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SPN interviews Ben Milne of Dwolla

November 2, 2009 by

One Des Moines startup that recently burst onto the scene is Dwolla, a web-based technology for transferring money from one user to the next. Ben Milne, Dwolla’s founder, was a speaker at the recent Highlight Midwest event and graciously gave me a few minutes of his time to talk about his new venture.

Dwolla is a technology oriented towards transferring cash, rather than credit like most systems available today. This allows Ben to keep costs low and pass that savings on to Dwolla’s users. According to Ben, “a lot of transfer systems are based on essentially credit cards that have quite a bit of fees associated with them. Dwolla is exceptionally low cost – maximum of 25 cents per transaction”.

Ben came up with the idea when working in e-commerce with a prior business. “We could really start to see the amount of money we were losing to our credit card fees…that number was big enough that it was a nice motivator to get started on [this] project.”

Dwolla is currently released in private beta, where Ben and his team are working with select users to tweak and finalize the system for its initial launch on December 1. This first release will be limited to users in Iowa and will expand organically, as interest is generated in other locales.

Ben, who is relocating to Des Moines to launch Dwolla, strategically chose this city specifically for its accessibility, “[Des Moines] has all the resources we need…it’s giving us everything we need and then some.” His team is among the first tenants at the new Foundry Coworking facility in the Western Gateway neighborhood of Des Moines.

Check out the video below to hear more from Ben on why he chose Des Moines, his plans for the growth of the business and how you can help get the word out about Dwolla.

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