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Dwolla co-founder Shane Neuerburg ‘handing over the keys’

Shane Neuerburg (left) and Ben Milne, co-founders with no formal experience in the finance industry, founded Dwolla in 2008 and together grew it to process more than $1 million per day.

Update 2:25 p.m. – We spoke with Dwolla about this news. See bottom of post.

In a personal blog post on Friday, Dwolla technical co-founder and CTO Shane Neuerburg announced that he is no longer working for the Des Moines-based online cash transfer startup.

“It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride over the last (almost) 4 years,” Neuerburg wrote. “What started as a project in my town home basement in the night time hours after my full time job, turned into a force that consumed my every waking hour. I went from being the lone developer, to having a technical team of 4 working on the project with me.”

As for why he’s “handing over the keys” – the title of his blog post – Neuerburg wrote that the culture of Dwolla is best suited for someone who’s located in the company’s Des Moines office. Since Dwolla’s inception, co-founder and CEO Ben Milne has worked out of an office in Iowa while Neuerburg has worked out his home in northern Minnesota.

“As much as Dwolla is like a second child to me, moving to Iowa and away from my family is not the right decision for our family,” Neuerburg wrote in Friday’s post. In an email interview today, Neuerburg said that his departure, which took place on February 1, was not related to any business decision inside Dwolla and that he’ll remain an owner of the company.

He concluded his blog post by saying that he’s extremely proud of founding Dwolla and that he’s looking forward to a future visit to Des Moines, “the community that made Dwolla what it is.” He expanded on this point in our interview:

As I mentioned in my blog post, working on Dwolla was a great experience. The people on the team are awesome. Karrie (Zeman) and Brandon (Weber) are very talented engineers and are the foundation of the company. I’ll definitely miss the team and the excitement of the start-up scene in Des Moines. As I work on BreadVault and other projects, I hold the Des Moines start-up scene up as an example of what I’d like the Fargo/Moorhead area to become over the next few years. The community rallies around each other and celebrates each other’s successes together. I’m extremely thankful for Des Moines’ support of Dwolla over the last few years.

Neuerburg also wrote in his post that he’s kept his startup passion alive and in addition to working on a couple of his own projects he’ll be helping to launch BreadVault, a Fargo, N.D.-based startup – not surprising – in the financial space.

In a personal blog post in November, Neuerburg shared his role in the founding of Dwolla in the summer of 2008, just months after he graduated from college.

Three years ago a friend of mine (Ben Milne) approached me with a simple question: would I want to help him solve his $55k/year problem? He was paying interchange fees that he’d rather keep, rightfully so. So we spent a few months going over what the ideal solution would be whenever we chatted.

Once we knew the general direction we were going, Ben took charge over the business, legal and PR side, and I was tasked with making a system capable of moving millions, or billions, of dollars in my spare time.

Read the full post

We’ve reached out to Dwolla for more information around this news (see below), including who will replace Neuerburg as CTO. This news comes nearly two months after Dwolla closed its Series B round, and more than three months after it rolled out its anticipated feature, Dwolla Instant, at an event which Neuerburg attended.

For more on Neuerburg’s departure and his former role in Dwolla, check out his personal blog posts:

Update 2:25 p.m.

We conducted a brief email interview today with Dwolla director of communications Jordan Lampe about Friday’s news.

Silicon Prairie News: Does Neuerburg have any official role with Dwolla going forward?

Jordan Lampe: Other than remaining a close friend, no, I don’t believe so.

SPN: Was Neuerburg’s departure related to any business decision inside Dwolla?

JL: No.

SPN: Neuerburg writes that he’ll be “handing the keys over.” Who will be taking his position as CTO?

JL: At least at time, we have no immediate plans to hire or replace someone as a CTO. I think this was more of a metaphorical comment about the transition.

SPN: Looking back, how will Neuerburg’s contributions be summarized by Dwolla?

JL: Early on, Shane and Ben created this audacious and relentless culture that said, “This will work, just keep building.” It’s no surprise that when they went to assemble a team, Dwolla attracted only the people that said, “This will work, just keep building.” It was part of their DNA, and now it’s a part of every product, idea, or innovation we put out there. Shane’s work at Dwolla is as well-documented as it is impressive, but, to me, helping set the bar that ensured the future success of Dwolla will be his lasting fingerprint on Dwolla.


Credits: Photo from Dwolla on Facebook, by Anna Jones | Art of Photography.

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