or at all and may significantly increase our operating costs and expenses. As a result, we may also be required to develop or procure alternative non-infringing technology or discontinue use of technology, and doing so could require significant effort and expense or may not be feasible. In addition, the terms of any settlement or judgment in connection with any legal claims, lawsuits, or proceedings may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party and could materially and adversely affect our business.
Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products, services, and brand.
Our trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights are critical to our success. We rely on, and expect to continue to rely on, a combination of confidentiality, invention assignment, and license agreements with our employees, consultants, and third parties with whom we have relationships, as well as trademark, trade dress, domain name, copyright, trade secret, and patent rights, to protect our brand and other intellectual property rights. However, various events outside of our control may pose a threat to our intellectual property rights, as well as to our products and services. Effective protection of trademarks, copyrights, domain names, patent rights, and other intellectual property rights is expensive and difficult to maintain, both in terms of application and maintenance costs, as well as the costs of defending and enforcing those rights. The efforts we have taken to protect our intellectual property rights may not be sufficient or effective. Our intellectual property rights may be infringed, misappropriated, or challenged, which could result in them being narrowed in scope or declared invalid or unenforceable. Similarly, our reliance on unpatented proprietary information and technology, such as trade secrets and confidential information, depends in part on agreements we have in place with employees and third parties that place restrictions on the use and disclosure of this intellectual property. These agreements may be insufficient or may be breached, or we may not enter into sufficient agreements with such individuals in the first instance, in either case potentially resulting in the unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets and other intellectual property, including to our competitors, which could cause us to lose any competitive advantage resulting from this intellectual property. Individuals not subject to invention assignment agreements may make adverse ownership claims to our current and future intellectual property. For example, we are currently in litigation with Robert E. Morley and a related entity regarding the inventorship of certain patents and patent applications related to our intellectual property. There can be no assurance that our intellectual property rights will be sufficient to protect against others offering products or services that are substantially similar to ours and that compete with our business.

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As of December 31, 2015, we had 133 patents issued in the United States and abroad and 493 patent applications on file in the United States and abroad, though there can be no assurance that any or all of these applications will ultimately be issued as patents. We also pursue registration of copyrights, trademarks, and domain names in the United States and in certain jurisdictions outside of the United States, but doing so may not always be successful or cost-effective. In general, we may be unable or, in some instances, choose not to obtain legal protection for our intellectual property, and our existing and future intellectual property rights may not provide us with competitive advantages or distinguish our products and services from those of our competitors. The laws of some foreign countries do not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States, and effective intellectual property protection and mechanisms may not be available in those jurisdictions. We may need to expend additional resources to defend our intellectual property in these countries, and the inability to do so could impair our business or adversely affect our international expansion. Our intellectual property rights may be contested, circumvented, or found unenforceable or invalid, and we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing, diluting, or otherwise violating them.
Significant impairments of our intellectual property rights, and limitations on our ability to assert our intellectual property rights against others, could have a material and adverse effect on our business.
We may not be able to secure financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs.
We have funded our operations since inception primarily through equity financings, bank credit facilities, and capital lease arrangements. We do not know when or if our operations will generate sufficient cash to fund our ongoing operations. In the future, we may require additional capital to respond to business opportunities, refinancing needs, challenges, acquisitions, or unforeseen circumstances and may decide to engage in equity or debt financings or enter into credit facilities for other reasons, and we may not be able to secure any such additional debt or equity financing or refinancing on favorable terms, in a timely manner, or at all. Any debt financing obtained by us in the future could also involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital-raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. Our credit facility contains operating covenants, including customary limitations on the incurrence of certain indebtedness and liens, restrictions on certain inter-company transactions, and limitations on the amount of dividends and stock repurchases. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, and breaches of these covenants could result in a default under the credit facility and any future financial agreements into which we may enter. If not waived, defaults could cause our outstanding indebtedness under our credit facility and any future financing agreements that we may enter into to become immediately due and payable.
If we raise additional funds through further issuances of equity, convertible debt securities, or other securities convertible into equity, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution in their percentage ownership of our company, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences, and privileges senior to those of holders of our Class A common stock. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to grow or support our business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited.
Acquisitions, strategic investments, entries into new businesses, and divestitures could disrupt our business, divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders, and harm our business.
We have acquired and may continue to seek to acquire or invest in businesses, apps, or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our products and services, enhance our technical capabilities, or otherwise offer growth opportunities. The identification, evaluation, and negotiation of potential acquisitions or potential divestitures may divert the attention of management and entail various expenses, whether or not such transactions are ultimately completed. In addition, we have limited experience in acquiring other businesses. If we acquire additional businesses, we may not be able to integrate the acquired personnel, operations, and technologies successfully, or effectively manage the combined business following the acquisition. We also may not achieve the anticipated benefits from the acquired businesses due to a number of factors, including difficulties resulting from the integration of technologies, IT systems, accounting systems, culture or personnel; diversion of management’s attention; litigation; use of resources; or other disruption of our operations. Regulatory constraints, particularly competition regulations, may also affect the extent to which we can maximize the value of our acquisitions or investments. Acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of equity securities or the incurrence of debt. In addition, we may spend time and money on acquisitions or investments that do not increase our revenue. If an acquired business fails to meet our expectations, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

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Our reported financial results may be materially and adversely affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
Generally accepted accounting principles in the United States are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported financial results and could materially and adversely affect the transactions completed before the announcement of a change.
We may have exposure to greater-than-anticipated tax liabilities, which may materially and adversely affect our business.
We are subject to income taxes and non-income taxes in the United States and other countries in which we conduct business, and such laws and rates vary by jurisdiction. We are subject to review and audit by U.S. federal, state, local and foreign tax authorities. Such tax authorities may disagree with tax positions we take and if any such tax authority were to successfully challenge any such position, our financial results and operations could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, our future tax liability could be adversely affected by changes in tax laws, rates, and regulations. The determination of our worldwide provision for income and other taxes is highly complex and requires significant judgment, and there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Although we believe our estimates are reasonable, the amount ultimately payable may differ from amounts recorded in our financial statements and may materially affect our financial results in the period or periods for which such determination is made.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control within our stockholders who held our stock prior to our initial public offering, including many of our employees and directors and their affiliates; this will limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters.
Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share, and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. Stockholders who hold shares of Class B common stock, including many of our executive officers, employees, and directors and their affiliates, held approximately 99.0% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock as of December 31, 2015. Our executive officers and directors and their affiliates held approximately 58.2% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock as of December 31, 2015. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively hold more than a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock, and therefore such holders are able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval. When the shares of our Class B common stock represent less than 5% of the combined voting power of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock, the then-outstanding shares of Class B common stock will automatically convert into shares of Class A common stock.
Transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers to entities, including certain charities and foundations, to the extent the transferor retains sole dispositive power and exclusive voting control with respect to the shares of Class B common stock. Such conversions of Class B common stock to Class A common stock upon transfer will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term. If, for example, our stockholders who held our stock prior to our initial public offering retain a significant portion of their holdings of Class B common stock for an extended period of time, they could, in the future, continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our outstanding capital stock.
We will continue to incur significantly increased costs and devote substantial management time as a result of operating as a public company.
As a public company, we incur significant legal, financial, and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), and are required to comply with the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC and the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange, including changes in corporate governance practices and the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls. We are required to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting for the first fiscal year beginning after the effective date of our initial public offering. This assessment will need to include disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting, as well as a statement that our auditors have issued an attestation report on our

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management’s assessment of our internal controls. We expect that complying with these requirements will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time consuming and costly. In addition, we expect that our management and other personnel will need to divert attention from operational and other business matters to devote substantial time to these requirements. In particular, we expect to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We will need to hire additional accounting and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge and maintain an internal audit function. Moreover, we could incur additional compensation costs in the event that we decide to pay cash compensation closer to that of other public technology companies, which would increase our general and administrative expenses and could materially and adversely affect our profitability.
If we are unable to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting in the future, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, and the market price of our Class A common stock may be materially and adversely affected.
We are currently evaluating our internal controls, identifying and remediating deficiencies in those internal controls, and documenting the results of our evaluation, testing, and remediation. We may not be able to complete our evaluation, testing, and any required remediation in a timely fashion. If we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting that we are unable to remediate before the end of the same fiscal year in which the material weakness is identified, or if we are otherwise unable to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective. If we are unable to do so, or if our auditors are unable to attest to management’s report on the effectiveness of our internal controls, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline. We have identified significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the past and have taken steps to remediate such deficiencies. However, our efforts to remediate them may not be effective or prevent any future deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting. We will be required to disclose material changes made in our internal controls and procedures on a quarterly basis. However, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act until the year following our first annual report required to be filed with the SEC.

The market price of our Class A common stock has been and will likely continue to be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.

