Most people in tune with the startup community have heard of Ben Milne and his payment startup Dwolla. Milne founded Dwolla in Des Moines and has no plans to take it elsewhere.
Dwolla is making a name for itself by providing a payment system that isn’t dependant on a traditional banking system or credit card backing. It’s this innovative approach to payments and the fact that they’re based in Des Moines that attracted actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher and his A-list venture fund to Dwolla’s latest Series B round (announced in February).
Although announced in February Kutcher wasn’t formally announced as an investor until earlier today at Startup City Des Moines.
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Kutcher of course brings his celebrity stayes and his 10 million Twitter followers to the table but Milne was admittedly skeptical at first.
“Ashton as an investor is brilliant,” Milne said in a special edition of PrairieCast taped today. ‘”And it took me awhile to actually understand that, because I didn’t know anything about (him).”
Milne found out first hand what we keep hearing about Kutcher and Travis the fact that he is a big product guy. In this story we heard how Kutcher would spend hours reviewing the products he has invested in and regularly sends lengthy notes and recommendations to the founders he works with.
“It’s really similar to being an actor in that when you take on a character you’re taking on somebody else, and so you think about how they do things or why they do things,” Kutcher Said. “And I look at a product the same way I would break down down a character I was going to play and try to get inside the mind of that person, the user, the consumer.”
Before Kutcher invested in Dwolla Milne sought out the advice of Zaarly CEO Bo Fishback. Kutcher is an investor in Fishback service which is billed as a “reverse Craigslist”.
Kutcher was born and raised in Iowa which of course is a big plus for Milne and Dwolla.
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