At Dwolla, Inclusion Fuels Innovation.
At Monetery, Innovation Funds Inclusion.
At the end of day 1 of the 2019 Monetery conference, hundreds of founders, inventors and dreamers, filled to the brim with invaluable insight, were treated to one last significant announcement. A day that began with captains of industry and continued with thought leaders, revolutionaries and world changers, was going to conclude with a gesture—small compared to some—but significant as a reminder of what the two-year-old conference is about and what it could become.
As we started planning for Monetery this year there was never a doubt that we would continue leveraging this event as a funding engine for underrepresented groups in technology. Monetery allows Dwolla employees to live our values and give back to our community. And with great pride we were able to continue the tradition this year.
After a full day of panels, presentations and conversations, we were beyond thrilled to make a $10,000 contribution to Pi515, an after-school program educating Iowa’s underserved population—mainly central Iowa refugee students in junior high and high school—on basic computer programming skills, financial literacy and college preparation.
And of course it wouldn’t be a tech conference, without a “But wait—there’s more” moment.
Yes, there was more.
In addition to Pi515, we are incredibly honored to make a $10,000 contribution to Iowa Safe Schools, ensuring they are able to provide safe, supportive and nurturing learning environments and communities for Iowa’s LGBTQ and allied youth. Students deserve a safe and supportive school and community, including those students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or are questioning their identity.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships.
So we brought the sea to Des Moines. One of our goals with Monetery is to foster relationships that otherwise wouldn’t happen. With day 2 of Monetery, we did exactly that. And that included 17 venture firms, 39 start ups and 106 one-on-one meetings that took place in the Dwolla office. We believe in creating value in the Midwest and are thrilled at the opportunity to bring others with us on the journey to growing the Midwest tech ecosystem.
So many thanks to venture firms that participated:
- Chicago Ventures
- Costanoa Ventures
- Detroit Venture Partners
- Drive Capital
- Dundee Venture Capital
- Firebrand Ventures
- Flyover Capital
- Great North Labs
- High Alpha
- Insight Partners
- Manchester Story
- Network Ventures
- Next Level Ventures
- Open Air Equity Partners
- Outlier Ventures
- Prairie Crest Capital
- Royal Street Ventures
What We Learned
We’re better when we work together. At Dwolla, we believe that the best teams are built by the inclusion of diverse ideas, experiences and people.
This isn’t something we just started recognizing in 2019—it has been a core belief of Dwolla’s since our inception. And when other thought leaders from outside of our ecosystem highlight the importance of diverse teams, sometimes it carries more weight. Here are a few key highlights from each of our speakers:
“Organizations that draw from the broadest pool of talent win,” says Matthew Prince, CEO and Co-Founder of Cloudflare.
“If you look at your team and the team looks just like you, the company that is competing with you with the team that looks like the world is going to win,” says Harper Reed, the former CTO of the Obama Presidential Campaign in 2012 and a former leader on the software development team at PayPal. “We’ve seen that over and over again.”
“It’s not a mistake as long as there is learning.” Martina Lauchengco, Partner at Costanoa Ventures
“The smartest founders are those that actively seek out help and mentoring,” says Lindsay Knight, Director of Platform at Chicago Ventures. “If Tony Soprano is ok with therapy and personal development, founders should be too.”
“A true measure of success is that you are working on something that you truly care about.” Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures
“A business is a community.” Sherri Davidoff, CEO at LMG Security
“Not everything is going to work, and that’s okay. It’s a really easy thing to say that. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do that.” – Dave Tucker, Workiva
Bring together representatives from each part of the community with the intent to expose them to world class leaders in semi-structured conversations and interesting things will happen.
A Special Thank You
Our initial Monetery in 2018 was more of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as we gauged what type of responses we would receive from our community. After realizing the need for this type of event, our goal with Monetery in 2019 was to provide more actionable advice, create more connections and still support underrepresented groups in technology.
And thanks to our group of sponsors, we were able to 10x Monetery in 2019. We could not have done this without the help from:
- Amazon Web Services
- Bow & Arrow
- Brown Winick
- Delta Dental
- Google for Startups
- Greater Des Moines Partnership
- Grinnell College
- Grinnell Mutual
- Next Level Ventures
- Technology Association of Iowa
At Dwolla, we believe that the best teams are built by the inclusion of diverse ideas, experiences and people. We believe in linking our words with action, so we’re committing to the creation of a company policy that explicitly supports the gender expression of all employees—specifically including those that are transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming and those that decide to transition in the workplace.
And we’re asking for help from our community.
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Transition Forward Project, which has two key objectives:
- Create a collection of resources to help companies write policies that are inclusive of transgender employees.
- Raise awareness within the community about why these policies are important.
We ask for you to join us as we collaborate together and build this resource for our community.