Venture capital firm Sweetwater moves into the commercial market

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Tuesday, April 1, 2003

HOUSTON - As part of its quest to build its presence in Texas and then later nationally, venture capital firm Sweetwater Ventures recently marked its first foray in the commercial installation market by buying Security Installation Services.

The transaction is the first for the venture capital firm outside of the residential security market. Last year it bought high-end residential alarm company North American Security Alarm of Dallas.

“We plan to keep the employees onboard, keep the location and use SIS to expand our CCTV installation capabilities in Texas,” said Donald Bresina-Hawkins, chairman of Sweetwater Ventures.

According to Bresina-Hawkins, the owner of SIS, Ernie Little, decided to retire. While the purchase price and size of SIS was not released, the 20 year-old company employed several technicians, sales people and an office manager.

With SIS now under its wing, plans call for increasing the company’s sales staff, including hiring a sales manager to lead expansion efforts. The company also serves as a platform to build business in the commercial market for Sweetwater’s other companies, which include Sweetwater Security, a Birmingham, Ala.-based company and Code-1.

“It becomes a base of operations for us in Houston and brings to us expertise that we might use in opening up new lines of business,” said Sean O’Keefe, president and chief executive officer of Sweetwater’s company North American Security.

While Sweetwater currently has coverage in two Texas markets - Houston with North American Security and now Dallas with SIS - company officials have set sights on also expanding into San Antonio.

The SIS name is expected to remain for current customers, but new business for SIS is expected to fall under the North American Security name.