Jim McKelvey

Jim McKelvey

Co-Founder of Square, Founder of LaunchCode, Engineer, Entrepreneur, Author, and Renowned Artist

Speaker Categories: | Information Technology Industry | Technology Leader | Business Leader, CEO | Innovation | Disruptive Innovation | Entrepreneurship | Futurist | Author

Travels From: FL, United States.

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Jim McKelvey Bio
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Co-Founder of Square,  Founder of LaunchCode, Engineer,
Entrepreneur, Author, and Renowned Artist

Jim McKelvey is an inventor, entrepreneur, artist, author and licensed pilot. While perhaps best known for co-founding Square, one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups, McKelvey is, in some circles, better known as a master glass artist and author, having written the world’s most widely read text on the subject, The Art Of Fire.


Chances are good you’ve run across a Square device at some point, especially if you’ve recently visited a food truck or similarly mobile small business. The tiny piece of plastic that allows you to swipe credit cards on your smartphone or tablet has been joined by a full iPad docking system, essentially becoming a full cash register (without the cash). The company, co-founded five years ago by Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey — also the co-founder of Twitter — has more than 600 employees and is now valued at $6 billion. This summer, the company announced its intentions to move into the food-delivery market by buying a startup called Caviar. Stay tuned for more. —Inc. Magazine, “15 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015,” December 2014


His most famous venture, Square, is changing payments. His latest venture, LaunchCode, is making it possible for anyone to learn programming and land a full-time job in under six months–for free.


A 1987 Washington University Economics and Computer Science graduate, McKelvey will discuss founding successful companies in payments, education, scientific publishing, construction, printing, glassblowing and software. Each business is founded upon a simple idea and run by people committed to that idea. Jim has never sold any of his companies and as a result now oversees a diverse portfolio of businesses. Referencing personal experiences and local challenges, McKelvey offers a fresh, Silicon Valley-approach to problem solving.

Other Businesses

McKelvey is the founder of Third Degree Glass Factory, one of the nation’s main centers of glassblowing arts. McKelvey also founded Mira Digital Publishing, an early digital technology startup, where he gave a young programmer an internship and a place to hone his tech skills. That programmer, Jack Dorsey, went on to create Twitter and partner again with McKelvey in the development of the Square Payments Platform.


Jim is the author of three textbooks, two on computer programming and one on glassblowing. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis and lectures internationally on art and entrepreneurship.

McKelvey, and his wife, Anna (a programmer and attorney), have a four-year-old son.

Innovation and Creativity - Upcoming Technology Trends

Building a Billion Dollar Business

The LaunchCode - New Ways in Education

Payments, Mobile and the Future of Money

Seeing Around Corners - Location, Mobility and the Future of Retail

Connecting Science and Arts with the Business World

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  • "Jim's presentation was very well received. It was great that he created new material to match SAP's theme for the event. He is definitely a multi-faceted individual and I hope that this event will lead to other projects together. "

  • 2015 Annual Conference. It was an insightful and interesting dialogue. Jim, along with the others in the discussion, have received the highest marks for content and as speakers from our attendees. It was a great session and a highlight of our program. "

    Pension Real Estate Association
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