The market price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. In addition to the factors discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, factors that could cause fluctuations in the market price of our Class A common stock include the following:

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

volatility in the market prices and trading volumes of companies in our industry or companies that investors consider comparable;

changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of other companies generally or of those in our industry in particular;

sales of shares of our common stock by us or our stockholders;

failure of securities analysts to maintain coverage and/or to provide accurate consensus results of us, changes in financial estimates by securities analysts who follow us, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;

the financial or other projections we may provide to the public, any changes in those projections, or our failure to meet those projections;

announcements by us or our competitors of new products or services;

the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements, and filings with the SEC;

29







rumors and market speculation involving us or other companies in our industry;

actual or anticipated changes in our results of operations;

changes in the regulatory environment;

actual or anticipated developments in our business, our competitors’ businesses, or the competitive landscape generally;

litigation involving us, our industry, or both, or investigations by regulators into our operations or those of our competitors;

announced or completed acquisitions of businesses or technologies by us or our competitors;

new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidelines, interpretations, or principles;

any significant change in our management; and

general economic conditions and slow or negative growth of our markets.
In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. This litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
A substantial number of the shares of our capital stock outstanding are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold in the near future. The large number of shares of our capital stock eligible for public sale or subject to rights requiring us to register them for public sale could depress the market price of our Class A common stock.
The market price of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of sales of a large number of shares of our Class A common stock in the market, and the perception that these sales could occur may also depress the market price of our Class A common stock. Our executive officers, directors, and the holders of substantially all of our capital stock, options, and warrants prior to our initial public offering have entered into market standoff agreements with us or lock-up agreements with the underwriters of our initial public offering under which they have agreed, subject to specific exceptions, not to sell any shares of our capital stock prior to May 17, 2016 at the earliest (some holders may not sell prior to August 15, 2016). As a result of these agreements and the provisions of our investors’ rights agreement, all shares of our capital stock will be available for sale in the public market beginning on August 15, 2016, subject in some cases to the volume and other restrictions of Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, as well as our insider trading policy.
Following the expiration of the lock-up agreements referred to above, stockholders owning an aggregate of up to 253,396,602 shares of our capital stock (including shares issuable pursuant to the exercise of warrants to purchase shares of our capital stock that were outstanding as of December 31, 2015) can require us to register shares of our capital stock owned by them for public sale in the United States. Future transfers by holders of our Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting into shares of our Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions. In addition, we filed a registration statement to register 246,062,502 shares of our capital stock reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans. As a result, subject to the satisfaction of applicable exercise periods, the expiration or waiver of the market standoff agreements and lock-up agreements referred to above, and applicable volume restrictions and other restrictions that apply to affiliates, the shares of our capital stock issued upon exercise of outstanding options to purchase shares of our Class A common stock will be available for immediate resale in the United States in the open market.
Future sales of our common stock may make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. These sales also could cause the market price of our common stock to decline and make it more difficult for you to sell shares of our Class A common stock.

30






Anti-takeover provisions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our amended and restated bylaws, and provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our amended and restated bylaws, and Delaware law contain provisions which could have the effect of rendering more difficult, delaying, or preventing an acquisition deemed undesirable by our board of directors and therefore depress the trading price of our Class A common stock.
Among other things, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws include provisions (i) creating a classified board of directors whose members serve staggered three-year terms; (ii) authorizing “blank check” preferred stock, which could be issued by our board of directors without stockholder approval and may contain voting, liquidation, dividend, and other rights superior to our common stock; (iii) limiting the ability of our stockholders to call special meetings; (iv) eliminating the ability of our stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting or to remove directors without cause; and (v) requiring advance notice of stockholder proposals for business to be conducted at meetings of our stockholders and for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors. These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in our management.
As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, including Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prevents certain stockholders holding more than 15% of our outstanding capital stock from engaging in certain business combinations without the approval of our board of directors or the holders of at least two-thirds of our outstanding capital stock not held by such stockholder.
Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, amended and restated bylaws, or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our capital stock and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our Class A common stock.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that, unless we consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, or other employees to us or to our stockholders; (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law; or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. The choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, and other employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our amended and restated bylaws to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could have a material and adverse impact on our business.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish or cease publishing research or reports about us, our business, our market, or our competitors, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our Class A common stock, the market price of our Class A common stock and trading volume could decline.
The market for our Class A common stock is influenced by the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. If any of the analysts who cover us adversely change their recommendations regarding our Class A common stock, or provide more favorable recommendations regarding our competitors, the market price of our common stock may decline. If any of the analysts who cover us were to cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we may lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the market price of our Class A common stock and trading volume to decline.
We do not expect to declare any dividends in the foreseeable future.
We do not anticipate declaring any cash dividends to holders of our common stock in the foreseeable future. Consequently, investors may need to rely on sales of our common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the

31






only way to realize any future gains on their investment. Investors seeking cash dividends should not purchase shares of our common stock.
Additional stock issuances could result in significant dilution to our stockholders.
We may issue additional equity securities to raise capital, make acquisitions, or for a variety of other purposes. Additional issuances of our stock may be made pursuant to the exercise or conversion of new or existing convertible debt securities, warrants, stock options, or other equity incentive awards to new and existing service providers. Any such issuances will result in dilution to existing holders of our stock. We rely on equity-based compensation as an important tool in recruiting and retaining employees. The amount of dilution due to equity-based compensation of our employees and other additional issuances could be substantial.

Item 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.

Item 2. PROPERTIES

Our corporate headquarters, which include product development, sales, marketing, and business operations, are located in San Francisco, California. It consists of 334,284 square feet of space under a lease that expires in 2023. We also lease 43,689 square feet in New York, New York for a product development, sales, and business operations office under a lease that expires in 2025. We have offices in several other locations and believe our facilities are sufficient for our current needs.


32







Item 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are currently a party to, and may in the future be involved in, various litigation matters (including intellectual property litigation), legal claims, and government investigations. Notably, we are currently involved in ongoing legal proceedings with Robert E. Morley and REM Holdings 3, LLC (REM). In two related proceedings, we are litigating disputes over certain patents and over Mr. Morley’s early involvement in the business enterprise that became Square.

On December 1, 2010, we, along with our co-founder Jim McKelvey, filed a complaint (2010 Complaint) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (District Court), which, as amended, concerns the inventorship, ownership, implied license, non-infringement, invalidity, and unenforceability of three patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,918,394 (‘394 Patent), 7,810,729 (‘729 Patent), and 7,896,248 (‘248 Patent). All three patents are in a single patent family directed to card reader technology. The patents, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) granted in 2010 and 2011, name Mr. Morley as the sole inventor and REM as their assignee of rights. The 2010 Complaint sought to add Mr. McKelvey as a named inventor of those patents given his significant contributions to the claimed inventions. REM counterclaimed, alleging infringement by Square of the three patents, and we subsequently requested that the PTO reexamine those patents.

On January 17, 2012, the PTO issued a reexamination certificate invalidating the entirety of the ‘394 Patent. With the ‘394 Patent invalidated, two patents remained for consideration by the PTO: the ‘729 Patent and the ‘248 Patent. In April 2012, the PTO reexamination examiner closed prosecution on those two patents, rejecting all of the claims of the ‘729 Patent and 13 of the 20 claims of the ‘248 Patent as invalid in view of prior art. REM appealed the reexamination examiner’s rejections on these two remaining patents to the Patent Office Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB), and we appealed to have the PTAB reject the remaining seven claims of the ‘248 Patent and to recognize additional grounds for rejection of the previously rejected ‘248 Patent and ‘729 Patent claims. In March 2014, the PTAB issued a decision in our favor, affirming the rejection of all claims of the ‘729 Patent, affirming the rejection of the 13 claims of the ‘248 Patent, and ruling that the reexamination examiner should also reject the remaining seven claims of the ‘248 Patent (having so ruled, the PTAB did not need to consider additional grounds for rejecting the ‘248 and ‘729 Patent claims). Following the PTAB’s ruling, REM filed a response on the ‘248 Patent, substantially amending (i.e., adding new limitations to) five of the seven claims the PTAB had found to be unpatentable. On June 5, 2015, the PTO reexamination examiner, having considered the newly amended claims on remand, issued a preliminary determination that the new limitations allowed those five dependent claims to overcome the grounds for the PTAB’s rejection ruling. The PTO reexamination examiner noted, however, that at least four of the five new claims were still unpatentable because they were indefinite, impermissibly broad, or lacked support in the specification. Additionally, on September 8, 2015, REM filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit challenging the PTAB’s decision regarding the ‘729 Patent. Our arguments with respect to the remaining claims of the ‘248 Patent at the PTAB and the appeal by REM with respect to the ‘729 Patent are still pending, and we intend to pursue them vigorously. With the exception of these five more recently amended claims, which have not yet progressed beyond preliminary reexamination examiner review, all of the claims from all three patents asserted in the 2010 Complaint have either been canceled or otherwise found unpatentable by the PTAB.

On January 30, 2014, three weeks after the PTAB hearing that resulted in the rejection of all of Mr. Morley’s and REM’s remaining claims of the patents in the 2010 Complaint, Mr. Morley and REM filed a complaint against us and against Jack Dorsey and Mr. McKelvey, in the District Court, alleging that the formation of Square and the development of our card reader and decoding technologies constituted, among other things, breach of an alleged joint venture, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation of trade secrets, as well as other related claims (2014 Complaint). Mr. Morley contends as part of his alleged joint venture claim, among others, that he was an equal partner with Mr. Dorsey and Mr. McKelvey in the business enterprise that ultimately evolved into Square, and that Mr. Dorsey and Mr. McKelvey breached their alleged joint venture agreement with Mr. Morley by excluding him from ownership in Square. Mr. Morley claims that to the extent the defendants contend that no joint venture was formed, Mr. McKelvey and Mr. Dorsey committed fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and/or fraudulent nondisclosure. The 2014 Complaint also alleges infringement of another patent related to the ‘248, ‘394, and ‘729 Patents, U.S. Patent No. 8,584,946 (‘946 Patent). Mr. Morley is seeking a judgment and order that Square, Mr. Dorsey, and Mr. McKelvey hold ownership of Square in constructive trust for Mr. Morley, as well as a variety of additional damages, injunctive relief, royalties, and correction of inventorship of certain of our patents.

Even prior to the filing of the 2014 Complaint, on December 31, 2013, we had filed a petition at the PTAB requesting inter partes review (IPR) proceedings to invalidate the ‘946 Patent. On July 7, 2015, the PTAB issued a decision on the IPR, rejecting 12 of the 17 claims of the ‘946 patent, including all independent claims, to be invalid based on prior art. On November 20, 2015, the PTAB rejected two additional claims of the ‘946 patent in response to our request for rehearing. Consequently, 14

33






of the 17 claims of the ‘946 patent stand rejected. On February 9, 2016, we filed an ex parte reexamination request at the patent office to invalidate the three remaining claims of the ‘946 patent.

