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events Archive - TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

Archive for the ‘events’ Category

Tableau Conference 2015: why data visualization moves us forward

This blog post comes from one of our team members, Adam Steenhard, Product Owner. 

At Dwolla, we view data as an immense asset in driving both the product direction and the business. Last week I had the opportunity to hear first hand how the visualization and interpretation of this data moves leading companies forward. This educational moment took place at the 8th annual Tableau conference in Las Vegas, hosting over 12,000 data enthusiasts in one amazing venue.


A couple months back, one of my co-workers, Fred Galoso, was accepted to present at the conference. Fred’s talk focused on how Dwolla has leveraged Tableau in conjunction with AWS to deliver efficient and effective event tracking (view his presentation here).

Tableau conference

Entering the auditorium I noticed the technical audience, including representation from Tableau and AWS, was eager to learn more about the solution. The combination of the skilled presentation and engaging Q&A was a testament to our team’s ability to be thought leaders in this space. I am extremely proud of our representation—thanks to Fred and Tom.

Outside of the Dwolla presentation, I was on a quest to learn more about other aspects of data, including:

  • Obtaining answers to a handful of support items
  • Learning about other cultural shifts around data
  • Delivering great data solutions for our customers


Obtaining answers to a handful of support items

The first item was simple, so much so that the Tableau employees addressed all of my support needs by the time the first keynote finished.

Did I come to the conference armed with the questions?—absolutely. The first session, ‘Developers on Stage’, involved developers presenting enhancements either already released or to be delivered in the next version. This session addressed the majority of my issues including blending and filtering woes.

Learning about other cultural shifts towards data

The next plan of action was to learn how organizations become data-driven. The key culture shift is not simple and requires attention, patience, and reinforcement.

Many of our peers at the conference were surprised that about 40-50% of Dwolla employees leverage Tableau on a regular basis. This is an indication that our organization has built effective data analytic solutions and is focused on the right performance metrics.

While we have made considerable progress in the last year, as one of our favorite values reads, “We are never done.” Our team plans to continue with educational opportunities across the company to build a self-serve mentality.

Delivering great data solutions for our customers

The conference structure was amazing to say the least; it was a combination of excellent keynote speakers, Tableau-presented sessions, and customer talks.

The keynotes were inspiring, interesting, and probably the best series of speakers I have witnessed in a single venue. The sessions took this experience to the next level in my understanding of data analytics and interpretation.


In the financial sector, we tend to focus heavily on monetary and transactional data—the cool stuff. Presenters like Facebook explored data visualization focused on team staffing, utilization, and recruiting practices. Not to be outdone, Tableau representatives provided examples of abstract items such as planetary discovery to open our minds to new interpretations of data.

While I will most likely continue to focus on the monetary metrics, the exercises focused on the Kepler Space Telescope left me with five distinct takeaways:

  1. Let the data drive
  2. Exhaust your assumptions
  3. Identify and leverage your outliers
  4. Understand your audience
  5. Make sure to tell your story

The last item was my greatest eye-opener of the conference—tell your story. Too often we build elaborate visuals and assume the audience will interpret and understand it as we do. The best examples from our sessions focused on the story they aimed to tell.

While data is important and tools like Tableau allow you to create stellar graphics, we are each trying to tell a story. If you are in product development it could be as simple as, “Was this project successful?”

Whatever your application, technology, or hobby, make sure to tell the story behind the data and keep it simple. Otherwise you may be leaving you audience confused, rather than informed and having a comprehensive understanding of why data is important. Telling the story allows us to combine two of our greatest assets—our people and data.

A call for submissions, BBVA Open Talent 2015


BBVA Open Talent

Calling any and all fintech startups—BBVA wants to help you transform financial technology together with BBVA Open Talent 2015.

In the seventh year of the competition, BBVA Open Talent is looking for early-stage startups to explore and innovate in the banking and finance sector, and they’re looking for more than your basic tip calculator.

