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iEmergent at Startup Stories

August 11, 2016

“iEmergent is truly one of the outstanding success stories of the Iowa Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and yet they have remained largely under the radar,” explained Mike Colwell, Executive Director of Square One DSM.  “They have turned an idea into a consulting firm, into a think tank, into a unique product pioneering a strategic toolbox that has been embraced by the mortgage industry.  They have done all this while keeping it in the family and I think that is a Startup Story worth hearing.”

Laird Hedlund Nossuli, CEO, and Bernard Nossuli, COO will join Colwell for the September edition of Startup Stories to share the tale of a vision conceived and brought to life by company founder and Laird’s late father Dennis Hedlund.

“We are so happy to sit down and share with Mike and his guests. Without Mike’s mentorship there wouldn’t have been a success story to tell,” exclaimed Hedlund Nossuli.

A fairly circuitous path led to the creation of iEmergent and its cloud based tool, Mortgage Market Smart. Dennis Hedlund, after many years as an executive in telecommunications and mortgage companies, saw an opportunity to apply the forecasting methods he had developed for large call centers to quantifying future market opportunities for mortgage lenders. Taking the entrepreneurial leap, he left Wells Fargo and began studying decades of data from a wide variety of public and private sources.  He identified unique patterns that would ultimately lead to the development of the iEmergent forecasting model. Over the years, the model was refined and is now able to project future mortgage activity from neighborhood to national levels of geography and for market segments, such as borrower income levels, loan type, and race/ethnicity. This information proved so valuable to the mortgage industry that this small business soon claimed 15 of the 25 largest mortgage businesses as their clients.

Diversifying over the years through product development and service offerings, they have penetrated not only the large national businesses and regional lenders but are now targeting the smaller community institutions with data, products and resources that are tailored to each institution’s size and complexity.

“We are also working hard to improve the way in which banks and lenders work with their community,” Hedlund Nossuli said of their latest initiative to help banks become compliant with new regulations regarding diverse markets and under-served communities.

Laird, along with her sister and mother initially joined her father in his pursuit of growing the company. Although both sisters would step away for a while to continue their educations, circumstances called Laird to take the helm as CEO, with the illness and untimely passing of her father.

“I had to take the reins in a way I was not at all prepared to do,” confesses this Swarthmore graduate in Religion, who also holds a Masters in Social Work. As she reflected on those challenging times, Laird states “you just keep moving forward, staying true to your goals and your visions,” foreshadowing some of the insights she can share with the Startup Stories audience.

She is also prepared to speak of the joys of bootstrapping a business. “We have been self-funded.  Ultimately, through the revenue they have provided, our clients are our investors. It might have been easier just to have fund raised, but now that we have really hit our stride, it’s great not to have any investors to please,” she observes.

Laird’s husband Bernard came on board as COO at the time of her father’s illness, taking his own entrepreneurial leap leaving a position at DuPont, to help the company continue. “While it is something of a double edged sword, being small and nimble has served us well,” he adds, anxious to share the value they have found in augmenting their in-house skills as needed through outsourcing, consulting and contracting.

“I am reminded how much you need a good team that shares a common vision, that wants to be working together.” said Hedlund Nossuli of the success of a quiet company about to become a little more well known.

$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
11:30 a.m.
September 21st 2016

Greater Des Moines Partnership
700 Locust Street, Suite 100

Conference Center (street level)

Contact us at info@squareoneDSM.com for more information.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Square One DSM for details.

About Square One DSM

Square One DSM’s mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization. Learn more at SquareOneDSM.com.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization serving Central Iowa for more than 125 years. Together with 22 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce and 5,800 business members, The Partnership drives economic growth and careers through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration. We foster an environment where residents are empowered to live their passions and shape our community, making Greater Des Moines the best place in the world to build a business and life. For more information, visit DSMpartnership.com.