SunDown RunDown pitch pays off for Braintree's InfoGPS

September 11, 2014
by Candace Harrell,

A nearly $200,000 investment is something many entrepreneurs dream of. That dream became reality for entrepreneurs Rick Iler and Paul Hugenberg III thanks to a SunDown RunDown pitch. Iler and Hugenberg founded InfoGPS Networks LLC, which was featured in Richland Source's “Eye on Entrepreneurs” series as well as in SunDown RunDown coverage. It was at that same SunDown RunDown event that Pat Lauber took note of the company – a notice that eventually brought InfoGPS $190,000. “InfoGPS caught my attention because they address the growing data security problem from a different angle,” said Lauber. “Others seem to concentrate on controlling access to data and focus on external parties. InfoGPS looks at data security from the perspective of tracking who, whether internal or external, has accessed sensitive data, and which data.”Lauber shared what he’d learned of InfoGPS with fellow investors, including Jon Elsasser of Impact Angel Fund. “We found out they needed some money before our new Angel Fund would be formed, so we got some of our investors that were going to be in the Angel Fund, plus a few others, and made some personal investments,” said Elsasser.Although this was the largest investment InfoGPS had received, it wasn’t the first, noted Braintree Business Development Center CEO Bob Cohen. InfoGPS, a Braintree tenant, received the Lorain County Community College Foundation Innovation Fund, which serves all of North East Ohio, as well as Braintree’s internal grant, each in the amount of $25,000.Cohen added that investors like to see a track record, and that investments tend to build upon each other. “It’s a little bit like establishing credit, everyone’s hesitant to be the first, but seeing other organizations have invested gives them confidence,” he said.Hugenberg noted that he and Iler were both nervous and excited about the investment. “The investment stage means that others have now put a lot of trust in you--not your company,” he said, adding that the company was not yet mature enough to fend for itself. “It is a very real exercise in finding ways to show you can be trusted, you have the skills to move an idea forward, and you have the ability to communicate in a way that breeds that trust.”The investment is something Hugenberg takes seriously. “I feel a great sense of urgency and accountability to this initial group. Some of them are friends and former peers of mine. If we fail, I have to look them in the eye quite often,” he said.Investors often ask for a seat on a company’s board in exchange for investment monies, said Elsasser. “Certainly with angel fund we always do that, and in this case, particularly, where we were private investors, that was part of our agreement, that we would get two seats on the board,” he said.“This was all because of the SunDown RunDown event,” added Elsasser, noting that the forum’s five minute time limit for pitches helps entrepreneurs present their ideas in a concise manner.Lauber agreed, “The SunDown RunDown format gives you the opportunity to hear a quick synopsis of the business or concept and to ask questions or provide input that may be beneficial to the presenter. It also gives you the chance to interact with some interesting people, presenters and other attendees, and support new business creation in our community.”“This is all tempered by the excitement of being able to move ahead with a dream,” said Hugenberg, noting that InfoGPS is not only ready to launch software, but is also seeking employees. “[The investors’] trust gave me the ability to pursue something I have a passion about.”

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