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Square is on a hiring bender, but it’s not satisfied with making individual strategic hires like its courtship of Facebook ad-guru Gokul Rajaram this summer. It’s scooping up whole companies for their talent. Last week it was imaging startup Viewfinder, and today it’s bill-splitting app developer Evenly.
Rajaram, Square’s new head of product engineering, announced the acquisition in Square’s blog, saying the Evenly team would work on Square’s seller initiatives:
Evenly’s app made it easy for anyone to send or collect payments from friends, anywhere, anytime. But more importantly, the team showcased the importance of prioritizing experience over the technical aspects of the product itself. In their own words, “Life is about sharing experiences, not splitting transactions.”
Evenly is one of the new wave of peer-to-peer payments apps challenging PayPal(s eBay) on the mobile phone. Competitor Venmo has already been scooped up by Braintree, which in turn was bought PayPal. It allows users to send requests for payments. Evenly app allows users to split bills and payments between a group, creating a kind of community around collaborative transactions.
On its Website, Evenly said it would shut down its service in early 2014, giving customers time to withdraw funds from their accounts, so Square definitely is interested in Evenly’s app. Viewfinder is shutting down as well.
It’s interesting, though, that Rajaram mentioned Evenly would join Square’s seller team, since the company’s work seems much more closely related to Square’s newest product Cash. The peer-to-peer payments service uses email to transfer funds between bank accounts. That’s the exact kind of seamless experience that Square is lauding Evenly for.