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.
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.
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.”
By the way, we are hiring.