Please Welcome Andreessen Horowitz to the Family

Dwolla is an internet payment network. 

We believe in this incredibly simple thing — people, businesses, governments, non-profits, and developers should be able to exchange money without paying a percentage to big brand payments companies, and no one should have to wait any longer than absolutely necessary to get access to the money they’ve worked hard to earn.

Dwolla values

Building and distributing an Internet-based payment network takes time, money, and luck — but mostly, a lot of really smart people and great customers. The investors in Dwolla’s last round helped us find our stride and new customers.

Last year was big for us. Our Iowa office flourished from 12 to 30 minds — 42 total across Des Moines, New York, Kansas City, and Omaha. Our transaction run rate has grown to exceed $1B annually, and we have expanded to serve more than 250,000 account holders nationwide.

This all started in Des Moines, and we have again found a partner who supports that. The prairie birthed us and gave us introductions to the world. Our first interviews and customers were all found here.

We’ve completed a round of funding

Dwolla is going to double our workforce in Iowa and New York, build a pipeline through this country with an expansion to San Francisco, and we’re going to do it with the help of a $16.5 MM round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), and supported by Union Square Ventures, Village Ventures, and Thrive Capital. I could not be more excited.

 

Andreessen Horowitz and Dwolla

As I said at our first Silicon Prairie News talk, and I’ll probably say at our next one, I don’t believe there is an “us or a them.” This isn’t Biggie vs. Tupac. I only believe in a greater opportunity that connects the Midwest, East and West coasts and shares the assets and talents needed to build something that has never existed.

Our first investors were our friends and banking partners. We learned to build a better network and products. In this round, we would like to think our new partners at a16z aren’t afraid to scale— because they know it well.

Why Dwolla chose Andreessen Horowitz:

  • They are a little crazy and aren’t afraid. These are the “foot slammed on the gas pedal driving a prototype flying tank” kind of people we have been looking for.
  • I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience with each one of the partners.
  • I thought Scott Weiss hated me until I realized he was just waiting for me to shut up and ask a question. When they put in a term sheet, I e-mailed a mutual friend and his response was, “He has my highest recommendation.”
  • Marc Andreessen and I were born in the same town. Mozilla was the first browser I used, and when I sat down with him for the first time, he told me the story of their beginning in Illinois. Something there made sense to me.
  • When I showed Jeff Jordan FiSync, there was a “holy shit” moment. That made me happier than I can describe.
  • John O’Farrel passed on the last round, reasoning, “We can’t get there in that amount of time.” I have appreciated his honesty ever since and he’s stayed in the loop. Patience is an incredibly admirable trait.
  • Chris Dixon had a very odd moment with me one night listening to my puppy bark like crazy while I was running my mouth. He just sort of dealt with it instead of getting pissed. Again, patience.

What you can expect

  • Charise, Dwolla’s COO, is going to oversee our new office in San Francisco along with a few new hires.
  • Product, marketing, and business development are the initial focuses.
  • Dwolla’s offices will house a bigger team all around.

There’s a great deal of work to be done. In the U.S. alone, we have +$600T in payments to capture and a global footprint to build. One billion dollars is a drop in a very big bucket. This is a step along the way.

There is no party after this. There is much work to be done, and we look forward to doing it. As my friend Jeff says constantly, “#onward.”

On a personal note. A big thanks to AshtonNait, and Matt for the push on this one.

By the way, we are hiring.

DWOLLA-taco-job-opening

  • http://9cloudsinc.com/ MrScottMeyer

    Way to go Dwolla! Keep rocking it!

  • http://twitter.com/dannyaway Danny Schreiber

    “By the way, we are hiring.” :) Congrats, Ben and team.

  • bradbach

    w.o.w. nice job guys! Pedal to the metal is right…

  • timrpeterson

    congratulations!

  • Roberto Martins

    Congrats !