Does your startup support data intelligence? How about improving security or risk analysis? If your next big idea relates, this competition can be an opportunity like none-other.

BBVA Open Talent

Why apply?

BBVA Open Talent takes twenty finalists per region and provides them an opportunity to present to reputable judges, an audience of 250 fintech fanatics, VCs, and other startups the day before Finovate Fall. And while you’re responsible for the costs associated with this portion of the contest, BBVA will provide things like pitch coaching sessions and hands-on workshops. All finalists will spend the day before the competition interacting with key global BBVA executives and decision makers. Even if you don’t walk away a winner, you’ll walk away having gained new experience and insight that can’t be found elsewhere.

Judges then award two winners from each region (6 total) cash prizes and a two-week immersion course where they will spend time with BBVA executives and industry professionals in both London and Mexico.

BBVA inspiration

During the immersion course, winners will spend a week in Mexico gaining first hand experience with the LATAM market and international scaling. This is paired with a week spent in London, spending more time with venture capitalists, embracing the local startup ecosystem.  It’s access to powerful thought leaders like none other.

Rules for qualification:

  • You must be a startup created after April 1, 2011
  • Your startup is focused on or framed around fintech
  • The product or project is operative (at least able to demo or in beta)
  • You don’t exceed the funding and revenue qualifications

Scarlett Sieber BBVA


We had the opportunity to pick the brain of an BBVA Open Talent alum turned BBVA team member, Scarlett Sieber:

“My startup had applied for a lot of competitions and were finalists in a few, but no other group took as much personal interest in their finalists as BBVA. I had the opportunity to have dinner with key BBVA Executives and other global industry professionals that I would have never met otherwise.”

While BBVA may center much of their operations on banking, as a whole there’s a clear passion for developing smarter technology impacting finance. And that’s exactly what this call for talent is about—finding new, young, hungry startups ready to transform the world of finance and banking.

BBVA believes in being a true partner, and that means joining their partner companies as early in the life-cycle as possible. BBVA Open Talent 2015 is your opportunity to get in on that partnership, so BBVA can be there to guide you and your team through the challenging, sometimes confusing twists and turns of entering the Fintech industry.

Apply now, and join BBVA Open Talent 2015. Entries must be received by July 13, 2015.

Dwolla elected to Steering Committee as part of Fed Fast Task Force

Fed Faster Payments

In 2013, the Federal Reserve decided to step in and start a 40-year conversation in the making, asking the nation’s experts in payments, business, and banking their thoughts on what a faster payment system could look like. Even consumer groups and tech companies like Google got in the mix. Pretty much everyone agreed: a faster payment system is needed.

Dwolla has had a unique role and voice in this movement. Since releasing FiSync in 2012 we’ve found ourselves center stage in the US faster payments discussion, at least as it relates to how it could be done.

This year we announced the next iteration of FiSync, which is alive and in commerce with BBVA Compass. In partnership, we’re making end-to-end, real-time payments available in the United States, for free. Faster payments is an issue near and dear to our hearts.

On June 15 and 16, Dwolla will join over 350 payment companies, academics, and stakeholders to lay the groundwork for a potentially new $40 trillion payments system for the world’s most powerful economy.

Called the Fed Fast Task Force, we will begin outlining and defining the criteria that any new system will be measured against. The initiative, which is set to close at the end of 2016, will be led by a Task Force-elected Steering Committee. Representing 8 segments of groups (ranging from large financial groups to end-users, businesses to regulators), the Steering Committee will be tasked with guiding, shaping, and informing the creation of a new payment system.

I’m extremely excited to be representing Dwolla as one of these elected individuals on the 18-person steering committee.

We’ve achieved significant milestones and technological achievements over the years based on a few simple ideas:

  • That using the US payment system should be as simple and cost-effective as sending email
  • That greater competition in payments means greater innovation for end-users
  • That real-time isn’t just about speed, but the certainty, transparency, and opportunities it provides
  • That we shouldn’t wait for someone else to do it. We should get involved and make the change a reality.

