Silicon Prairie News

It’s Dwolla’s day on Thursday. What’s next for the hot startup?

Des Moines December 14, 2011 by Danny Schreiber Only 14 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

In August, Dwolla CEO Ben Milne unveiled Dwolla Proxi at a meetup. Photo by Garret Cornelison via Dwolla on Facebook.

If you're a regular reader of SPN and you're in Dwolla Moines … er, Des Moines, on Thursday, it's very likely you'll be headed to the Dwolla Meetup. Dwolla Meetups have traditionally served as platforms for the startup's major releases, and this one is promised not to disappoint.

"On December 15th," Milne titled a Nov. 3 company blog post, "Dwolla will change as we know it."

The changing and celebrating — it's also Dwolla's anniversary – will kick off at 5:30 p.m. at Vaudeville Mews, with the first Dwolla representative taking the stage around 6:30 p.m.

If you can't make it to the meetup, make sure to tune in to Silicon Prairie News – look for a blog post tomorrow – for a live stream of the event. A big thanks in advance to Jon Thompson of DM Evolve for producing the live stream and allowing us to embed it.

In anticipation of what's to come, we've collected five snippets from recent press or the startup's blog posts that may give clues as to what's next for Dwolla, which first rolled out in Iowa in December 2009 and then debuted nationally one year later.

Dwolla clues?

Dwolla Blog (Ben Milne), Nov. 3: "On December 15th, Dwolla will change as we know it."

On Dec 15th, we are doing two things:

  1. Celebrating the growth and our first year in the national marketplace.
  2. Changing our platform. There are major advancements coming to Dwolla. The architecture is going to change on Dec 15th and time will tell if you love us or hate us for the direction we’ve decided to take the company.

We think this is a necessary pivot to concentrate on the greater goal of the company, building a network.

Dwolla is not a feature, it’s a network… And on Dec 15th… Nothing will be more obvious.

Business Insider, Nov. 11: "This 28-Year-Old's Startup Is Moving $350 Million And Wants To Completely Kill Credit Cards"

Ben Milne:

"We've experienced strong early stage validation and have generated revenue that says 'Hey, this thing can work well.' We've got this little fire and now we're trying to figure out how to pour a sh*tload of gas on it, and really make this scale out. The beginning of that is in December and right now we're trying to ensure we have the right partners to really kick that thing off really hard."

"We've got this product coming out in December that solves a whole bunch of really big problems inside of the ACH system, which all banks are connected to, and it does it in a way that's never been done before."

Dwolla Blog (Ben Milne), Dec. 1: "All transactions under $10 are now free. +1 for small business."

How can we do this?

I think this will become apparent come December 15, so we don’t want to spill the beans yet.

Does this have anything to do with December 15?

Bigger things to come.

Digital Transactions News, Dec. 8: "Dwolla Looks to Make Its Mark with ‘Near Real-Time’ ACH Transactions"

Dwolla is keeping the announcement close to its vest, but Milne tells Digital Transactions News it is not related to its ACH project, which is aimed at adding authorization and authentication to the network as it connects to Dwolla, allowing transactions to settle faster. ACH transactions cost mere pennies but typically settle the day after they are originated. "Everybody wants it to be real-time," says Milne, who officially launched Dwolla a year ago after spending several years looking for ways to cut merchants’ payment-acceptance costs.

ReadWriteWeb, Nov. 24: "Like Dwolla, SCVNGR is Building Local Mobile Payments Groundswell With LevelUp"

LevelUp has a certain type of groundswell that other local mobile payments options do not. In that way, LevelUp's closest kindred spirit is more likely to be Dwolla than it is something like Square or Google Wallet. It makes sense that Priebatsch and Dwolla CEO Ben Milne exchange emails on a regular basis, according to Priebatsch. There has been talk of SCVNGR being acquired but it is more likely that the company will eventually make partnerships with other ground-swell mobile payments companies like Dwolla.

So, what's your guess?

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