Square Cofounder Tristan O’Tierney, Who Created The Company’s First iPhone App, Dies At Age 35
Square co-founder, Tristan O’Tierney, the engineer credited with developing the payment company’s first iPhone app, died in a Florida hospital on Feb. 23. He was 35.
O’Tierney had been seeking treatment at an Ocala rehabilitation center. The official cause of death has not been released. His mother, Pamela Tierney, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I do know that it was in relation to his addiction.”
Jack Dorsey recruited O’Tierney in 2009, illustrating for him his vision for Square via a series of napkin sketches on how a smartphone credit card app might work, which were later displayed in Square’s San Francisco offices. Dorsey and O’Tierney, along with Jim McKelvey, launched the company that year.
O’Tierney departed Square in 2013. “In another life, I helped start a company called Square to let regular folks accept credit cards just like the big boys,” O’Tierney wrote on his personal website.
Square, which offers a suite of mobile payment, merchant services and payroll tools, reported $464 million revenue for the fourth quarter in February, a 64% rise year over year.
“Tristan was part of Square’s founding story and we are deeply saddened by his passing. Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” Square said in a statement.
O’Tierney was an engineer at Yahoo, Apple and VMware prior to joining Square. Originally from Adak, Alaska, O’Tierney moved to Syracuse, New York before attending Rochester Institute of Technology where he received a degree in computer science.
After leaving Square, O’Tierney turned to photography as a creative outlet, capturing the landscapes across Bangkok, Liverpool and Amsterdam. “I am forever searching for the next technique to master, or for the next bit of inspiration to internalize and bring forth in my own work,” O’Tierney wrote on his website.
In 2017, O’Tierney shared his struggle with addiction in a tweet and again in a deleted Instagram post from 2018. “As some of you may know, I’ve been battling with addiction for these past few years. With some success. A lot of failure too though.”
O’Tierney is survived by his daughter Rumi Ari, his girlfriend Anjela Ramos, his parents and his half-sister, Terri Lynn Cloud. A memorial is scheduled for Sunday at Brookside Funeral home in Houston with a separate service planned in San Francisco.