Dwolla Inc. said Monday it has hired Brady Harris to be its new chief executive, replacing founder Ben Milne. Harris comes to the Des Moines, Iowa-based payments provider from Payscape, an Atlanta-based merchant processor. Milne, who indicated this winter he wanted to step down as CEO, will stay with Dwolla in “multiple capacities,” the company says, adding he will continue as a member of the board.
Harris is a payments-industry veteran, having served as an executive with Eliot Management Group, an independent sales organization, for 16 years, including three and a half years as president. In 2017, he joined Payscape as president.
Milne, who co-founded Dwolla in 2008, has built the company into a key provider of digital payments. In recent years, he shifted the company’s emphasis from consumer payments to business transfers. The company has enjoyed fast growth, reaching $10 billion in annualized processing volume, a figure it says is now growing at an annual rate of 100%. In the fourth quarter, it brought on more than 1 million new end users, it reported Monday in announcing Harris’s appointment.
“Dwolla is built on a powder keg of opportunity that is still largely untapped,” Milne said in a statement. “With his extensive background and innumerable successes in the payments industry, Brady is the right person to lead the industry into the next era of programmable payments.”
Harris leaves Payscape as the company is adjusting to being part of a much larger merchant-processing entity. Last fall, it was part of a three-way merger that included ISOs Bluepay Canada and Nxgen International. That deal followed only a few months after Payscape and Nxgen had agreed to merge in a $124-million transaction. Days after the Bluepay Canada deal, the newly formed entity acquired a fourth company, Payroc, and said it would adopt the Payroc name.
Now Harris faces the challenge of keeping Dwolla on its high-growth track. “Dwolla has long been on the bleeding edge of the ever-changing payments landscape,” Harris said in a statement. “With an incredible team, best-in-class platform, and groundbreaking vision, Dwolla is positioned to grow dramatically in the coming years. This is an industry disruptive technology.”