  • DwollaFTW

    One thing I would hope for is that Dwolla is not roped into the status quo of plundering the economies of the world by getting greedy and parasitizing transactions with greedy fees to match Visa and MC and their ilk or agree to split the spoils. Think of it, you could slash their throats as they rightfully deserve for extorting the world for so long. Show no mercy and don’t be co-opted.

    You have a target on your back. It’s big, and it’s a valuable bounty as you know. People will rush to you if there is no sketchiness.

    • Pat

      Bye bye PayPal…..
      Hello and welcome
      Dwolla!!!

  • http://twitter.com/ivanyuen Ivan Yuen

    Congrats to the awesome team!

  • David Edwards

    congratulations! look forward to you disrupting incumbents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.montuori Craig Montuori

    Congrats! A-H is gold :)

  • Ken Lazzaro

    Congrats guys! Keep up the hard work.

  • http://twitter.com/BIGMIKEYNYC Mikey

    Looks like a great idea long overdue in putting it to work.

    Here are some constructive observances meant to help you succeed.
    From a business perspective, the biggest worry is not being slammed with illegitimate chargebacks [worry more about retaining the principal than just saving on fees]. I feel there’s still a lacking in inspiring and assuring confidence for weary business owners. I for instance, would not be ready to make the jump based on what you’re showing, including the fine print.

    If you can put to rest, or even better, disrupt the old ways of socking it to the businesses when it comes to chargebacks [i.e., by aggressively investigating, scaring off and quickly throwing out abusive users/consumers] then I think you’ll have your way paved to real lasting success.

    Good luck,
    budding founder of still in the pregnancy stage of Couponly.co

  • http://twitter.com/dianemseal Diane M Seal

    Dwolla is the leading the way!

  • Mario Fuchs

    Looking forward to Dwolla going global. You’ve got customers waiting!

  • Bill

    I just saw a Western Union ad on Pandora: “Send up to $50 for only $5!” If Dwolla gets big, it will do a tremendous amount of good, especially for low-income, vulnerable consumers.

    • CaityJones

      Thanks for sharing, Bill – our mission is to be able to help people receive more of their own money, and we know that internationally this could be huge for a lot of people.

  • http://twitter.com/xirian Christopher M Wilson

    Any chance this will help get FISync rolled out to more banks? I haven’t been able to find any supporting it (That I qualify to use anyways)

    • CaityJones

      Building out FiSync is definitely a huge thing in our future.

  • http://twitter.com/Crlssctt Carlos Scott

    Congratualations!

  • joehark

    PLEASE create an online directory of banks and businesses that participate in Dwolla. We support you. Your support of us can only help you.

    • CaityJones

      Thanks for the feedback – duly noted and shared with the team! I know that I’d use it everyday.

  • Bryan Springmeyer

    congrats!

  • Anric

    love it – pedal to the metal

  • https://twitter.com/dpinsen Dave Pinsen

    Congrats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ssanni Sulaiman Su Sanni

    Congrats yall! Go Dwolla!

  • Armando Cerrillo

    Great work! I cant wait to utilize your network for our project at http://www.capofchange.org. bravo!

  • Gary Smith

    Congrats!! I opened the first Dwolla merchant account in Jackson, MS metro. How can I help? I’m a home inspector merchant. Keep up the good work!

    • CaityJones

      Awesome, thanks for the great work, Gary! Keep spreading the word, and make sure to share your referral link (refer.dwolla.com) so that you and your referral receive $10 in free transaction fees!

  • Julia S. Butler

    Congratulations on getting a veteran team to believe in your vision. Dwolla is a great idea, and I wish you total success. We need an alternative to the monster also called the U.S. banking system, BAD!

  • bvdonjuan

    Awesome. Ben is in my CEO Hall of Fame (ok, it’s closet sized, not exactly a hall). Reminds me of my old boss, Jerry Putnam of Archipelago. Look him up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jissis Jeff Issis

    I am so glad that eCardExchange.com uses Dwolla. Love you guys, keep up the good work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/abc.cards Rick Berry