425 Inc.

BrightStar has invested $66,000 in 425 Inc., a Mount Pleasant company that makes the Guardian Angel – an LED light personal safety device that makes it easier to see emergency personnel in the dark or low lighting situations.

425 lined up an individual investor that performed due diligence and led the investment. BrightStar invested to put the offering over the top, Shannon said. The total is about $200,000.

The company demonstrated customer validation when it co-developed the Guardian Angel with the Milwaukee Police Department, which became its first customer, said Todd Sobotka, BrightStar’s portfolio manager and investment committee chair. It also has a strong team that’s experienced in the emergency responder space, is rapidly scalable and there’s a need for it in the marketplace.

“Their big thing is we create jobs here in Wisconsin, so their money is really going to help us find some employees, pay them, and start making a positive contribution to the community,” said Juan Gomez, co-founder of 425 Inc.

425 Inc.’s Guardian Angel product makes it easier to see emergency personnel.

Gomez and Kevin Matte co-founded the company with personal savings in 2012. This is 425’s second round of fundraising.

It currently has six employees, but Gomez said the company is getting busier and he needs more help. The company has shipped Guardian Angel orders to more than 200 police, sheriff and fire departments in the U.S. It’s also recently started filling international orders.

In addition to creating jobs, 425 will use the influx of capital to ramp up its marketing efforts at trade shows and seek out a permanent office space.

BrightStar and its angel partner had great ideas for the future of 425, which made them a valuable choice for the company, Gomez said.

“We were lucky that they came along,” he said. “We knew that we were going to be looking for our second round of funding to help push us to the next level. I was looking for smart money, not just any money.”

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