News Column

$250,000 State Loan Helps Eyewear Startup Realize Its Vision

June 17, 2014



MADISON, Wis., June 17 -- The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. issued the following news release:

IRISTOCRACY.com, a Madison-based e-commerce eyewear company that enables customers to virtually "try on" glasses, has received a $250,000 loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The low-interest Technology Development Loan will be used to help IRISTOCRACY.com make further technical developments to its website and expand the business, which could result in the creation of up to 30 new jobs.

The company's website is the first in North America to use cutting-edge, 3-D technology in which customers can view frames on their face. Using a webcam, customers can view the frames in a virtual environment and get a "try-on" experience.

Unlike other online eyeglasses companies, IRISTOCRACY.com is a proponent of proper eye examinations and prescriptions. The company sends its customers to their local eye doctors to have their lens prescriptions filled.

Part of the company's business plan calls for the establishment of an Ambassador Program in which the company will offer eye doctors access to its expanded selection of frames. Utilizing the try-on technology in their practice, doctors will be able to show their patients the virtual assortment of frames from IRISTOCRACY.com.

"As a startup based out of Madison, we love to support the state's economy and are so appreciative of receiving equal support from the WEDC," said CEO and co-founder Natasha Vora. "We are working to further grow our business and we look forward to seeing the direction we take with this loan as the eye care industry expands."

"Our Technology Development Loan Program is designed to help promising, innovative Wisconsin companies clear some of the hurdles associated with bringing new products or concepts to market," said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state's lead economic development organization. "In this case, IRISTOCRACY.com hopes to fundamentally change the way eyeglasses are sold in the U.S. We believe this innovative approach is worth supporting."

The global market for eyeglasses is projected to have a revenue of $142 billion by 2020. IRISTOCRACY.com hopes to disrupt the current fast-fashion eyewear trend of selling low-cost optical eyewear and self-fulfilling prescriptions.

About IRISTOCRACY.com

IRISTOCRACY.com is a Midwest-based e-commerce eyewear start-up that features exclusive lines of stylish eyewear and high-quality fashion accessories. IRISTOCRACY.com is the first e-commerce site in the world to provide customers the ability to build a look around their eyewear with unique fashion accessories. The website also features eyewear buying guides, lookbooks and editorial style content for a fresh, relevant feel. As an added highlight, the website utilizes a cutting-edge 3-D try-on tool by Total Immersion that allows shoppers to view frames on their face using augmented reality technology. For more information, please visit www.iristocracy.com or follow @iristocracy on Twitter and Facebook to learn more.

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Source: Targeted News Service


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