Middle Bit: Dwolla announces Monetery; EntreFest announces keynote speaker

Des Moines-based fintech company Dwolla announced Monetery, an event focused on building companies and value in the Midwest.

From 3-6 p.m. on March 20 at the Des Moines Social Club, Monetery will feature three-panel discussions that lead from taking an idea from concept to creation.

“Our vision is to create an event that really connects people who believe in creating value in the Midwest,” Dwolla Head of Marketing Stephanie Atkin said. “Iowa has done so much to help Dwolla, we thought how could we give the Midwest and Iowa a chance to connect with some of these thought leaders.”

The panelists are:

  • Brad Feld – Foundry Group
  • Martina Lauchengco – Costanoa Ventures + Silicon Valley Product Group
  • Molly McCartin – Drive Capital
  • Lesa Mitchell – Tech Stars
  • Chris Moody – Foundry Group
  • Jonathon Triest – Ludlow Ventures
  • Albert Wenger – Union Square Ventures

“And that’s where our panelists are going to provide some great insight,” Atkin said. “Because they’ve actually done it.”

The panels will be led by moderators:

  • Lynn Hicks – Des Moines Register Opinion/Engagement Editor
  • Danny Schreiber – Founding Editor of Silicon Prairie News/Zapier
  • Debi Durham – Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority

In a blog post Friday, Ben Milne—founder of Dwolla—said the structure of Montetery is to discuss company and community creation through idea, seed, fundraising, IPO and after.

Milne said the reason Dwolla focused so heavily on investors is that it’s clear that the midwest has some really meaningful divides between Seed to IPO support.

“Our vision for Monetery, is to create an event that connects people who believe in creating value in the Midwest,” Milne writes. “As various midwest ecosystems are getting built, we are excited to hear from people who have built strong ecosystems in their city in the past or are currently doing so.”

Brian Waller, the President of the Technology Association of Iowa will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Tickets are currently on sale with all of the proceeds going to Pi515, a technology-focused nonprofit organization in Des Moines.

Atkin said they’ve already raised $1,900.

“When we think how are we giving back, this was just one way,” she said. “It’s been overwhelmingly heartwarming to see how many people have purchased tickets. We are thrilled.”

EntreFest announces its keynote speaker

Scott Belsky, Adobe’s Chief Product Officer, was announced as the 2018 keynote speaker for EntreFest on Wednesday.

Belsky founded Behance and served as its CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. He is a Venture Partner with Benchmark and an early investor in Pinterest, Uber, sweetgreen and Periscope.

EntreFEST is a two-day conference on May 17-18 in Cedar Rapids

To view the complete 2018 EntreFest lineup, click here.

What else happened…


FourKites, a Chicago-based provider of a predictive supply chain platform raised $35 million in Series B funding – The Wall Street Journal

Braviant Holdings, a Chicago-based fintech startup that uses advanced analytics and proprietary technology to make smarter lending decisions, raised $5m in common equity funding – FinSMEs


Adore Your Walls brings an artistic eye to the Des Moines tech scene – SPN


Pizzey ingredients investing $3.2 million – TCBmag.com


Capital Innovators announces 2018 accelerator class – SPN

These are the best cities for women in tech – Fast Company


2018 Big Omaha just got bigger – Mahamusic Festival 


Drive Capital Chris Olsen sees the Midwest as the frontier of innovation – VentureBeat