We moved to consolidate the 2014 Complaint with the 2010 Complaint (the Complaints), and the District Court granted our motion on July 16, 2014. We moved to dismiss certain claims as time barred under California and Delaware law, and the District Court denied the motion on October 16, 2014, applying Missouri law. We moved to stay counts of the 2014 Complaint related to alleged infringement of the ‘946 Patent and inventorship of certain of our patents, pending the ongoing PTO proceedings, and on April 2, 2015, the District Court granted our motion to stay. The District Court has issued a scheduling order that sets forth the current expected schedule of important events in the proceedings, but no assurances can be given that the schedule will not change. We are vigorously defending against the Complaints. Notably, we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on January 20, 2016. Briefing on the motion continues. We are unable to estimate a possible loss or range of possible loss from the litigation because key aspects of the litigation may be resolved by summary judgment.

Additionally, we are involved in a class action lawsuit concerning independent contractors in connection with our Caviar business. On March 19, 2015, Jeffry Levin, on behalf of a putative nationwide class, filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against our wholly owned subsidiary, Caviar, Inc., which, as amended, alleges that Caviar misclassified Mr. Levin and other similarly situated couriers as independent contractors and, in doing so, violated various provisions of the California Labor Code and California Business and Professions Code by requiring them to pay various business expenses that should have been borne by Caviar. Mr. Levin is also seeking an award of penalties pursuant to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA), on behalf of the putative class. On June 30, 2015, we filed a Motion to Compel Individual Arbitration and Motion to Dismiss the amended complaint. On November 16, 2015, the Court granted Caviar’s motion to compel arbitration of Mr. Levin’s individual claims and found the waiver of the representative California Labor Code cause of action under PAGA unenforceable under a recent appellate court ruling. On January, 22, 2016, the Court ruled that an arbitrator will determine whether the PAGA claim is arbitrable or should move forward in court. This arbitration has not yet been initiated. We will continue to vigorously defend against Mr. Levin’s claims. Given the early stage of these proceedings, it is not yet possible to reliably determine any potential liability that could result from this matter.

In addition, from time to time, we are involved in various other litigation matters and disputes arising in the ordinary course of business. While it is not feasible to predict or determine the ultimate outcome of these matters, we believe that none of our current legal proceedings will have a material adverse effect on our business.



Item 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.


34






PART II


Item 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information for Common Stock

Our Class A common stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SQ” on November 19, 2015. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. The following table sets forth the high and low sales price per share of our Class A common stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange for the period indicated: 

Year Ended December 31, 2015
 
High
 
Low
Fourth Quarter (from November 19, 2015)
 
$
14.78

 
$
9.00


Holders of Record
As of March 7, 2016, there were 4 holders of record of our Class A common stock and 712 holders of record of our Class B common stock. Because many of our shares of Class A common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of beneficial owners of our Class A common stock represented by these record holders.

Dividend Policy

We have never declared nor paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings for use in the operation of our business and do not expect to pay any dividends on our capital stock in the foreseeable future. Any future determination relating to our dividend policy will be at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, general business conditions, and other factors that our board of directors considers relevant.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
Common Stock Issuances
In July 2015, we sold 3,777 shares of our Class B common stock, in consideration for services previously rendered by a deceased employee, to a beneficiary of the employee, at a purchase price of approximately $0.01 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of $37.77.
Preferred Stock Issuances
From January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, we sold an aggregate of 1,940,058 shares of our convertible preferred stock to two accredited investors at a purchase price of approximately $15.46 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $30.0 million.
Option and RSU Issuances
From January 1, 2015 through November 19, 2015 (the date of the filing of our registration statement on Form S-8, File No. 333-208098), we granted to our directors, officers, employees, consultants, and other service providers options to purchase an aggregate of 32,585,935 shares of our Class B common stock and 2,816,100 shares of our Class A common stock under our equity compensation plans at exercise prices ranging from approximately $9.00 to $15.39 per share.
From January 1, 2015 through November 19, 2015 (the date of the filing of our registration statement on Form S-8, File No. 333-208098), we granted to our directors, officers, employees, consultants, and other service providers an aggregate of 1,025,000 restricted stock units to be settled in shares of our Class B common stock under our equity compensation plans.




Common Stock Issuances in Connection with Acquisitions
From January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, we issued an aggregate of 667,133 shares of our Class A common stock and 2,923,881 shares of our Class B common stock in connection with our acquisitions of certain companies or their assets. In connection with our acquisition of one company, we issued shares to 12 individuals or entities who were former service providers and/or stockholders of such company. In this transaction, recipients of shares represented to us that they are “accredited investors,” as defined in Regulation D promulgated under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act, formerly Section 4(2), or that they have appointed a purchaser representative (as defined in Rule 501(h)). In connection with other acquisitions, we issued shares to one entity in each instance. We believe that each recipient of shares was sophisticated and capable of understanding and evaluating the risks of acquiring our securities.
None of the foregoing transactions involved any underwriters, underwriting discounts or commissions, or any public offering. We believe the offers, sales, and issuances of the above securities, including the transaction described under the title “Common Stock Issuances,” were exempt from registration under the Securities Act by virtue of Section 4(a)(2), formerly 4(2), of the Securities Act, because the issuance of securities to the recipients did not involve a public offering, or were offered in reliance on Rule 701 because the transactions were pursuant to compensatory benefit plans or contracts relating to compensation as provided under such rule. The recipients of the securities in each of these transactions represented their intentions to acquire the securities for investment only and not with a view to or for sale in connection with any distribution thereof, and appropriate legends were placed upon the stock certificates issued in these transactions. All recipients had adequate access, through their relationships with us or otherwise, to information about us. The sales of these securities were made without any general solicitation or advertising.
Use of Proceeds
The Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-207411) for our initial public offering of our Class A common stock was declared effective by the SEC on November 18, 2015. The Registration Statement on Form S-1 registered an aggregate of 31,050,000 shares of our Class A common stock (1,350,000 of which were held by a selling stockholder), including 4,050,000 shares registered to cover an option to purchase additional shares granted by us to the underwriters. On November 24, 2015, we closed our initial public offering, in which we sold 29,700,000 shares of our Class A common stock, including 4,050,000 shares sold pursuant to the underwriters’ full exercise of their option to purchase additional shares, at a public offering price of $9.00 per share for an aggregate offering price of approximately $267.3 million. The selling stockholder sold 1,350,000 shares of our Class A common stock at a public offering price of $9.00 per share for an aggregate offering price of approximately $12.2 million. Upon completion of the sale of the shares of our Class A common stock referenced in the preceding sentences, our initial public offering terminated.
The underwriters of our initial public offering were Goldman, Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Barclays Capital Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Jefferies LLC, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, LOYAL3 Securities, Inc., and SMBC Nikko Securities America, Inc. We paid to the underwriters of our initial public offering an underwriting discount totaling approximately $14.7 million. In addition, we incurred offering expenses of approximately $6.9 million which, when added to the underwriting discount, amount to total expenses of approximately $21.6 million. Thus, our net offering proceeds, after deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses, were approximately $245.7 million. We did not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling stockholder in our initial public offering. No payments were made to our directors or officers or their associates, holders of 10% or more of any class of our equity securities or any affiliates.
There has been no material change in the planned use of proceeds from our initial public offering as described in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on November 19, 2015 pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4).

36






Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
None.

Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act), or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of Square, Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act.
The following graph compares the cumulative total return to stockholders on our common stock relative to the cumulative total returns of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, or S&P 500, and the S&P North American Technology Index. An investment of $100 (with reinvestment of all dividends) is assumed to have been made in our Class A common stock and in each index on November 19, 2015, the date our Class A common stock began trading on the NYSE, and its relative performance is tracked through December 31, 2015. The returns shown are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.


Item 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following selected consolidated statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013 and 2012, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements and should be read in conjunction with the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

37






 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(in thousands, except per share data)
Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction revenue
$
1,050,445

 
$
707,799

 
$
433,737

 
$
193,978

Starbucks transaction revenue
142,283

 
123,024

 
114,456

 
9,471

Software and data product revenue
58,013

 
12,046

 

 

Hardware revenue
16,377

 
7,323

 
4,240

 

Total net revenue
1,267,118

 
850,192

 
552,433

 
203,449

Cost of revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction costs
672,667

 
450,858

 
277,833

 
126,351

Starbucks transaction costs
165,438

 
150,955

 
139,803

 
12,547

Software and data product costs
22,470

 
2,973

 

 

Hardware costs
30,874

 
18,330

 
6,012

 

Amortization of acquired technology
5,639

 
1,002

 

 

Total cost of revenue
897,088

 
624,118

 
423,648

 
138,898

Gross profit
370,030

 
226,074

 
128,785

 
64,551

Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Product development
199,638

 
144,637

 
82,864

 
46,568

Sales and marketing
145,618

 
112,577

 
64,162

 
56,648

General and administrative
143,466

 
94,220

 
68,942

 
36,184

Transaction and advance losses
54,009

 
24,081

 
15,329

 
10,512

Amortization of acquired customer assets
1,757

 
1,050

 

 

Impairment of intangible assets

 

 
2,430

 

Total operating expenses
544,488

 
376,565

 
233,727

 
149,912

Operating loss
(174,458
)
 
(150,491
)
 
(104,942
)
 
(85,361
)
Interest (income) and expense
1,163

 
1,058

 
(12
)
 
5

Other (income) and expense
450

 
1,104

 
(950
)
 
(167
)
Loss before income tax
(176,071
)
 
(152,653
)
 
(103,980
)
 
(85,199
)
Provision for income taxes
3,746

 
1,440

 
513

 

Net loss
(179,817
)
 
(154,093
)
 
(104,493
)
 
(85,199
)
Deemed dividend on Series E preferred stock
(32,200
)
 

