Y Combinator-Backed Cube Goes Deeper Than Your Standard iPad Register


With innovations like Square’s iPad register, small businesses and retailers face a slew of options for how to manage in-store sales without having to pay thousand of dollars for older point-of-sale terminals.

But many of these newer offerings don’t do the tracking that many small retailers need after the transaction happens.

That’s where a new Y Combinator and Start Fund-backed startup called Cube comes in. Calling itself the “Salesforce for point-of-sale,” it provides a suite of analytics that lets small business owners track their workers and manage their inventory and multiple business locations.

First, it offers a basic credit card terminal that you can plug into your iPhone or iPad’s audio jack (like Square) and a free point-of-sale app.

This does sound like Square, but co-founder Joel Christner say the company is focused on a different target market.

“Those companies are really innovating on what I would call the very low-end. They started off as a replacement for a traditional credit card terminal, and on the other side of the market, with an iPad cash register,” he said.

“Then on the high-end, there’s Micros and NCR, which everyone would agree are pretty stodgy. The challenge they have is that it’s very difficult for them to do anything that disrupts or cannibalizes their value chain.”

These traditional point-of-sale systems can cost a few thousand dollars and they involve older, clunkier PC-era software.

Christner said Cube is aimed at a middle demographic — the artisan store or coffee shop.

The product is free to start using. You just download the app from the store, register your business, get a credit card reader and start going. Cube charges 2.5 percent per swipe (compared to Square’s and Intuit’s 2.75 percent per swipe) for a single location. They can also work out special enterprise plans, which could work out to a monthly fee or a percentage per transaction.

Beyond the credit card reader and point-of-sale app, Cube offers a back office suite of software that produces payment and labor reports that show how much of each item a business has sold and how much it has made off each transaction. They’ll eventually offer deeper analytics, beyond tracking sales.

Cube’s software can also connect to printers and the cash drawer for printing payment receipts and orders for the kitchen.

We’ve seen a number of closely related competitors emerge over the past year including Revel’s iPad point-of-sale system and Square’s iPad Register. PayPal recently partnered with POS giant NCR to incorporate its payments into different NCR products like its Mobile Pay application and Online Ordering.