We’re bringing these beliefs with us to the task force, but we also want to bring you too. Please, email me your thoughts, concerns, ideas. Join the discussion hit me up on Twitter at @jslampe.

The goal is to keep doing what we’ve always done, listening to you.

Jordan Tweet Button


Get Pumped for EntreFEST 2015 + A Sneak Peek of Ben’s Presentation

EntreFEST Feature Image

Get pumped. EntreFEST 2015 is coming in hot.

In the next few days about 500 people will gather in Iowa City to explore listen, engage and learn. Attendees of EntreFEST will dig into hands-on entrepreneurial education sessions, networking opportunities, and listen to some rockstar speakers.

Dwolla has and always will be a big advocate for Midwest entrepreneurship, and EntreFEST is one of those powerful events supercharging this movement. Events like Rise of the Rest and EntreFEST bring innovation and excitement to Iowa’s businesses and communities, sparking new ideas and connecting those in the Heartland.

EntreFEST attendees access a variety of training opportunities and events with four areas of focus—Champions Track, Owners Track, Founders Track and Innovators Track—each track, lending support to guidance and growth.

Not sure how to channel your passion? Join a session that helps turn ideas into sustainable businesses.

Want to be better at your pitch? Try out an improv session to hone your delivery and presence.

Craving some guidance? Set up a one-on-one mentoring session with industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs.

Not often do you get such valuable resources and connection in one place.

Presenting thoughts on leadership, creativity, marketing and change is this year’s headliner Seth Godin, bestselling author of some of our favorite businesses and marketing books (ie. Linchpin). Also joining is John Pappajohn, Iowa business icon and founder of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers.

Things I’ve learned to be inarguably true…

We’re most excited about the presenter kicking off EntreFEST—our very own, Ben Milne. His talk is titled Things I’ve learned to be inarguably true… and he’s given us a small taste of what to expect. Take a look below and think on it.



tumblr_mpn2610ulG1rwk5rgo1_500 (1)

If you can’t make it to EntreFEST, but you want to follow along with Ben’s presentation join him on Twitter at @bpmilne.


5 of our Favorite Demos from Finovate Spring


Dwolla had the opportunity to present at Finovate Spring in San Jose this past week. For those who are unfamiliar, Finovate is the go-to conference for exploring new ideas in banking and financial technology.

Not your typical roadshow, Finovate Conferences use a unique demo format—players in banking tech step on stage for their chance to show off their hard work and latest developments.

Over the past two days, the San Jose conference hosted 71 demos. That’s 71 new ideas, 71 pieces of innovation moving finance forward. A trend paved the way for the conference, accessibility. The demos receiving the highest of accolades came from companies improving the accessibility in different elements of banking and finance—it’s about reducing friction. At the end of the conference, the Dwolla team wanted to give a nod to some standouts.

Money Amigo

Money Amigo Finovate

Not everyone is fortunate enough to see a bank on their street corner and ATMs in their grocery stores. Money Amigo recognized this inaccessibility and was founded on the notion of doing good for those in need of financial services.

With Money Amigo users get an app that’s easy-to-use and highly interactive to help manage their money—it’s “fast, fair and friendly.” Money Amigo empowers people in unique circumstances to take control of their finances through provision of basic banking needs like a debit card, a bank account, bill payment options and direct deposit. Best of all, it’s free.

Why we love it: Money Amigo brings banking services to the underserved, making money management accessible as well as user-friendly.


dealstruck finovate

Starting a new business can be intimidating; the fear factor keeps many away. But for the brave, those who are ready to go out and start a new venture, Dealstruck is there to help with small business loan advice and guidance. In the second day of the conference, Dealstruck presented their unique lending platform.

After a business realizes their need for a loan, they sign up for Dealstruck’s services. Dealstruck takes it from there, seeking a loan quote from credit agencies and doing the backend work to understand and eventually approve the business for financing.Rather than using the one-size fits all approach to lending, Dealstruck focuses on optimizing the loan’s size and timing to help businesses achieve growth.

