Square buys payment hardware maker Kili Technology

Kili's payment modules operate with NFC for two-way communications -- a payment method that Square has yet to support.


Square has announced the acquisition of Toronto-based Kili Technology, a maker of software and electronics used for payments processing. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Square's hardware lead Jesse Dorogusker noted the upcoming changes in the payments ecosystem as reasoning behind the purchase.

"The payments landscape is changing faster than ever -- from EMV to NFC -- and we know that major technology shifts often leave small businesses behind," Dorogusker wrote. "That's why we've acquired Kili Technology, a company that has developed silicon, electronics, and software that simplify and optimize payment processing."

Kili's payment modules include secure processors and board designs that pass EMV and PCI certifications. Perhaps more importantly, the modules operate with NFC for two-way communication -- a payment method that Square has yet to support.

Square said last year that it would provide merchants using its platform with EMV-compatible hardware before the migration deadline this October, but the company has not yet released a device that can work with the NFC innards of Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Even the EMV reader has yet to make its debut. The addition of Kili can certainly help speed things up.

According to Kili's website, the company is a divestiture of cloud-based authentication company SecureKey, and counts SecureKey chairman Greg Wolfond as a co-founder and chairman, and Afshin Rezayee as co-CEO.

By buying Kili, Square not only gains essential technical and hardware muscle, but also a stronger foothold as it grows in Canada. The Kili team of about 30 employees will continue to operate at Kili's Toronto headquarters, which will become Square's second office in the country.