The buy versus build conversation is changing.

Partnerships have entered the chat.

With global fintech markets valued above $550 billion in 2020, innovation is not in short supply. As innovative fintechs enter and expand within various markets, their product roadmaps and go-to market strategies take on additional layers of sophistication. Senior leadership teams are determining where to dedicate engineering resources and vetting potential vendors.

We suggest partnering with another innovative fintech.

At Dwolla, we value partnerships and collaboration as a way to provide end users with a seamless payments experience. With so many players in fintech specializing in specific use cases, building your own solutions can be a costly exercise. Partnering with the right company can complement and enhance your own product.

That’s where a fintech partnership enters the picture. We believe partnerships benefit B2B merchants, independent software vendors and ultimately, consumers. Fintech partnerships create opportunities for community banks to meet the needs of their communities to improve operational efficiency and the customer experience.

To understand the different types of fintech partnerships, we spoke with Dwolla’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Geoff Smith.

Describe the fintech and payments industry, specifically the strategy behind fintech partnerships?

GS: Collaborating with other fintechs allows you to move faster. On a quicker, larger scale, the right types of fintech partnerships create opportunities to meet the demands of our joint end users. That could be quicker onboarding with identity or account verification, fraud tools or account-to-account payments.

I think Ben Milne (the founder of Dwolla) has used the phrase “infinite sum game” to describe partnerships in the past and I subscribe to that pretty firmly. The benefit of any partnership is built with the end user, the client, and both partners in mind. With the right fintech experience, end users can view their entire financial playbook from knowing where their money is and how much they have, all the way to spending it on their favorite new sweatshirt. Oftentimes you need multiple solutions to access all of that information for the end user. Partnerships can power that experience.

What makes an effective fintech partnership?

GS: In my experience, good fintech partners come in all shapes and sizes. I value working with software companies competing with traditional services, along with the really innovative fintechs looking to get ahead of the curve. Our account-to-account payment solution is really attractive for both of those personas.

And the benefit to end users and shared clients when I speak with partners and potential partners. An effective partnership is built on the added value that the client can bring to their end users by using both solutions.

Who are Dwolla’s partners?

GS: We have several partners listed on our website. I would highlight Astra and MX. Both of these companies are innovative fintechs using Dwolla’s technology in very different ways. I’d recommend reading the Astra case study and a press release about our partnership with MX for more information.

I would also highlight the Plaid and Dwolla partnership, which has been a long term solution for clients looking for an easy way to access their financial data and follow that up with a sophisticated, account-to-account payment solution.

Who can partner with Dwolla?

GS: Who can partner with us? That’s a complicated question. The short answer is any company that (a) has clients that could benefit from Dwolla’s payment solution or (b) believes that their solution would complement Dwolla’s solution. A partnership should benefit shared clients and end users.

We really have two types of partnerships at Dwolla. Your company can be a reseller of Dwolla’s technology. This means embedding Dwolla’s account-to-account payment solutions into your own technology and selling it. We’d each earn revenue.

The other is a referral partnership. The Dwolla sales team would refer qualified opportunities to your sales team and vice versa. For every closed deal, we’d exchange a referral fee. 

I want to talk about a partnership. Who do I contact or where can I connect with someone from your team?

GS: We are looking to connect with partners in person! There are so many different ways to bundle Dwolla’s solution to optimize a payments strategy. Having those one-on-one conversations is something you just can’t replicate virtually. Our attendance at events will vary but we are eager to meet in person. If that means coming to you or you coming to us, we will arrange it! Send an email to to start a conversation! 


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