 

 

Net loss attributable to common stockholders
$
(212,017
)
 
$
(154,093
)
 
$
(104,493
)
 
$
(85,199
)
Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
(1.24
)
 
$
(1.08
)
 
$
(0.82
)
 
$
(0.71
)
Diluted
$
(1.24
)
 
$
(1.08
)
 
$
(0.82
)
 
$
(0.71
)
Weighted-average shares used to compute net loss per share attributable to common stockholders:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
170,498

 
142,042

 
127,845

 
119,220

Diluted
170,498

 
142,042

 
127,845

 
119,220



38






Operating expenses include share-based compensation expense as follows:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(in thousands)
Product development
$
54,738

 
$
24,758

 
$
8,820

 
$
3,984

Sales and marketing
7,360

 
3,738

 
1,235

 
668

General and administrative
20,194

 
7,604

 
4,603

 
3,462

Total share-based compensation
$
82,292

 
$
36,100

 
$
14,658

 
$
8,114


 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(in thousands)
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
470,775

 
$
225,300

 
$
166,176

Settlements receivable
142,727

 
115,481

 
64,968

Working capital
371,361

 
218,761

 
124,061

Total assets
894,772

 
541,888

 
318,341

Customers payable
224,811

 
148,648

 
95,794

Total stockholders' equity
508,048

 
273,672

 
162,294


Key Operating Metrics and Non-GAAP Financial Measures
We collect and analyze operating and financial data to evaluate the health of our business, allocate our resources, and assess our performance. In addition to revenue, net (loss) income, and other results under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), the following table sets forth key operating metrics and non-GAAP financial measures we use to evaluate our business. Each of these metrics and measures excludes the effect of our payment processing agreement with Starbucks. We do not intend to renew our payment processing agreement with Starbucks when it expires in the third quarter of 2016, and we recently amended the agreement to eliminate the exclusivity provision in order to permit Starbucks to begin transitioning to another payment processor starting October 1, 2015. Under the amendment, Starbucks also agreed to pay increased processing rates to us for as long as it continues to process transactions with us. Starbucks has announced that it will transition to another payment processor and will cease using our payment processing services altogether prior to the scheduled expiration of the agreement in the third quarter of 2016. As a result, we believe it is useful to exclude Starbucks activity to clearly show the impact Starbucks has had on our financial results historically, to provide insight into the impact of the expected termination of the Starbucks agreement on our revenues going forward, to facilitate period-to-period comparisons of our business, and to facilitate comparisons of our performance to that of other payment processors. Our agreements with other sellers, including Starbucks following the amendment described above, generally provide both those sellers and us the unilateral right to terminate such agreements at any time, without fine or penalty. Furthermore, we generally do not enter into long-term contractual agreements with sellers.
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(in thousands, except GPV)
Gross Payment Volume (GPV) (in millions)
$
35,643

 
$
23,780

 
$
14,822

 
$
6,518

Adjusted Revenue
$
452,168

 
$
276,310

 
$
160,144

 
$
67,627

Adjusted EBITDA
$
(41,115
)
 
$
(67,741
)
 
$
(51,530
)
 
$
(70,579
)

Gross Payment Volume (GPV)
We define GPV as the total dollar amount of all card payments processed by sellers using Square, net of refunds. GPV excludes card payments processed for Starbucks. Additionally, GPV excludes activity related to our Square Cash peer-to-peer payments service.

39







Adjusted Revenue
Adjusted Revenue is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as our total net revenue less transaction costs, adjusted to eliminate the effect of activity under our payment processing agreement with Starbucks. As described above, Starbucks has announced that it will transition to another payment processor and will cease using our payment processing services altogether, and we believe that providing Adjusted Revenue metrics that exclude the impact of our agreement with Starbucks is useful to investors.
We believe it is useful to exclude transaction costs from Adjusted Revenue as this is a primary metric used by management to measure our business performance, and it affords greater comparability to other payment processing companies. Substantially all of the transaction costs excluded from Adjusted Revenue are interchange fees set by payment card networks and are paid to card issuers, with the remainder of such transaction costs consisting of assessment fees paid to payment card networks, fees paid to third-party payment processors, and bank settlement fees. While some payment processors present their revenue in a similar fashion to us, others present their revenue net of transaction costs because they pass through these costs directly to their sellers. Under our standard pricing model, we do not pass through these costs directly to our sellers.
Adjusted Revenue has limitations as a financial measure, should be considered as supplemental in nature, and is not meant as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. These limitations include the following:
Adjusted Revenue excludes transaction costs, which is our largest cost of revenue item; and

other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate Adjusted Revenue differently from how we calculate this measure or not at all, which reduces its usefulness as a comparative measure.

Because of these limitations, you should consider Adjusted Revenue alongside other financial performance measures, including total net revenue and our financial results presented in accordance with GAAP. The following table presents a reconciliation of total net revenue to Adjusted Revenue for each of the periods indicated:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(in thousands)
Total net revenue
$
1,267,118

 
$
850,192

 
$
552,433

 
$
203,449

Less: Starbucks transaction revenue
142,283

 
123,024

 
114,456

 
9,471

Less: transaction costs
672,667

 
450,858

 
277,833

 
126,351

Adjusted Revenue
$
452,168

 
$
276,310

 
$
160,144

 
$
67,627


Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure that represents our net loss, adjusted to eliminate the effect of Starbucks transaction revenue and Starbucks transaction costs, before interest income and expense, provision or benefit for income taxes, depreciation, amortization, share-based compensation expense, other income and expense, the gain or loss on the sale of property and equipment, and impairment of intangible assets. We have included Adjusted EBITDA in this Annual Report on Form 10-K because it is a key measure used by our management to evaluate our operating performance, generate future operating plans, and make strategic decisions, including those relating to operating expenses and the allocation of internal resources. Accordingly, we believe that Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results in the same manner as our management and board of directors. In addition, it provides a useful measure for period-to-period comparisons of our business, as it removes the effect of certain non-cash items and certain variable charges.

We believe it is useful to exclude non-cash charges, such as depreciation and amortization, and share-based compensation expenses, from our Adjusted EBITDA because the amount of such expenses in any specific period may not directly correlate to the underlying performance of our business operations. We exclude Starbucks transaction revenue and Starbucks transaction costs because Starbucks has announced that it will transition to another payment processor prior to the scheduled expiration of our payment processing agreement in the third quarter of 2016. We believe that providing Adjusted EBITDA metrics that exclude

40






the impact of our agreement with Starbucks is useful to investors. We exclude gain or loss on the sale of property and equipment, and impairment of intangible assets from Adjusted EBITDA because we do not believe that these items are reflective of our ongoing business operations. In addition, we believe it is useful to exclude interest income and expense, other income and expense, and provision or benefit from income taxes, as these items are not components of our core business operations. Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as a financial measure, should be considered as supplemental in nature and is not meant as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. These limitations include the following:

although depreciation and amortization are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized may have to be replaced in the future, and Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect cash capital expenditure requirements for such replacements or for new capital expenditures or other capital commitments;

Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs;

Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect the effect of income taxes that may represent a reduction in cash available to us;

Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect the effect of foreign currency exchange gains or losses which is included in other income and expense; and

other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate Adjusted EBITDA differently from how we calculate this measure or not at all, which reduces its usefulness as a comparative measure.


Because of these limitations, you should consider Adjusted EBITDA alongside other financial performance measures, including net loss and our other financial results presented in accordance with GAAP. The following table presents a reconciliation of net loss to Adjusted EBITDA for each of the periods indicated:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(in thousands)
Net loss
$
(179,817
)
 
$
(154,093
)
 
$
(104,493
)
 
$
(85,199
)
Starbucks transaction revenue
(142,283
)
 
(123,024
)
 
(114,456
)
 
(9,471
)
Starbucks transaction costs
165,438

 
150,955

 
139,803

 
12,547

Share-based compensation expense
82,292

 
36,100

 
14,658

 
8,114

Depreciation and amortization
27,626

 
18,586

 
8,272

 
3,579

Interest (income) and expense
1,163

 
1,058

 
(12
)
 
5

Other (income) and expense
450

 
1,104

 
(950
)
 
(167
)
Provision for income taxes
3,746

 
1,440

 
513

 

Loss on sale of property and equipment
270

 
133

 
2,705

 
13

Impairment of intangible assets

 

 
2,430

 

Adjusted EBITDA
$
(41,115
)
 
$
(67,741
)
 
$
(51,530
)
 
$
(70,579
)

41






Item 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with the information set forth under “Selected Financial Data” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The statements in this discussion regarding our expectations of our future performance; liquidity and capital resources; our plans, estimates, beliefs, and expectations that involve risks and uncertainties; and other non-historical statements in this discussion, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the risks and uncertainties described under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our actual results may differ materially from those contained in or implied by any forward-looking statements.


Overview

We started Square in February 2009 to enable anyone with a mobile device to accept card payments, anywhere, anytime. While we found early success providing easy access to card payments, commerce extends beyond payments. In every transaction, we see opportunity for our sellers: to learn more about which products are selling best, to reinvest in their businesses, or to create and engage loyal buyers. Although we currently generate approximately 94% of our total net revenue from payment processing services, which include revenue generated from Starbucks, we have extended our product and service offerings to include additional point-of-sale (POS) services, financial services and marketing services, all to help sellers start, run, and grow their businesses.

We work to democratize commerce—leveling the playing field for sellers of all sizes. Our focus on technology and design allows us to create products and services that are accessible, intuitive, and easy-to-use. We set attractive and transparent pricing that is easy for our sellers to understand. We provide a free software app with our affordable (often free) hardware to turn mobile devices into powerful POS solutions in minutes. Our insights into our sellers’ businesses have allowed us to develop services that are applicable to businesses of all types and sizes, from Square Analytics to digital receipts. We also continue to add advanced software features that tailor our POS solution to specific types of sellers, such as open tickets for bars and restaurants and inventory management for retailers.

