Page 1

Meet 2016’s

Entrepreneur

Superstars

Here’s How They Did It

America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Chris Davis  Loot Crate

Over the past three years, his subscription-box company grew by

66,789% PAGE 25


ORDER THE S90 ONLINE WITH OUR PREMIUM CONCIERGE EXPERIENCE.


let’s not complicate things.


7:05

TRAVEL REINVENTED With 200+ hotels, we’re everywhere you want to be. With modern, classic design and always-approachable service, we offer what matters most to keep you comfortable and connected. This is Four Points.

am Post-workout breakfast in the room.

8:00

am Cab it to a meeting. Take a conference call on the way.

4:10

pm Deal done. Pregame check-in.

6:15

pm Meet the team for dinner.

FOURPOINTS.COM

7:40

pm Kick back, relax with beers and the game.

©2016 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Four Points and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.


Contents

“Being an immigrant gıves you a wider view of the world.” —GUIDO KOVALSKYS, co-founder of the educationtechnology company Nearpod, No. 297 on this year’s Inc. 500

PG.

PHOTOGRAPH BY EDWIN TSE

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 5


Editor’s Letter The one list that matters PG.14 — The Inc. Life Preting Consulting founder Beth Inglis likes throwing heavy things

— Intro: Everyday Heroes The founders of this year’s Inc. 500 have overcome personal tragedy and every kind of professional obstacle in their climb to the top. Plus: This year’s No. 1 company, Loot Crate. By Leigh Buchanan and Kate Rockwood PG.20

LAUNCH In the Field From Carnegie Hall to Costa Rica, in the mountains of Oregon and along the vast American coastlines, see the Inc. 500 firms at work — HOW I DID IT Magoosh, Consumer Fire Products, Marijuana Business Daily — CEO SURVEY How Inc. 500 dreamers become doers — Thomas Goetz How I achieved perfect work-life imbalance

BUILD Making America Great These founders came to the U.S. seeking the American dream— and succeeded. By Jill Krasny — HOW I DID IT Edward Marc Brands, Whim Hospitality, Melba’s Old School Po Boys — Hot Spots An analysis of the wage gap in 25 Inc. 500 cities — Gary Vaynerchuk Will you recognize when it’s time to pivot? Don’t rely on the data to let you know

TECH The Inc. Interview: Craig Newmark Ever have a hobby that became a hugely successful—and hugely important—business? Craigslist founder Craig Newmark tells Inc. how it happened to him, why he stepped away, and what’s next for him. By Jon Fine — HOW I DID IT ByteCubed, TickPick, CallTrackingMetrics — CEO SURVEY The highlights, darkest nights, and strangest stories of the 2016 Inc. 500 CEOs — Amy Webb You’ll soon know your customers before they know you

INNOVATE Game Over Fuhu was the No. 1 Inc. 500 company in 2013 and 2014. Then it went bankrupt. Inside the rise and fall of America’s onetime fastest-growing company. By Lindsay Blakely and Burt Helm — HOW I DID IT CrowdStrike, Favor TechConsulting, The Phoenix Recovery & Counseling Centers — Jason Fried The myth of low-hanging fruit

 IN FAVOR Vaseal Montgomery started Favor TechConsulting in 2007, driven in part by a desire to help her fellow veterans. In 2015, she had a $19 million business (see page 148).

ON THE COVER: CHRIS DAVIS, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF LOOT CRATE, PHOTOGRAPHED IN LOS ANGELES BY EMILY SHUR. TYPOGRAPHY BY MARIO DE MEYER

PHOTOGRAPH BY SHANIQWA JARVIS

ON THE COVER: GROOMING: MARISSA MACHADO; WARDROBE: JESSIE COHAN; PROPPING: WARD ROBINSON

PG.16


Get ready to be big. Going public is a unique moment in a company’s life. So, too, is its first formal audit. Deloitte’s Emerging Growth Company team leverages deep public company audit experience to provide audits that deliver the outside-in perspective investors demand as well as operational insight for company leaders to consider. At Deloitte, audit is more than an obligation. It’s an opportunity that can help companies and investors as they pursue high performance. Learn more about our Emerging Growth Company Practice at deloitte.com/us/egc.

Audit | Tax | Consulting | Advisory Copyright © 2016 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

Audit


— BY RANK

Meet this year’s 500 fastest-growing privately owned American companies PG.31

— BY SECTOR 158 Advertising + Marketing 160 Business Products + Services 161 Computer Hardware 162 Construction 162 Consumer Products + Services 164 Education 166 Energy 166 Engineering 166 Financial Services 168 Food + Beverage 170 Government Services 171 Health 176 Human Resources 176 Insurance 178 IT Services 180 Logistics +Transportation 181 Manufacturing 181 Media 181 Real Estate 182 Retail 184 Security 184 Software 186 Telecommunications 186 Travel + Hospitality — 204 Alphabetical index

THE REPLACEMENTS This LED filament bulb, by Green Creative (No. 213), is designed to replicate the shape of an old-style incandescent filament bulb, says co-founder Cole Zucker (see page 109).