Why we love it: Empowering businesses owners to make the most of their financial offerings can only spur ideas forward. Dealstruck helps people take control and understand the financial trends in their business, leading to better overall decision making.


DriveWealth finovate

For those looking to explore financial growth, DriveWealth presented their “Brokerage as a Service” platform. They’ve created a user-friendly solution for clients to trade stocks, quickly, and easily.

Using a system of widgets within their software, DriveWealth makes it easy to add and manage U.S. stocks, they take care of the backend complications—trade execution, compliance, clearing, and safety of funds, etc. Working with investments can be confusing, but DriveWealth aims to limit that confusion, provide educational opportunities and make online investing accessible.

Why we love it: Simplifying complicated processes is just plain smart. DriveWealth helps simplify the otherwise intimidating process of investing and managing those investments.

Alpha Payments Cloud

Alpha Payments Cloud Finovate

With the tagline, “Access. Consolidate. Mitigate,” Alpha Payments Cloud demonstrated AlphaHub, its omni-channel solution access platform.

Alpha Payments Cloud’s new tool consolidates your payments and all the moving pieces into one platform, empowering merchants to connect to financial service providers in an easy-to-use, easy-to-grow way—all it takes is a one simple integration with the AlphaHub. What makes AlphaHub really impressive is the breadth of its solution, crossing the bounds of the entire transactional, risk management and commerce solution spectrum.

Why we love it: Alpha Hub bridges the gaps for their users, simplifying payments system management and easing the often complicated process of integrations.


shoeboxed finovate

Shoeboxed started as the go-to for capturing images of your receipts, they wanted to get you organized and clear out that old shoebox full of papers. At Finovate, they demoed new features that take their service even further.

With receipt capture being fairly standard among banking apps, Shoeboxed has expanded into pulling email receipts into online and mobile banking apps for people automatically. This new feature pulls information of an item a person bought from their e-receipt and gathers the data.

Shoeboxed, with their new improvements, will track your important receipts, protect against fraud and turn that massive pile of papers into useful data.

Why we love it: Shoeboxed makes getting and staying organized painless, keeping your business on top of the mess of papers that would otherwise pileup, and with fraud security being of increasing concern, Shoeboxed helps stay ahead of problems.

The developments making financial management and payments more accessible is exciting, and we’re working to do the same thing here at Dwolla—reducing the friction in finances.

To explore these tools more deeply or to learn more about Finovate Spring, check out their blog.

#ThingsWeAreExcitedAbout: Raygun, Mars and Thelma’s together

This past Friday a very good thing happened—three of our favorite Dwolla merchants got together to make one very exceptional destination in Des Moines.

Thelma’s Treats, Mars Coffee Bar and Raygun Shirts are now together under one roof, delighting the masses with quippy t-shirts, sweet treats and caffeine. They say you can never have too much of a good thing, and in this case it’s 100% true.

We’re not the only one’s excited about the new trifecta:

We also asked Dereck, from Thelma’s Treats what was most exciting for them:

…the location and the other businesses we teamed up with.  We are new to retail, our old kitchen had a small area you could step in and buy something but now we have a real store, so it was great to team up with experienced retailers to know what to expect.

The location and the building are really perfect for our brand.  You can stop in, watch us make cookies and see them coming out of the oven.  The whole time we can interact with customers.

Here are some of our pro tips for when you go to visit their new location on 505 East Grand:

Raygun is perfect for a new t-shirt or koozie. Get gifts here for the people in your life who have a sense of humor.

Raygun New Location

Order a drip coffee or a Sputnik at Mars Coffee Bar, both of which are phenomenal. We like to bring their handcrafted coffee into the Dwolla office every once in a while.

