It took Ben Milne a year of concentrated focus to raise the first round of funding for his payments startup, Dwolla. The company, which has raised $6.3 million over two rounds and is touted as one of the hottest online transactions firms, might have attracted dollars more easily had it been started in Silicon Valley. Instead, however, it was sitting in Des Moines, Iowa — a push-pin on the prairie, a place where traditionally venture money has seldom travelled.
Eventually, Dwolla scraped together its first million from financial institutions in Iowa. “It was hard as h