Sweetwater begins sweet venture

Capital firm plans to build a national alarm company
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Friday, November 1, 2002

STAFFORD, Texas - Venture capital firm Sweetwater Ventures is making inroads in the security industry, recently buying North American Security Alarm, a Dallas company that focuses on high-end residential accounts.

Company officials plan to use the acquisition as a platform for Sweetwater to build a national security company. The purchase price of North American Security Alarm, a company founded in 1989, and the size of the company were not released.

"It's in our primary market area, the Dallas / Fort Worth multiplex," said Sean O'Keefe, who was recently named president and chief operating officer of North American Security. "The customer base is the type of customer we're looking for. It's not zero down, it's the high-end and it gave us a nice starting point."

Over the next 12 months, Don Bresina-Hawkins, chairman of Sweetwater Ventures, based here, expects the company will complete five to 10 other alarm acquisitions.

"We fully intend to open multiple locations," concurred O'Keefe. "Our goal is a company that's national in scope."

Bresina-Hawkins said the company will focus on deals located in and around the sun-belt states. "North American fit all our (criteria) on what sort of company we were looking to acquire," he said. "We're not looking for a broad-based roll up strategy. We're looking for acquisitions in key markets."

As part of Sweetwater's plans to build a national security company, company officials are forming a new brand for all of its security ventures. Other investments in the security industry for Sweetwater include Sweetwater Security Capital, which was founded in 2000 and focuses on remote video monitoring and security related financing to government entities and CODE-1, which was founded this year.

Bresina-Hawkins said North American Security will maintain its name for a short period, but that "we have brands under consideration right now."

Bresina-Hawkins is also considering a dealer program, but not in the traditional sense. "We have what we think are pretty good ideas on that front, but those ideas are still evolving."