Imagine walking into a professional business meeting and having a young colleague throw real pistols down on the table and say “You gotta be a cowboy to survive”. Tackling the hard things, taking the risks and slaying dragons are how Wade Arnold has gotten to where he is today. Bob Smith can attest to the drive, tenacity and commitment of Wade Arnold.
Wade spent the majority of his youth in Davenport, the third of four very competitive boys. His father, Dr. David Arnold, is a general surgeon who served in Desert Storm. His mom Lana, had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit with her own business making custom children’s clothing.
Having always been a daredevil, Wade broke his femur in third grade which left him in traction for months. This actually proved to be a gift that has most directly led Wade down his current path. Due to his inability to play outside, Wade’s dad gave him an IBM computer, and it wasn’t long before he was a master of its technology and running in a league of coders 2-3 times his age.
After high school, Wade attended Monmouth College where he played soccer. Much to his parent’s surprise, Wade abruptly decided to leave Monmouth to attend UNI where his high school sweetheart was going to school. It was at UNI that he met his best friend, roommate and eventual business partner, Eric Batterson.
At UNI, Wade set his mind to academics, utilizing tools to help him compensate for his unique learning challenges, and cementing his determination for learning and succeeding. It was during this time that Wade and Eric Batterson started a web hosting business giving them the opportunity to live the high life on the hill.
After graduating from UNI, Wade went to the University of Iowa to become one of the youngest MBA students to complete the program. Still not satisfied, Wade continued his education with completion of Banking School to help him have a deeper understanding of his customers and how web-based products could help them be more successful.
Some of his other ventures in the early years included a skate park, TEAM Technologies, authoring a book of web development, and becoming an Adobe Tech Evangelist. Inspired by Wade’s passion, vision for what he wanted to accomplish, and his raw intellect, his banker, Susan Chizek, helped Wade to capitalize his business and in March of 2008, Wade, Darin Beck, Bob Smith and Ken Lockard began a joint venture with T8 Webware. At T8, Wade provided consulting, website design and started to focus more intently on creating solutions for the banking industry.
“What makes Wade so unique is his humility, his teachability and the fact that he’s whip smart,” notes Ken Lockard. In 2011, four days before the Finnovate conference where Wade was set to roll out his mobile banking product, they made a last minute decision and the company changed its corporate name to Banno. Inspired by his son’s imaginary friend, the Banno domain name cost $19,000, an incredible risk and financial commitment for the company at the time.
A part of a new generation of entrepreneurs trying to capitalize on the need for technology in banking, Wade and his partners grew Banno. The company eventually merged with ProfitStars, a division of established core banking company, Jack Henry & Associates and remains the company’s premier financial platform. “Banno and its products are committed to bringing solutions to the little guy and leveling the playing field,” says Darin Beck. Not a bad start for a couple of Iowa coders in the corn field!