Mars Coffee Bar

Thelma’s Treats is your go-to for fresh cookies served warm right out of the oven.  If you’re looking for a cool treat on a hot day, indulge in an ice cream sandwich—with ice cream smushed between two of their mouth-watering homemade cookies. Our favorite involves vanilla ice cream and snickerdoodles.

Thelma's New Location

Plasma, Drones, and Nerf Guns, Dwolla @ HackIllinois 2015

Last Friday, several Dwollans traveled to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for HackIllinois 2015. Nearly one thousand students from across the country gathered for a 36 hour hackathon, building incredible projects with either software, hardware, or both to see who could blow minds with their technological finesse.

The competition kicked off at 10:00 PM Friday with high spirits and high energy—partially fueled by Red Bull—and ended at 10:00 AM Sunday morning. Hacking paused briefly only for sleep, tech talks, and epic Nerf battles hosted by the organizers.


Teams varied in their approach to the competition. Some dove into unexplored territory, trying out hardware provided by sponsors, such as the Oculus Rift, Pebble, or Myo, a gesture control armband.

Others were primed and ready to start a project that had been at the back of their mind for months. A few teams still hadn’t settled on a hack, but like any successful startup, ideas were born from brainstorming, creativity, and collaboration.

Oculus Rift at Hackillinois

Mentors from companies like Dwolla, GoDaddy, and Factual not only provided the technologies used by the students, but also stood nearby eager and ready to lend advice.


In addition to competing for overall top ten, we sponsored a prize for the best Dwolla integration, and posed a hashing challenge where students were asked to produce the lowest sha-512 hash.

Screenshot 2015-03-05 15.33.10

The submissions were amazing. For the hackers at HackIllinois, dreaming laid the blueprints to build amazing products.

Our absolute favorite hack used a Myo armband to send money via Dwolla by doing the “make it rain” gesture. Rad!

Here are some of our favorites:

Check out all the submissions at http://hackillinois2015s.challengepost.com/submissions



How #RiseoftheRest Celebrates Midwest Entrepreneurship


One bus. Five stops. Dozens of pitches. The Rise of the Rest tour hit the road this past week, and Steve Case invested $100,000 in five startups along the way. That’s right—he gave five startups a second chance, another employee, an office, or their go-to-market money.

Downtown Des Moines was the third stop; in the morning the crew traveled to multiple offices and visited with Des Moines entrepreneurs and their employees. The Science Center of Iowa played host to a Fireside Chat with panelists including Case, CEO and Founder of Dwolla Ben Milne, and Engine’s Julie Samuels, moderated by The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons. The chat was followed by a pitch competition where local startups presented their ideas to win the highly anticipated $100,000 investment.

Rise of the Rest.jpg

The pitch competition was won by a good friend of Dwolla’s: Bawte. Bawte was founded in Des Moines by John Jackovin to help customers and retail manufacturers by instantly notifying them if a product has been recalled.

At Dwolla saying yes to a tour like Rise of the Rest was simple. Why? We love our community, we love to hear about Des Moines’s growth, and we want to sound off that ‘it is possible.’ A day surrounded by other individuals who share our affinity for building and shipping is our perfect party.

What was said:

1: There are no geographic monopolies on problems or ideas

We’ll let Steve Case explain…

“The whole idea of the #RiseofRest tour is to shine a light on the important startup activity that’s happening in great cities not known as startup hubs.”

At Dwolla, we believe Des Moines is a great place to build your next idea. A frequent theme of yesterday’s Fireside Chat is that our hometown truly offers the right kind of network to learn and grow as a startup—there’s a sort of heartbeat here.

With the interconnectedness you find today, there’s no need to be in the Valley or Alley to start something meaningful.

2: A powerful ecosystem is building

As good as Des Moines is for startups, startups are equally good for Des Moines and the Midwest as a whole.

New, innovative ideas can dramatically change the future business landscape, and as a startup gains traction, they provide new jobs (Did you know we’re hiring?).