Because of our approach, we have grown rapidly. Millions of sellers accept payments with Square. They span all types of businesses: from cabs to coffee shops, lawyers to landscapers, retail stores to restaurants. Although substantially all of our revenue is currently generated in the United States, we also serve sellers throughout Canada and Japan. As this international base of sellers grows, so too should our Gross Payment Volume (GPV) and revenue in these regions. We serve sellers of all sizes, ranging from a single vendor at a farmers’ market to multinational businesses. Our products and services are built to scale, so sellers can stay with us over the life of their businesses. In the year ended December 31, 2015, sellers using Square processed $35.6 billion of GPV, which was generated by 712 million card payments from approximately 190 million payment cards. The foundation of our business model is the millions of sellers processing payments with Square. We measure the effectiveness of our sales and marketing spending by evaluating the “payback period,” which we view as the number of quarters it takes for a quarterly cohort of sellers’ cumulative transaction revenue net of transaction costs to surpass our sales and marketing spending in the quarter in which we acquired that cohort. We define a quarterly cohort of sellers as the group of sellers that are approved to accept card payments with Square in a given quarter. On average, our payback period is four to five quarters.

The addition of new products and services is also a key part of our strategy. Our scale, growth, and unique insights enable us to serve sellers of all sizes with additional financial services and marketing services, further strengthening our business. For example, we expect sellers who grow sales as a result of deploying funds from Square Capital into their business will likely also process increased payment volume with us.

For the year ended December 31, 2015, our total net revenue grew to $1,267.1 million, up 49% from the year ended December 31, 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2014, our total net revenue grew to $850.2 million, up 54% from the prior year. For the year ended December 31, 2015, our Adjusted Revenue grew to $452.2 million, up 64% from the year ended December 31, 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2014, our Adjusted Revenue grew to $276.3 million, up 73% from the prior year. We intend to continue to make investments that will serve sellers and buyers over the long term even if a return on these investments is not realized in the short term. For the years ended December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, we generated a net loss of $179.8 million and $154.1 million, respectively.


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Factors Affecting Our Operating Performance

Adoption of our payments and POS services. Our payments services are the foundation of our relationship with our sellers. We generate revenue with every card payment that our sellers accept. We will continue to drive adoption of our payments services by scaling our solutions to meet the needs of sellers of all types and sizes. We believe we can do this by further developing our products and services, using custom pricing to attract larger sellers, and enhancing relationships with larger sellers through our direct sales and account management teams.

We seek to continue to drive adoption of our payments and POS services, as they represent one important way sellers can gain familiarity with our full range of products, features, and services. The insights generated by our payments services enable many new products and services, such as analytics that show our sellers how their businesses are performing, helping them increase sales and thereby generating incremental revenue for us. As a result, the level of ongoing seller adoption of our payments and POS services will affect our growth.

Ongoing evolution in payment technologies. We are committed to ensuring that no seller misses a sale because he or she cannot accept a certain form of payment. In the near term, this means enabling our sellers to accept NFC and EMV chip card payments in addition to magnetic stripe card payments. We are also committed to encouraging the shift to authenticated technologies for a stronger and more secure seller and buyer experience. Historically, card-issuing banks were generally responsible for fraudulent card-present transactions. Since October 2015, sellers in the United States who accept card-present payments with EMV chip cards and who are not using EMV-compliant hardware have been subject to liability for fraud associated with those transactions. We believe this is leading to a significant upgrade cycle for POS terminals among our current seller base and that it presents an opportunity for us to reach an even broader group of sellers seeking cost-effective solutions to comply with EMV requirements, in particular the new standards in the United States and Japan. In conjunction with the shift toward EMV, we believe that sellers will increasingly want to enable NFC payments, as NFC technology can offer fast EMV-compliant transactions. In the second quarter of 2015, we began shipping our first Square Reader for EMV chip cards, and in the fourth quarter of 2015, we began shipping our Square Reader for both EMV chip cards and NFC.

Unlike our Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards, which we distribute for free and the costs of which are reflected in our sales and marketing expenses, our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC is available for sale and is reflected in hardware revenue and hardware costs. We currently offer our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC at a price modestly below our manufacturing costs. As a result, the timing of the transition of new and existing sellers from our Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards to our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC has affected, and will continue to affect, our results of operations. Relative to our free Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards, we may encounter changes in demand from new sellers for our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC given the cost associated with purchasing more advanced hardware. Additionally, from time to time we may engage in promotional efforts to encourage the adoption of Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC. While we believe these efforts are strategically important, they may have short-term negative effects on our operating results.

Up-selling and cross-selling additional products and services. Our existing sellers represent a sizable opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell products and services with little incremental sales and marketing expense. We believe that POS services such as Square Appointments, financial services such as Square Capital, and marketing services such as Square Customer Engagement represent opportunities to further increase engagement with our sellers. We plan to continually invest in product development, and in sales and marketing, to increase the usage and awareness of these services. As a result, to the extent we are able to up-sell and cross-sell these financial services and marketing services and develop and introduce new products and services to our existing sellers, we expect our growth and margins will be positively affected.

Sales and marketing investment. We plan to continue to invest in sales and marketing channels that we believe drive further growth and adoption of our services. Given the nature of our revenue streams, which are distributed over time as sellers process transactions, our investments in sales and marketing do not realize returns in the same period in which they are made but over subsequent periods, which could adversely affect our near-term results. We measure the effectiveness of sales and marketing spending in a quarter relative to the performance of the seller cohort acquired in that quarter. The payback period for our seller cohorts has remained consistent over time.

Continued investment in product development. We will continue to invest in product development to build new products and services and to bring them to market. We expect to continue to increase headcount to promote and support our anticipated growth. Although we expect these investments to benefit our business over the long term, we expect our total operating expenses will increase in dollar amount over time, and in the short term they may have negative effects on our operating results.

43







Seller size. As our existing sellers grow and as we serve increasingly larger sellers, we have an opportunity to significantly grow our GPV. Serving an increasing number of larger sellers also presents an opportunity to cross-sell software and data products and services that generate incremental revenue and gross profit with limited or zero incremental customer acquisition costs. Over time, we expect an increasing portion of our growth to come from increased revenue per seller. However, we experience an inherent trade-off between the size of our sellers and our transaction revenue as a percentage of GPV because we selectively offer custom pricing to larger sellers.

Global adoption. We believe we are well positioned to enter additional markets globally, including through our ability to provide modern, cost-effective hardware to markets that have embraced NFC or EMV technologies. We plan to continue expanding into new countries to broaden our base of sellers and to increase our market opportunity. In doing so, we may need to invest significantly, which could have negative effects on our operating results.

Buyer adoption of our services. We offer services that directly reach buyers. Today, our digital receipts provide a unique link between sellers and buyers—any time a buyer completes a sale with a Square seller, he or she can choose to receive a digital receipt via email or text message, building a direct communication channel. We also offer Caviar, Square Cash, and other services to make commerce easy for buyers. We have made significant investments in the development of these buyer-facing products and services, and our ability to grow our buyer network will be important for strengthening our ecosystem and driving our growth.

Amendment and expiration of Starbucks payment processing agreement. In the third quarter of 2012, we signed an agreement to process credit and debit card payment transactions for all Starbucks-owned stores in the United States. We believe this agreement was a valuable catalyst for building best-in-class enterprise infrastructure. For the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, the gross loss related to our payment processing agreement with Starbucks was $23.2 million and $27.9 million, respectively. In August 2015, we amended our payment processing agreement with Starbucks to eliminate the exclusivity provision in order to permit Starbucks to begin transitioning to another payment processor starting October 1, 2015. Under the amendment, Starbucks also agreed to pay increased processing rates to us for as long as it continues to process transactions with us. Starbucks has announced that it will transition to another payment processor and will cease using our payment processing services altogether prior to the scheduled expiration of the agreement in the third quarter of 2016. As a result, Starbucks payment processing volumes will decrease meaningfully in the future. This transition will result in decreased Starbucks transaction revenue and Starbucks transaction costs, positively affecting our overall gross profit relative to historical periods.

Effect of pricing initiatives for our payment processing services. Since February 2011, our standard model for payments services has remained stable at 2.75% of the total transaction amount for processing card-present transactions, and 3.5% of the total transaction amount plus $0.15 per transaction for card-not-present transactions. Notwithstanding our history of stable pricing for our payments services, we face competition across our payments services. We have introduced pricing programs to attract newer larger customers, such as our current custom pricing program (introduced in November 2013). Our custom pricing initiative affects a small but fast growing portion of our sellers and represents an opportunity for incremental growth. To the extent competition for sellers increases, particularly for those that are offered custom pricing, our rate of growth and margins may be adversely affected.

Macroeconomic environment. Our sellers’ underlying business activity from buyers is linked to the macroeconomic environment, affecting our transaction revenue as well as the adoption of additional services by our sellers. Changes in macroeconomic conditions may also affect our transaction loss rates from chargebacks issued to sellers that go out of business before the issuance of those chargebacks, as well as advance loss rates for Square Capital merchant cash advances (MCAs) that are not sold to third parties.

