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Dwolla hires Brady Harris as new CEO

Dwolla announced today the appointment of Brady Harris as the company’s new CEO.

“As a pioneer of programmable payments, Dwolla has long been on the bleeding edge of the ever-changing payments landscape,” said Harris in a blog post announcing his hire. “With an incredible team, best-in-class platform and groundbreaking vision, Dwolla is positioned to grow dramatically in the coming years. This is an industry disruptive technology.” 

Prior to coming to Dwolla, Harris was President of Payscape in Atlanta, Georgia, a financial technology provider making it easier for business owners to collect money. Harris also spent sixteen years at Eliot Management Group where he served as President for three years.

The announcement comes just one month after the company announced plans to hire a new CEO in February.

“It’s an exciting time to say the least for Dwolla. As a pioneer of programmable payments and a team which has constantly been on the cutting edge, it’s time for us to evolve our platform and our leadership,” said Dwolla founder Ben Milne. “Evolution and progress are a required part of growth even in challenging times.”

Going forward, Milne will continue to support the company in multiple capacities, including as a member of the board. Since founding in 2008, Dwolla has grown to have a $10M+ revenue run rate support and more than $10B a year in gross payment volume.

“Dwolla is built on a powder keg of opportunity that is still largely untapped,” said Milne. “With his extensive background and innumerable successes in the payments industry, Brady is the right person to lead the industry into the next era of programmable payments.” 

Dwolla hires Brady Harris as new CEO | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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