Jim McKelvey might be best known for co-founding Square, the mobile payment system, but his entrepreneurial spirit goes beyond inventing new technology. A 1987 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, McKelvey is also a master glass artist and author, having written the world’s most widely read text on the subject, The Art of Fire.
McKelvey co-founded Square in 2009 with Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, to enable small businesses to run their storefronts on a mobile device. Square has since grown to more than 2500 employees and a $25 billion valuation. In 2014, the company expanded its scope into the food-delivery market by acquiring Caviar; those moves landed McKelvey on Inc. Magazine’s “15 Entrepreneurs to Watch.”
During the keynote, Jim will discuss founding successful companies in an array of industries. Each of his businesses is founded upon a simple idea. Referencing personal experiences and local challenges, McKelvey offers a fresh, Silicon Valley-approach to problem-solving.
McKelvey’s other endeavors include LaunchCode, a non-profit creating a pathway for people seeking careers in technology, Third Degree Glass Factory, one of the nation’s main centers for glassblowing arts, and Mira Digital Publishing, an early digital technology startup, where Jack Dorsey interned before launching his own tech career and founding Twitter.
In addition to teaching at his alma mater, McKelvey authored three textbooks. In 2017, McKelvey was appointed as an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve.