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Home Run in 2020

By Curt Nelson, President & CEO, EDC, Inc.
In my 17 years leading EDC and working with Iowa entrepreneurs, I’m often asked about “home runs” I have witnessed. When the pandemic hit in early spring, the thought that one of the largest home runs would come in 2020 was certainly not on my mind. Yet, last week, Pear Deck, an Iowa City ed-tech company, announced its merger with GoGuardian. The founders did so in their typical humble fashion—without a lot of fanfare. But, this merger is a HUGE accomplishment—not because it happened in the midst of a pandemic, but because the Pear Deck team had the vision and put in the work to make the product and company an educational necessity. They stayed true to its mission to engage every student, every day and somehow increased operational support to add over 400,000 new users in less than three months when schools were forced to go online and were scrambling to teach remotely.

As 2020 comes to an end, the Pear Deck team will have increased market penetration over 3X last year, expanding as needed to be a bright spot in a dark time for educators. This growth and product strength put them on the radar of other companies and investors in the education space. The opportunity to merge with another company with similar values to take Pear Deck to yet another level globally, is the result of the hard work by all.

This growth and merger is the very activity we want to see and support here in Iowa. The growth means jobs and salaries deployed right here in our state. The merger means significant wealth creation and the kind of local reinvestment that improves our communities and paves the way for similar opportunities in the future. To put this transaction in perspective – seed stage investors saw returns as high as 25X – that means a $50,000 investment made seven years ago returned $1.25 million to that investor. There were many millions of dollars invested so the return to Iowa was significant and is something to be celebrated.

The team at EDC has been engaged with Pear Deck at varying levels since the founding of the business and remains engaged today as the business works through the merging of teams. “EDC has been integral to our success and we would certainly not be where we are without their support along the way,” said Co-Founder and CEO Riley Eynon-Lynch.

Join me in congratulating co-founders Michal and Riley Eynon-Lynch, Dan Sweeney and Anthony Showalter for identifying a need and working diligently to provide a product that is transforming education and the entire Pear Deck team for executing exceptionally on that vision and creating such a great win for Iowa.