Taking a break after a decade of building Clover
December 21, 2020
After 10 years of building Clover, it’s time to take a break! I’m planning to spend time with family and work on hobby projects I’ve been thinking about for a very long time (subscribe to follow along).
Thank you to all the businesses, employees, app partners, and channel partners who have entrusted Clover. While never perfect, we’ve done our best to earn your trust and serve your needs.
A decade ago, we saw that the technology needs of small brick-and-mortar businesses weren’t being met, and innovation in shops seemed stagnant (especially in the smartphone age). There were many expensive, difficult to manage, difficult to secure on-premise solutions. There were no solutions with both an open API and sufficient scale to enable innovation. This is what we set out to solve.
Fast forward 10 years: Clover is now the largest SMB commerce platform in North America and is growing rapidly internationally. Clover processes over $133B annualized in gross processing volume — over 2.5B transactions/year across 400M unique cards. There are over 500 apps in the App Market serving many needs from payroll, employee management, credit management, online ordering, sales tax remittance, insurance, loyalty, marketing, and many more. Dozens of software developers have embedded Clover payments in their products.
I’m incredibly proud of what the Clover team has built, and thankful to all our colleagues across Fiserv who have worked hard to commercialize, sell, and support Clover products through an incredible number and variety of channels across the globe.
A very special thank you to my co-founder, Leonard Speiser. Our unique skill sets, approaches, and perspectives working together is what made Clover’s scale and impact possible. Left to my own devices, I’d have probably built a beautiful airplane that ran out of fuel shortly after takeoff. Thank you, Leonard. I’ll take those lessons forward in future ventures.
Founding engineers and designers have a very special place in Silicon Valley. They take the biggest risks in the earliest phase before there’s a product or a proven market. Advice is frequently given to not join at this time – wait until there’s a bit of traction but before the Series B is raised! So founding employees deserve a lot of credit. Mark Schulze, Annie Lausier, Jacques Grove, Michael Quinlan, and Carl Haywood: thank you for your faith in us, belief in Clover’s mission, and your tireless building.
Also, a special thanks to our first investors, Mike Speiser and Jim White at Sutter Hill Ventures, for believing in and supporting us in the early days. I’d also like to thank Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen at A16Z and our many angels for participating in our Series A. Finally, thank you to the team at KKR — Dean Nelson, Vini Letteri, Sarah Dickens, Anne Arlinghaus — for driving the First Data acquisition and the subsequent commercialization. This was private equity at its best.
A huge thanks also to Guy Chiarrello and Frank Bisignano, who have promoted Clover every step of the way at First Data (now Fiserv). New creations are fragile, and Guy provided the protected context necessary to let the Clover organization grow unimpeded, while Frank provided the leadership, financing, and distribution to get Clover out to the world. And after the merger with Fiserv, with Frank leading the combined company, Devin McGranahan has helped take Clover to the next level with his leadership of the merchant division.
Finally, my wife Han deserves enormous thanks and gratitude for supporting me and our family over the past decade. When we met, I was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures and she was finishing her PhD in Cell Biology at UCSF. She thought my job sounded rather made up and was counting her savings and stipends to see how long she could support us both. She put up with the long hours (and non-existent paternity leaves for our 3 children) required to build and scale something great. Han: It’s been an incredible decade of change and growth with you. Thank you for being my and our family’s rock!
Now, I’m very pleased that Jeff Dickerson, former CEO of DaySmart Software, is carrying the torch as the new head of Clover. Congrats, Jeff!