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Area Seed Fund Investment Supports Launch of New Cedar Rapids Technology Business

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—DECEMBER 3, 2013—EDC, Inc., a not-for-profit Iowa business accelerator, announced today that Iowa Seed Fund II LLC (ISF II) has made a $150,000 investment in iCONNECT, the leading digital marketplace for onDemand video-based interpretation services. The Company will employ that investment along with additional investment funds, including a $250,000 Propel loan awarded through the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund, to complete technology integration of its call center and video conferencing platform and establish its headquarters in a 23,000 square foot facility at 3117 First Ave, SE in Cedar Rapids, IA.

ISF II is a Qualified Community Seed Fund as defined by House File 2271 and is designed to fill a gap in early stage funding and to make capital investments in Iowa’s interstate commerce, high-impact companies. iCONNECT is an active client of EDC where the company receives ongoing strategic support with regard to its growth plan.

Fund manager and EDC’s President and CEO, Curt Nelson, said that the recent ISF II investment is an important component of the Creative Corridor’s support for local entrepreneurs. “When entrepreneurs need early-stage capital to start or scale their businesses, funds like the Iowa Seed Fund II LLC are critical. Such investments will help iCONNECT at a point in time that is pivotal to the company’s initial market penetration. Ultimately, investments like these will serve to boost our area’s economic vitality by creating companies that grow into significant economic engines, creating quality jobs and generating wealth for community reinvestment.”  

This new business was a lead generated by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. The Economic Alliance also assisted iCONNECT by making connections with the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College.
Dee Baird, President & CEO of the Economic Alliance, said this is another example of the two organizations working together on a project that will be a tremendous addition to the Creative Corridor.

“Because of our strong relationship with the EDC we were able to engage multiple partners in this process which showed iCONNECT how this region works together to achieve success,” Baird said. “We look forward to working with iCONNECT as they become established in the community.”

iCONNECT offers cutting edge technology and a growing interpreter pool that will provide real-time, interactive, video-based interpreters from anywhere in the world at any time. iCONNECT bridges barriers between people of any language and any location, including those with limited English or other native language proficiency. iCONNECT’s proprietary software combined with any webcam and microphone is transforming the way people communicate globally.

“Globalization and immigration are having a profound impact on our communities today. We have developed a real-time, cost effective communication solution and we are excited to build that business in Cedar Rapids. The services of EDC and the Economic Alliance are great examples of the resources and opportunities available to businesses in the Corridor,” said Tom Kielty, Founder, President & CEO of iCONNECT. “Further, the recent investment from Iowa Seed Fund II, coupled with the support we received from EDC and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, is allowing iCONNECT to put its best foot forward as we grow our business.”

iCONNECT was founded in 2012 and, in January 2013, acquired Cedar Rapids-based URrelay, Inc., a technology platform company that served the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2006. iCONNECT now supports all languages bringing cutting edge technology and video remote interpreting to hospitals, law enforcement, corporations and educational institutions, i.e. anyone who needs to communicate with people of different languages wherever and whenever they need to. For more information, visit www.getconnectivity.com.

About EDC, Inc.
The Entrepreneurial Development Center (EDC, Inc.) was incorporated in 2003 as a community-sponsored, non-profit business accelerator. The company provides economic growth through the development and expansion of entrepreneurial enterprises and has successfully assisted nearly 600 Iowa-headquartered businesses. Its focus is on creating local wealth for area re-investment by assisting in the creation and growth of regional, national, and international businesses. For more information, visit www.edcinc.org.

About the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
The Economic Alliance combines the economic and community development efforts of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Cedar Rapids Downtown District and Priority One. The new organization began Jan. 1, 2012. For more information, visit www.cedarrapids.org.