For creating a payments network that's completely independent of credit and debit cards. Meaning you can walk into a store, see something you like, and, using its app, buy it by instantly transferring cash from your bank account to that store. It's a highly disruptive idea, and a hell of a thing to pull off in a payments world controlled by credit-card companies. And yet, Dwolla's starting to make it happen. The startup has already cut down money transfer wait times; partnered with 7,500 retailers; and linked its API to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It's now processing more than $1 million a week in transactions from 80,000 users and recently closed another $5 million funding round to fuel its growth.

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