Dwolla makes growth look simple. Maybe it is?
By Erika Batey, Community Evangelist
Each day, we highlight one of our startup members on our homepage and blog. Today's featured member has been in the news a lot lately, and their success is exactly our mission here at Startup America - to help startups grow.
The Dwolla team, led by co-founders Ben Milne and Shane Neuerburg, make it look easy. But, it's not (or is it?). It takes a lot of hard work to build a solid product or service, perseverance in the face of adversity, and teamwork. Here's a quick (and very simple) look at how Dwolla made it happen.
Web + Dollar = Dwolla
A Simple Startup Growth Timeline
1. Two guys and a desire to create something new that solves a problem.
2. Two guys start creating stuff.
3. Two guys start doing research, brainstorming, and asking a lot of questions to a lot of people.
4. For less than $1,000, Legalzoom, and some tax return money Dwolla is brought to life.
1. Two guys start looking for more cash. They ask people for money. An Angel gives them some.
2. Two guys need more people. They look for and find more people.
3. New Dwolla team works hard to create a killer product.
4. Lots more work.
5. December 1, 2009 - Dwolla Launches in Iowa with a printed sign and a mission to maximize the value of every electronic financial transaction.
"The idea here is very simple: Make customers happy. Consistently deliver on your promises. Give people what they pay for." - Ben Milne to Silicon Prairie on launch day in 2009
1. Dwolla team keeps working hard and improving their product, so they get even more money (over $1 million by the end of the year)
2. On December 1st, Dwolla launches nationally!
3. A LOT MORE STUFF HAPPENS.
1. The team keeps working, listening to what their customers want, building, launch a lot of cool new features, and guess what... THEY GET MORE MONEY.
2. In June, Dwolla hits $1million a week in transactions.
3. In August, Dwolla Launches “Proxi” For Proximity-Based Mobile Payments
1. In January, founder Ben Milne posts a job opening: Another Ramp – Looking for more team members!
(This is worth a read if/when your startup needs to find quality new hires for your team. And because of this --- Personal skills must include: Must not be an a-hole. Must be a team player.)
2. More work, more product development and delivery, more happy customers, ... more money.
3. In February, they raise $5 million Series B round that includes an investment from Ashton Kutcher.
In short, if you don't have a great product, a dedicated team, and lots of tenacity you will NOT raise $5 million. But, if you want it, go get it!
Images by Anna Jones (click to check her out - her photos rock!)
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