44






Components of Results of Operations
Revenue
Transaction revenue. We charge our sellers a transaction fee for payment processing services equal to 2.75% of the total transaction amount for processing card-present transactions and for processing payments with Square Invoices and Square Online Store, and 3.5% of the total transaction amount plus $0.15 per transaction for processing manually entered (card-not-present) transactions. We also selectively offer custom pricing for larger sellers.
Starbucks transaction revenue. Under our payment processing agreement with Starbucks, we charge a percentage of the total transaction amount for processing credit and debit card payment transactions for all Starbucks-owned stores in the United States.
Software and data product revenue. In addition to payments and POS services, we offer our sellers a range of paid services, with Square Capital and Caviar currently comprising the majority of our software and data product revenue. Our other software and data products include: Gift Cards, Square Appointments, Instant Deposits, Customer Engagement, Employee Management, Payroll, and other software and data services offered through our Square Marketplace. Square Capital primarily provides MCAs to pre-qualified sellers. In return for these advances, the merchant agrees to repay a fixed future receivable amount. A fixed percentage of the merchant's daily processing volume is withheld as repayment for their advance. Of that repayment, the agreed upon fixed percentage is recognized as revenue, resulting in revenue being recognized ratably as cash is collected. We currently fund a majority of the MCAs from arrangements with third parties that commit to purchase the future receivables related to the MCAs. This funding significantly increases the speed with which we can scale Square Capital and allows us to mitigate our balance sheet risk. We generate revenue from selling these future receivables to third parties by charging upfront fees, which are a fixed percentage of the cash advanced when the receivables are sold, and an ongoing servicing fee for facilitating the repayment of these receivables through our payment processing platform. The servicing fee is a fixed percentage of each repayment and recognized as the service is performed. We fund the remaining MCAs from our balance sheet. In addition to MCAs, we are expanding Square Capital further to offer new product types, including merchant loans. Revenue for Caviar, our food delivery service, is derived from seller fees, which are a percentage of total food order value, delivery fees, which are fixed per-transaction, and service fees paid by the consumer based on total food order value. Over time, we expect software and data product revenue to constitute an increasing percentage of our total net revenue.
Hardware revenue. Hardware revenue includes revenue from sales of Square Stand, Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC, and third-party peripherals. Third-party peripherals include cash drawers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners, all of which can be integrated with Square Stand to provide a comprehensive POS solution. In the second quarter of 2015, we began selling our first Square Reader for EMV chip cards, and in the fourth quarter of 2015, we began selling our Square Reader for both EMV chip cards and NFC. As we broaden our hardware offerings and third-party peripherals, and as we migrate new and existing sellers to Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC, hardware revenue may increase as a portion of total net revenue.
Cost of Revenue and Gross Margin
Transaction costs. Transaction costs consist primarily of interchange fees set by payment card networks and that are paid to the card-issuing financial institution, assessment fees paid to payment card networks, fees paid to third-party payment processors, and bank settlement fees.
Starbucks transaction costs. Starbucks transaction costs are made up of the same components as our overall transaction costs.
Software and data product costs. Software and data product costs consist primarily of Caviar-related costs, which include payments to third-party couriers for deliveries and the costs of equipment provided to sellers. Cost of revenue for other software and data products consists primarily of the amortization related to the development of certain software and data products. To the extent we are able to increase the proportion of our total net revenue that is derived from the sale of these software and data products, we expect our overall gross margin will be positively affected.
Hardware costs. Hardware costs consist primarily of product costs associated with Square Stand, Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC, and third-party peripherals. Product costs include manufacturing-related overhead and personnel costs, certain royalties, packaging, and fulfillment costs. We currently offer our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC

45






at a price modestly below our manufacturing costs. For Square Stand, our production costs substantially exceed our revenue. However, we believe both Square Stand and Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC are attractive offerings to many of our larger sellers, and, as a result, we intend to continue to offer each at prices less than our costs. In conjunction with the sale of Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC, we will also begin to recognize additional costs related to the design and distribution of those units.
Amortization of acquired technology. These costs consist of amortization related to technologies acquired through acquisitions that have the capability of producing revenue.
Operating Expenses
Operating expenses consist of product development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses, transaction and advance losses, amortization of acquired customer assets, and impairment of intangible assets. For product development and general and administrative expenses, the largest single component is personnel-related expenses, including salaries, commissions and bonuses, employee benefit costs, and share-based compensation. In the case of sales and marketing expenses, a significant portion is related to paid advertising expenses in addition to personnel-related expenses. Operating expenses also include allocated overhead costs for facilities, human resources, and IT.
Product Development

Product development expenses currently represent the largest component of our operating expenses and consist primarily of expenses related to our engineering and design personnel, fees and supply costs related to maintenance and capacity expansion at third-party data center facilities, development and tooling costs, and fees for software licenses, consulting, legal, and other services that are directly related to growing and maintaining our portfolio of products and services. Additionally, product development expenses include the depreciation of product-related infrastructure and tools, including data center equipment, internally developed software, and computer equipment. We continue to focus our product development efforts on adding new features and apps, and on enhancing the functionality and ease of use of our offerings. Our ability to realize returns on these investments is substantially dependent upon our ability to successfully address current and emerging requirements of sellers and buyers through the development and introduction of these new products and services. While we expect total product development expenses to increase as we invest further in engineering and design personnel, over time we also expect our product development expenses to decline as a percentage of total net revenue.

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of four components. First, sales and marketing expenses include costs incurred to acquire new sellers through various paid advertising channels, including online, mobile, email, direct mail, and direct response TV, all of which are expensed as incurred. Second, sales and marketing expenses include expenses related to our direct sales, account management, local and product marketing, retail and ecommerce, partnerships, and communications personnel. Third, sales and marketing expenses include the costs associated with the manufacturing and distribution of the Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards, which is offered for free on our website and provided through various marketing events and distribution channels. New sellers who purchase a Square Reader for magnetic stripe cards from one of our retail distribution partners are offered a rebate equal to the price paid. The cost to us of manufacturing and distributing Square Readers for magnetic stripe cards is partially offset by amounts received from retail distribution partners. As our sellers transition to using Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC, we expect to distribute relatively fewer Square Readers for magnetic stripe cards, thus reducing that component of our sales and marketing expenses. Fourth, sales and marketing expenses include costs associated with free Square Cash peer-to-peer transactions. While we expect sales and marketing expenses to increase as the scale of our business grows, over the long term we also expect sales and marketing expenses to decline as a percentage of total net revenue. Over the short term, however, sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of total net revenue may demonstrate variability based on the timing and magnitude of marketing and customer acquisition initiatives.

General and Administrative

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of expenses related to our finance, legal, risk operations, human resources, and administrative personnel. General and administrative expenses also include costs related to customer support personnel and systems, as well as fees paid for professional services, including legal, tax, and accounting services. While we expect general and administrative expenses to increase in dollar amount to support our growth and costs of compliance associated

46






with being a public company, over time we expect general and administrative expenses to decline as a percentage of total net revenue.

Transaction and Advance Losses

We are exposed to transaction losses due to chargebacks as a result of fraud or uncollectibility. Examples of transaction losses include chargebacks for unauthorized credit card use and inability to collect on disputes between buyers and sellers over the delivery of goods or services. We base our reserve estimates on prior chargeback history and current period data points indicative of transaction loss. We reflect additions to the reserve in current operating results, while we make charges to the reserve when we incur losses. We reflect recoveries in the reserve for transaction losses as collected.

The establishment of appropriate reserves is an inherently uncertain process, and ultimate losses may vary from the current estimates. We regularly update our reserve estimates as new facts become known and events occur that may affect the settlement or recovery of losses. For the period from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2015, our transaction losses accounted for approximately 0.1% of GPV. However, as we expand our seller base, offer new services, and expand to new geographies, we expect that our transaction and advance losses would be affected and will vary quarter to quarter.

We are not exposed to losses for the Square Capital receivables that are sold to third parties in accordance with our arrangements with them. These third-party arrangements cover a majority of the dollar value of receivables outstanding. For the remaining Square Capital receivables, we are generally exposed to losses related to uncollectibility, and similar to the loss provisions for transaction losses, we establish loss provisions for uncollectible receivables. We estimate the allowance based on prior default rates and seller-specific activity. We plan to continue to fund a majority of future MCAs through third-party sales, and are transitioning to offer other product types, including merchant loans. Although advance losses associated with MCAs have been immaterial since Square Capital’s launch in May 2014, we would expect greater advance losses in dollar terms from MCAs in future periods to the extent the amount of MCAs not funded through third-party sales increases over time.

Amortization of Acquired Customer Assets

Amortization of acquired customer assets includes customer relationships, restaurant relationships, driver relationships, subscriber relationships, and partner relationships.

Impairment of Intangible Assets

As certain acquired intangible assets were not expected to contribute directly or indirectly to our future cash flows and there were no other ways to monetize the technology, an impairment charge was recorded in December 2013.

Interest and Other Income and Expense

Interest income and expense consists primarily of interest expense related to our revolving credit facility, interest expense on our capital lease financings, and interest income on cash balances. Other income and expense historically consisted primarily of changes in the fair value of our customer warrant liability measurements and foreign currency-related gains and losses.

Provision for Income Taxes

The provision for income taxes consists primarily of local, state, federal, and foreign tax. Our effective tax rate fluctuates from period to period due to changes in the mix of income and losses in jurisdictions with a wide range of tax rates, the effect of acquisitions, the change resulting from the amount of recorded valuation allowance, the permanent difference between GAAP and local tax laws, certain one-time items, and changes in tax contingencies.
    
As of December 31, 2015, we had $3.2 million of federal, $115.5 million of state, and $51.4 million of foreign net operating loss carryforwards, which will begin to expire in 2032 for federal and 2024 for state tax purposes. The foreign net operating loss carryforwards do not expire. An annual limitation may apply to the use of net operating loss carryforwards under provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and similar state tax provisions that are applicable if we experience an ownership change. We do not expect any previous ownership changes to result in a limitation that will reduce the total amount of net operating loss carryforwards and credits that can be utilized. Substantially all of our net operating loss carryforwards were subject to a valuation allowance as of December 31, 2015.

47







Deemed Dividend on Series E Preferred Stock

For the year ended December 31, 2015, we issued 10,299,696 shares of our common stock to certain holders of Series E preferred stock, in the form of a deemed stock dividend of $32.2 million. There were no similar occurrences in any other period presented.