3: Events foster community

Furthering the awesomeness, The Rise of the Rest Tour comes as a perfect kick-off to #DSMTechWeek, celebrating all things Central Iowa Tech. This week of meetups and discussions will then lead us into the I/OWA Conference, another exciting technology centered event, on October 16th and 17th.

What can you do?

  • Attend the I/OWA Conference to learn more about the Central Iowa tech environment

  • Show your support for STEM Education by voting for state representatives whose ideals are alignment on these topics

  • Get educated on what startups and small businesses are doing locally

Steve Case is giving Iowa $100,000. Who wants it? #riseoftherest

Dear Iowan Upstarts,


That’s runway money. That’s go to market money. That’s an office. That’s an employee. That’s infrastructure costs. That’s a start.

In case you didn’t hear me: that’s wun-hun-dred thow-sand doll-ers (or “one hundred thousand dollars” for the phonetically challenged).

That’s how much money Steve Case, founder of AOL and revolution, is going to invest in a company while at the Science Center of Iowa on October 8th in Des Moines.



Real-quick, in case this has sunk in yet: on October 8th an Iowa company will walk away with $100,000, an unparalleled level of connectivity to East and West Coast connectors, and one of the country’s most influential tech leaders (and non-traditional tech hub advocates) as an investor.

Just announced BONUS: Winner’s of each city’s pitch competition will get a free pass to SXSW and its prestigious pitch competition in March (worth another cool $250,000).

The highlight of the 5-day Rise of the Rest Bus Tour, each city will feature  a pitch competition. Each city gets one winner and each winner gets $100,000.

Here are the rules…

  • Only companies that already have teams, product in market and customers/revenues should apply.

  • Qualifying companies must be headquartered a reasonable driving distance away from the cities they are visiting… no fly in’s please.

Companies will be judged according to the following criteria…

Bold Idea: Does the idea “swing for the fences” and have the potential to change the world – and, if successful, perhaps become a billion-dollar business?

Jobs: Will the idea, if it scales, employ a large number of people?

Team: Does the team have the skills and leadership to move forward on this idea?

Execution: Is there strong customer growth or revenue?

Business Model: Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic and sustainable?

Local: Is this idea building on the core strengths (and unique differentiators) of the region – and, if selected, will this startup potentially excite national investors and media to pay more attention to what’s happening in the region?


The Rise of the Rest, Des Moines Tech Week, and the I/OWA Conference

The competition is only part of day long celebration. Steve and other startup leaders will host new guests, startup fairs, fireside chats, startup tours, all over Des Moines. There will also be a party to celebrate local startups at 5:00pm at the Des Moines Social Club. All to set the tone for TechWeek Des Moines starting the following day. And, as we all know, Tech Week leads into I/OWA Conference the 16-17th.

Did I mention Google for Entrepreneurs is giving away free tools to entrepreneurs and that SXSW is sponsoring too?

Not in Des Moines? Don’t worry. The Rise of the Rest Road Tour is coming to 5 cities this fall. Each winner of the city’s one-day pitch competition (5 in total) will each receive a $100,000 investment from Steve Case.

Madison, WI – October, 6

Minneapolis, MN – October 7

Des Moines, IA – October 8

Kansas City, MO – October 9

St. Louis, MO – October 10


Dwolla @ Empire Startups FinTech API Panel

Posted in API, Blog, events, featured, fintech, Startups, Tech on September 18th, 2014


A couple Wednesdays back, we were invited to speak on the NY FinTech Startups panel hosted by Latham & Watkins to discuss all things API.  A special thank you to Derek Webster for moderating the discussion and thanks also to Empire Startups for organizing the event!

Joined by Christine Loredo (Yodlee), Sunil Madhu (Socure), Stephane Dubois (Xignite) and Melissa Stevens (Citigroup), we had an insightful conversation about our various API strategies and best practices.

There was a lot of great insight provided; to give you a feel for what was covered that evening, check out a recap of the night on Twitter below.

Lenore Kantor also wrote up a superb recap of the discussion – check it out!

©2018 TransSwipe


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