Youngstown Vindicator: Braintree's InfoGPS in the news

January 9, 2017
by Bruce Walton, Youngstown Vindicator

Poland Seminary High School and Youngstown State University alumnus Paul Hugenberg III loves what the Youngstown area has to offer. Thanks to people believing in him, he now plans to do the same – and believe in Youngstown. Last month, Hugenberg’s company, Info GPS Network Inc., raised its first $1 million in investments after he founded the company three years ago. Info GPS Network Inc. is a software data risk and security company. It first detects and scans the computer networks of client businesses for sensitive or private information, then monitors the data on the client’s devices and networks to keep data safe. Hugenberg first founded Info GPS Networks in Poland and hopes to bring the office, currently based in North Canton, to Youngstown by next year. Brain Tree Business Development Center, a nonprofit regional entrepreneurial assistance organization, has been with Info GPS since the start. It was this organization that accepted Info GPS as a client and arranged for it to receive grants as well as a presentation spot at a Sundown Rundown pitch event in Mansfield. The Sundown Group helps entrepreneurs make connections with investors, mentors and talent to bring their idea to the next step. The event is usually held in a bar, where four teams of entrepreneurs make a pitch no longer than five minutes to an audience of 40 to 60 investors.It all started for Info GPS in February 2014 in a bar called Old Bag of Nails in Mansfield. After making their first-ever pitch, Hugenberg and his team attracted about $185,000, which also led to a number of individual investors, followed by more awards of grants and loans. The first year raising funds yielded about $300,000. “This is all because of, one, an idea that started and two, because of a support network that I had no idea was here before we started,” Hugenberg said.The first $1 million raised in investments doesn’t include the revenue gained through servicing clients over the years. Bob Cohen, CEO of Brain Tree, said his organization works with a lot of information/technology businesses and compares Info GPS’s recent achievement to a basketball player being signed onto the NBA. Out of so many players in high school, only a few get to be college players and even fewer from there go on to the NBA.“The system works and there’s many success stories, but just from a sheer numbers standpoint, it’s a weeding out process,” he said.Hugenberg said he wants to bring his own Sundown Rundown pitch event to Youngstown because of the potential he sees in the city. By reaching out to organizations, investors and institutions already in place in the Youngstown area, he believes the pitch event can be a catalyst of growth for startup businesses that need the same push he did to get off the ground.Starting out, he said the winning money could be $5,000 to $10,000. He hopes to get the first event started later in the summer.“This ability to get an entrepreneur in the room with dollars and connections is the single most important thing for that start up to get, period,” Hugenberg said.

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