48






Results of Operations
The results of operations presented below should be reviewed in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The following table sets forth our consolidated results of operations for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(in thousands)
Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction revenue
$
1,050,445

 
$
707,799

 
$
433,737

Starbucks transaction revenue
142,283

 
123,024

 
114,456

Software and data product revenue
58,013

 
12,046

 

Hardware revenue
16,377

 
7,323

 
4,240

Total net revenue
1,267,118

 
850,192

 
552,433

Cost of revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction costs
672,667

 
450,858

 
277,833

Starbucks transaction costs
165,438

 
150,955

 
139,803

Software and data product costs
22,470

 
2,973

 

Hardware costs
30,874

 
18,330

 
6,012

Amortization of acquired technology
5,639

 
1,002

 

Total cost of revenue
897,088

 
624,118

 
423,648

Gross profit
370,030

 
226,074

 
128,785

Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
Product development
199,638

 
144,637

 
82,864

Sales and marketing
145,618

 
112,577

 
64,162

General and administrative
143,466

 
94,220

 
68,942

Transaction and advance losses
54,009

 
24,081

 
15,329

Amortization of acquired customer assets
1,757

 
1,050

 

Impairment of intangible assets

 

 
2,430

Total operating expenses
544,488

 
376,565

 
233,727

Operating loss
(174,458
)
 
(150,491
)
 
(104,942
)
Interest (income) and expense
1,163

 
1,058

 
(12
)
Other (income) and expense
450

 
1,104

 
(950
)
Loss before income tax
(176,071
)
 
(152,653
)
 
(103,980
)
Provision for income taxes
3,746

 
1,440

 
513

Net loss
(179,817
)
 
(154,093
)
 
(104,493
)
Deemed dividend on Series E preferred stock
(32,200
)
 

 

Net loss attributable to common stockholders
$
(212,017
)
 
$
(154,093
)
 
$
(104,493
)


49






The following table sets forth share-based compensation expense for the periods shown:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(in thousands)
Product development
$
54,738

 
$
24,758

 
$
8,820

Sales and marketing
7,360

 
3,738

 
1,235

General and administrative
20,194

 
7,604

 
4,603

Total share-based compensation
$
82,292

 
$
36,100

 
$
14,658


Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013

Total Net Revenue

The following table sets forth our total net revenue for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Transaction revenue
$
1,050,445

 
$
707,799

 
$
433,737

 
48
%
 
63
%
Starbucks transaction revenue
142,283

 
123,024

 
114,456

 
16
%
 
7
%
Software and data product revenue
58,013

 
12,046

 

 
382
%
 
NM

Hardware revenue
16,377

 
7,323

 
4,240

 
124
%
 
73
%
Total net revenue
$
1,267,118

 
$
850,192

 
$
552,433

 
49
%
 
54
%
 
Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2015 and 2014

Total net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $416.9 million, or 49%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

Transaction revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $342.6 million, or 48%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. This increase was attributable to growth in GPV processed of $11.9 billion, or 50%, to $35.6 billion from $23.8 billion. Approximately equal proportions of this growth in GPV was derived from the total payment activity of new sellers added within the year ended December 31, 2015 and the increase in the payment activity from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015 of existing sellers that were approved to transact with us on or prior to December 31, 2014. Transaction revenue contributed 83% of total net revenue in both the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014.

Starbucks transaction revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $19.3 million, or 16%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. Starbucks transaction revenue contributed 11% of total net revenue in the year ended December 31, 2015, down from 14% in the year ended December 31, 2014. Under our amended payment processing agreement effective October 1, 2015, Starbucks agreed to pay increased processing rates to us for as long as it continues to process transactions with us. While Starbucks announced that it would transition to another payment processor prior to the expiration of the payment processing agreement in the third quarter of 2016, we continued to process a portion of Starbucks payments, generating transaction revenue at these newly increased rates.

50







Software and data product revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015 increased by $46.0 million, or 382%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase was driven by the launch and expansion of several new products and services in 2014 and 2015, in particular Square Capital, which remained the largest contributor to software and data product revenue. The year ended December 31, 2015 also included a full twelve months of revenue contributions from Caviar, which we acquired in August 2014. Software and data product revenue grew to 5% of total net revenue in the year ended December 31, 2015, up from 1% in the year ended December 31, 2014.

Hardware revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $9.1 million, or 124%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase reflects growth in sales of Square Stand and third-party peripherals, as well as the launch of our Square Reader for EMV chip cards in the second quarter of 2015, and the launch of our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC in the fourth quarter of 2015. Hardware revenue represented 1% of total net revenue in both the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014.


Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2014 and 2013

Total net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $297.8 million, or 54%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013.

Transaction revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $274.1 million, or 63%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. This increase was attributable to growth in GPV processed of $9.0 billion, or 60%, to $23.8 billion from $14.8 billion. A slightly greater proportion of this growth in GPV was derived from the total payment activity of new sellers added within the year ended December 31, 2014, and a slightly smaller proportion was generated by the increase in the payment activity from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014 of existing sellers that were approved to transact with us on or prior to December 31, 2013. Our transaction revenue as a percentage of GPV also improved relative to the prior-year period, most notably as a result of the discontinuation in the first quarter of 2014 of our monthly pricing program, under which we charged sellers $275 for up to $21,000 of payment processing. Transaction revenue contributed 83% of total net revenue in the year ended December 31, 2014, up from 79% in the year ended December 31, 2013.

Starbucks transaction revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $8.6 million, or 7%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. Starbucks transaction revenue contributed 14% of total net revenue in the year ended December 31, 2014, down from 21% in the year ended December 31, 2013.

Software and data product revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased to $12.0 million compared to zero in the year ended December 31, 2013. We launched several new services in 2014, including Square Capital. Software and data product revenue in 2014 also reflected the effect of our acquisition of BookFresh in February 2014 and Caviar in August 2014. Software and data product revenue contributed 1% of total net revenue in 2014.

Hardware revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $3.1 million, or 73%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. The increase was attributable to growth in sales of Square Stand and third-party peripherals. Hardware revenue contributed 1% of total net revenue in 2014.


51






Total Cost of Revenue

The following table sets forth our total cost of revenue for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Transaction costs
$
672,667

 
$
450,858

 
$
277,833

 
49
%
 
62
%
Starbucks transaction costs
165,438

 
150,955

 
139,803

 
10
%
 
8
%
Software and data product costs
22,470

 
2,973

 

 
NM

 
NM

Hardware costs
30,874

 
18,330

 
6,012

 
68
%
 
205
%
Amortization of acquired technology
5,639

 
1,002

 

 
NM

 
NM

Total cost of revenue
$
897,088

 
$
624,118

 
$
423,648

 
44
%
 
47
%

Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2015 and 2014

Total cost of revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $273.0 million, or 44%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

Transaction costs for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $221.8 million, or 49%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. This increase was attributable to growth in GPV processed of $11.9 billion, or 50%, reflecting a decline in transaction costs as a percentage of GPV compared to the prior year period.

Starbucks transaction costs for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $14.5 million, or 10%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. As a result of Starbucks' agreement to pay us increased processing rates effective October 1, 2015, growth in Starbucks revenue outpaced growth in Starbucks transaction costs in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Software and data product costs for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $19.5 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase primarily reflects increased costs associated with Caviar, which we acquired in August 2014. To a lesser extent we also incurred increased costs related to the growth in our gift cards product, as well as increased amortization costs related to the development of certain software and data products.

Hardware costs for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $12.5 million, or 68%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase was attributable to increased sales of Square Stand and third-party peripherals, as well as the launch of our Square Reader for EMV chip cards in the second quarter of 2015, and the launch of our Square Reader for EMV chip cards and NFC in the fourth quarter of 2015. Hardware costs associated with the production of Square Stand exceed the revenue we derive from sales of Square Stand. For the year ended December 31, 2015, hardware costs grew more slowly than hardware revenue as a result of increased sales of third-party peripherals and the introduction of Square Readers for EMV chip cards and NFC.

Amortization of technology assets for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $4.6 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. The increase was related to new technology assets obtained through acquisitions that occurred in 2014 and 2015.

Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2014 and 2013

Total cost of revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $200.5 million, or 47%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013.

Transaction costs for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $173.0 million, or 62%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. This increase was attributable to growth in GPV processed of $9.0 billion, or 60%. Our transaction costs as a percentage of transaction revenue declined from 2013 to 2014, primarily as a result of the discontinuation in the first quarter of 2014 of our monthly pricing program, under which we charged sellers $275 for up to $21,000 of payment processing.


52






Starbucks transaction costs for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $11.2 million, or 8%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013.

Software and data product costs for the year ended December 31, 2014, were $3.0 million compared to zero in the year ended December 31, 2013. Software and data product costs primarily reflect costs associated with Caviar, and costs associated with the introduction of our Square Appointments service following our acquisition of BookFresh in February 2014.

Hardware costs for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $12.3 million, or 205%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. The increase was attributable to increased sales of Square Stand and third-party peripherals.

Amortization of technology assets for the year ended December 31, 2014, was $1.0 million compared to zero in the year ended December 31, 2013. The increase was related to new technology assets obtained through acquisitions that occurred in 2014, most notably our acquisition of Caviar.

Product Development

The following table sets forth our product development expenses for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Product development
$
199,638

 
$
144,637

 
$
82,864

 
38
%
 
75
%
Percentage of total net revenue
16
%
 
17
%
 
15
%
 

 


Product development expenses for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $55.0 million, or 38%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, primarily due to the addition of personnel in our engineering, product and design teams, including those who joined as a result of acquisitions. For the year ended December 31, 2015, product development expenses included $54.7 million in share-based compensation expense, a $30.0 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2015, product development expenses also included $11.3 million of depreciation expense, a $0.5 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, primarily related to data center and computer equipment, and internally developed software.

