The Credit Card Killers
With an ever-crowded financial tech market and companies like PayPal and Google Wallet elbowing for industry dominance, the race to kill the credit card is heating up. But among the standouts is Iowa-based mobile payment startup Dwolla, thanks to an innovative pricing structure and a growing New York presence helmed by Michael Schonfeld and Alex Taub. Dwolla has raised money from two New York venture capital firms, Union Square Ventures and Thrive Capital. (Josh Kushner, a Thrive principal, is also part-owner of Observer Media Group.)
Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square, recently tried to disabuse the tech industry of its infatuation with the word ‘disruption.’ “We don’t want ‘disruption,’ where we just move things around. We want a direction. We want a purpose,” he said on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, humbly suggesting the biannual conference change its name. But it’s more than just semantics. The tech sector’s claim to produce world-changing products and services often gets drowned out in a chorus of me-too companies solving problems no one ever complained about. The umpteenth nightlife-recommendations tool or empty real-time dating app can obscure the whirr of a nascent robotics sector in Manhattan or a futuristic, even revolutionary, experiment in manufacturing in Queens.
Million Dwolla Baby
Dang, looks like we missed a couple prime candidate from our spring Poachables list.
Alex Taub, head of business development and partnerships at Aviary–and a familiar face to anyone in the New York startup scene–just announced that he will be starting a new post in a similar role at Dwolla, the online payments company that has investors swooning for its ability to reduce costly credit card interchange fees. After much speculation, Dwolla finally announced a $5 million round in February led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from Thrive Capital* and Marc Ecko of Artists & Instigators.
The fact that Mr. Taub will be setting up a Dwolla outpost right here in New York City should settle any feathers ruffled over Silicon Prairie poaching etiquette.