Product development expenses for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $61.8 million, or 75%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. Product development personnel increased by 33% in the period from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014, reflecting personnel additions in our engineering, product and design teams. For the year ended December 31, 2014, product development expenses included $24.8 million in share-based compensation expense, a $15.9 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. For the year ended December 31, 2014, product development expenses included $10.8 million of depreciation expense, a $6.7 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, primarily related to data center and computer equipment, and internally developed software.

Sales and Marketing

The following table sets forth our sales and marketing expenses for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Sales and marketing
$
145,618

 
$
112,577

 
$
64,162

 
29
%
 
75
%
Percentage of total net revenue
11
%
 
13
%
 
12
%
 

 


Sales and marketing expenses for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $33.0 million, or 29%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, reflecting an increase of $13.2 million in advertising costs primarily from increased direct mail, online and mobile marketing campaigns during the period, and an $18.0 million increase in costs associated with our Square Cash peer-to-peer payments service. The balance of the increase was primarily due to investments in sales and marketing personnel during the period from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015, offset in part by lower costs associated with

53






distributing Square Readers for magnetic stripe cards. For the year ended December 31, 2015, sales and marketing expenses included $7.4 million in share-based compensation expense, a $3.6 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

Sales and marketing expenses for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $48.4 million, or 75%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, primarily due to an increase in sales and marketing personnel of 191% in the period, as well as increased advertising costs of $17.8 million in the period as we executed a series of direct response TV, email, direct mail, and online marketing campaigns focused on bringing new sellers onto our platform and driving awareness of new product and service offerings. For the year ended December 31, 2014, sales and marketing expenses included $3.7 million in share-based compensation expense, a $2.5 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2013.

General and Administrative

The following table sets forth our general and administrative expenses for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
General and administrative
$
143,466

 
$
94,220

 
$
68,942

 
52
%
 
37
%
Percentage of total net revenue
11
%
 
11
%
 
12
%
 

 


General and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $49.2 million, or 52%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, primarily reflecting additions to our customer support, risk operations, legal, compliance, and finance teams. The balance of the increase was primarily due to increased third-party legal, finance, consulting and certain software license expenses. For the year ended December 31, 2015, general and administrative expenses included $20.2 million in share-based compensation expense, a $12.6 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

General and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $25.3 million, or 37%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. General and administrative personnel increased by 65% in the period from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014. We also incurred increased third-party legal, finance, tax, consulting and software license expenses during the period. For the year ended December 31, 2014, general and administrative expenses included $7.6 million in share-based compensation expense, a $3.0 million increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2013.

Transaction and Advance Losses

The following table sets forth our transaction and advance losses for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Transaction and advance losses
$
54,009

 
$
24,081

 
$
15,329

 
124
%
 
57
%

Transaction and advance losses for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $29.9 million, or 124%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014. During 2015 we realized a net charge of approximately $4.4 million related to a fraud loss from a single seller, and recorded a separate increase in our transaction loss provision of $4.1 million in September 2015 to reflect updates to our risk model. The remaining increase in transaction and advance losses is due to growth in GPV of $11.9 billion, or 50%, as well as $3.8 million in incremental provisions for advance losses related to Square Capital.

Transaction and advance losses for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $8.8 million, or 57%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, primarily reflecting growth in GPV of $9.0 billion, or 60%, as well as $2.4 million in provisions for advance losses related to Square Capital, which launched in May 2014.

54






Amortization of Acquired Customer Assets

The following table sets forth our amortization of acquired customer assets for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Amortization of acquired customer assets
$
1,757

 
$
1,050

 
$

 
67
%
 
NM

Amortization of acquired customer assets for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $0.7 million, or 67%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, primarily reflecting the first full year of amortization related to our acquisition of Caviar in August 2014.

Amortization of acquired customer assets for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $1.1 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, as a result of acquisitions that occurred in 2014.

Interest and Other Income and Expense

The following table sets forth our other income and expense for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Interest (income) and expense
$
1,163

 
$
1,058

 
$
(12
)
 
10
 %
 
NM
Other (income) and expense
$
450

 
$
1,104

 
$
(950
)
 
(59
)%
 
NM

Interest income and expense for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $0.1 million, or 10%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, driven primarily by the interest expense related to the draw on our revolving credit facility in June 2014, which was repaid in July 2015. As of December 31, 2015, no amounts were outstanding under our revolving credit facility.

Interest income and expense for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $1.1 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2013 primarily as a result of the interest incurred on amounts drawn down on our revolving credit facility. Prior to 2014, interest income and expense was minimal as we had no revolving credit facility.

Other income and expense for the year ended December 31, 2015, decreased by $0.7 million, or 59%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, as a result of a benefit from a remeasurement of our share-based instruments in 2015 with no similar occurrences in 2014, offset in part by foreign exchange rate losses.

Other income and expense for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $2.1 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, as a result of a benefit from a remeasurement of our warrant liability in 2013 with no similar occurrences in 2014, and the effect of foreign exchange rate losses.

Provision for Income Taxes

The following table sets forth our provision for income taxes for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Provision for income taxes
$
3,746

 
$
1,440

 
$
513

 
160
%
 
181
%
    

55






Provision for income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2015, increased by $2.3 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, primarily due to a decrease in income tax benefit arising from acquisitions.

Provision for income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2014, increased by $0.9 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, primarily due to an increase in income tax expense in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions, partially offset by an increase in income tax benefit arising from acquisitions.

Deemed Dividend on Series E Preferred Stock
The following table sets forth our deemed dividend on Series E preferred stock for the periods shown:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014 to 2015
 
2013 to 2014
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
 
% Change
 
(in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Deemed dividend on Series E preferred stock
$
(32,200
)
 
$

 
$

 
NM
 
NM

For the year ended December 31, 2015, we issued 10,299,696 shares of our common stock to certain holders of Series E preferred stock, in the form of a deemed stock dividend of $32.2 million. There were no similar occurrences in any other period presented.

56






Quarterly Results of Operations
The following tables set forth selected unaudited quarterly statements of operations data for the last eight quarters. The information for each of these quarters has been prepared on the same basis as the audited annual financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and, in the opinion of management, includes all adjustments, which consist only of normal recurring adjustments, necessary for the fair presentation of the results of operations for these periods. This data should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. These quarterly operating results are not necessarily indicative of the results we may achieve in future periods.

 
Three Months Ended,
 
Dec. 31,
2015
 
Sep. 30,
2015
 
Jun. 30,
2015
 
Mar. 31,
2015
 
Dec. 31,
2014
 
Sep. 30,
2014
 
Jun. 30,
2014
 
Mar. 31,
2014
 
(in thousands, except per share data)
 
(unaudited)
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction revenue
$
298,516

 
$
280,955

 
$
259,864

 
$
211,110

 
$
206,331

 
$
191,560

 
$
172,894

 
$
137,014

Starbucks transaction revenue
47,084

 
32,332

 
33,630

 
29,237

 
36,516

 
29,895

 
30,147

 
26,466

Software and data product revenue
22,385

 
14,694

 
12,928

 
8,006

 
6,024

 
3,733

 
1,766

 
523

Hardware revenue
6,375

 
4,207

 
3,591

 
2,204

 
2,023

 
2,232

 
1,989

 
1,079

Total net revenue
374,360

 
332,188

 
310,013

 
250,557

 
250,894

 
227,420

 
206,796

 
165,082

Cost of revenue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction costs
192,730

 
182,007

 
165,823

 
132,107

 
132,357

 
122,425

 
109,801

 
86,275

Starbucks transaction costs
46,896

 
41,410

 
40,921

 
36,211

 
43,066

 
37,377

 
37,496

 
33,016

Software and data product costs
8,650

 
5,593

 
5,072

 
3,155

 
1,941

 
987

 
31

 
14

Hardware costs
14,238

 
5,726

 
6,713

 
4,197

 
4,803

 
5,162

 
4,924

 
3,441

Amortization of acquired technology
2,753

 
1,142

 
1,142

 
602

 
400

 
330

 
192

 
80

Total cost of revenue
265,267

 
235,878

 
219,671

 
176,272

 
182,567

 
166,281

 
152,444

 
122,826

Gross profit
109,093

 
96,310

 
90,342

 
74,285

 
68,327

 
61,139

 
54,352

 
42,256

Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Product development
59,186

 
55,020

 
45,887

 
39,545

 
39,670

 
39,483

 
34,551

 
30,933

Sales and marketing
38,448

 
39,259

 
31,730

 
36,181

 
30,873

 
25,914

 
29,720

 
26,070

General and administrative
45,723

 
37,820

 
31,804

 
28,119

 
25,635

 
24,514

 
20,669

 
23,402

Transaction and advance losses
13,169

 
16,005

 
8,513

 
16,322

 
6,255

 
6,858

 
4,840

 
6,128

Amortization of acquired customer assets
384

 
423

 
482

 
468

 
459

 
361

 
162

 
68

Total operating expenses
156,910

 
148,527

 
118,416

 
120,635

 
102,892

 
97,130

 
89,942

 
86,601

Operating loss
(47,817
)
 
(52,217
)
 
(28,074
)
 
(46,350
)
 
(34,565
)
 
(35,991
)
 
(35,590
)
 
(44,345
)
Interest (income) and expense
168

 
137

 
444

 
414

 
443

 
433

 
180

 
2

Other (income) and expense
(940
)
 
644

 
(50
)
 
796

 
367

 
957

 
(674
)
 
454

Loss before income tax
(47,045
)
 
(52,998
)
 
(28,468
)
 
(47,560
)
 
(35,375
)
 
(37,381
)
 
(35,096
)
 
(44,801
)
Provision (benefit) for income taxes
1,244

 
932

 
1,152

 
418

 
1,697

 
285

 
268

 
(810
)
Net loss
(48,289
)
 
(53,930
)
 
(29,620
)
 
(47,978
)
 
(37,072
)
 
(37,666
)
 
(35,364
)
 
(43,991
)
Deemed dividend on Series E preferred stock
(32,200
)