8 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2015 PRADO PHOTOGRAPH BY VICTOR

CONTENTS

PROPPING: MEGUMI EMOTO




DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT THE FUTURE YOU PLANNED FOR

)'(-J8GJ<fiXeJ8GX]Ôc`Xk\ZfdgXep%8cci`^_kji\j\im\[%

Work, grow, and evolve as one. SAP’s suite of affordable, easy-to-use solutions helps small and midsize companies automate and integrate business processes – live and in the moment. So all your functions and departments can grow together. Without falling behind.


TOP VIDEOS

I N C .C O M / P R O D U C T I V I T Y

3 Ways Stress Helps Entrepreneurs (and 1 Way It Doesn’t) Tension gives you a sense of urgency, writes Inc.com columnist John Brandon. Which is a good thing. Most of the time

Inc.com I N C .C O M / I D E A L A B

Parag Khanna Author of Connectography

“When immigrants come in, they create jobs. They generate wealth. There’s no reason to stand in the way of that.”

INC.COM/DRINKS -WITH

Michael Dubin Co-founder of Dollar Shave Club

“People have to like working at your company.”

IT MAKES YOU MORE AWARE

IT SHOWS YOU HAVE A HEART

IT HELPS YOU ENJOY THE CALM

On high alert, you’re more likely to absorb information, which leads to increased productivity.

One key reason you’re feeling stressed: You care about your company and employees.

Consider how worrying will make you more likely to be appreciative when things are peaceful.

BUT BEWARE IRRATIONAL THOUGHTS

There’s real stress—and there’s stress you create, which leads to unproductive fears. Focus on what’s important.

I N C .C O M / I D E A L A B

Angela Duckworth Author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

“You cannot come up with a great idea simply by reading other people’s ideas.”

YOUR INTERACTIVE GUIDE TO THE 2016 INC. 5000 Go deeper into our ranking of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies on our database on Inc.com. There, you can learn about your hometown’s newest star businesses and read up on the details of any company on the list—including revenue and much more.  inc.com/inc5000 10 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

CONTENTS

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: SAM KAPLAN/TRUNK ARCHIVE; TIM RICE; JOYZEL ACEVEDO; TIM RICE


ERIC SCHURENBERG JOHN DONNELLY CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, DIGITAL MICHAEL MORELLO

PRESIDENT AND EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITOR

JAMES LEDBETTER

CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL ALLISON FASS MANAGING EDITOR JANICE MALKOTSIS EXECUTIVE EDITORS JON FINE, KRIS FRIESWICK, LAURA LORBER SAN FRANCISCO BUREAU CHIEF JEFF BERCOVICI LOS ANGELES BUREAU CHIEF LINDSAY BLAKELY FEATURES EDITOR DIANA RANSOM SENIOR EDITORS MARIA ASPAN, DOUG CANTOR, VANNA LE, DANIELLE SACKS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, STRATEGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA STEPHANIE MEYERS EDITORS-AT-LARGE LEIGH BUCHANAN, TOM FOSTER, BILL SAPORITO, KIMBERLY WEISUL, DAVID WHITFORD SENIOR WRITER CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN SENIOR CONTRIBUTING WRITER BURT HELM STAFF WRITER WILL YAKOWICZ REPORTERS ZOË HENRY, SALVADOR RODRIGUEZ, KEVIN J. RYAN, BARTIE SCOTT, TESS TOWNSEND CREATIVE DIRECTOR BLAKE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR TRAVIS RUSE ART DIRECTORS SARAH GARCEA, KRISTIN LENZ DESIGN MANAGER HOJOON JON DESIGNER MYUNG-HUN JIN DEPUTY PHOTO EDITOR ERNIE MONTEIRO ASSOCIATE PHOTO EDITOR SAMANTHA KELLY DIGITAL PRODUCTION MANAGER JOEL FROUDE DIGITAL PHOTO EDITOR MARGO DOONEY EXECUTIVE VIDEO PRODUCER DEVIN ROGERINO CONSULTANT TIM RICE VIDEO PRODUCER JOYZEL ACEVEDO WEB PRODUCERS ADAM JANOFSKY, GRAHAM RAPIER SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCER VALERIE HEINMETS ASSISTANT EDITORS CAMERON ALBERT-DEITCH, ANNA HENSEL ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR ABIGAIL BARON COPY CHIEF DAVID SUTTER COPY EDITOR PAM WARREN RESEARCH DIRECTOR MARLI GUZZETTA PRODUCTION MANAGER GREY THORNBERRY BOARD OF ADVISERS ELIZABETH GORE, CHRIS HEIVLY, PHIL LIBIN, POONEH MOHAJER, DOUG TATUM, AMIR TEHRANI, NOAM WASSERMAN SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR NORM BRODSKY CONTRIBUTING EDITORS ADAM BAER, JIM BRETT, COLLEEN DEBAISE, DONNA FENN, JASON FRIED, THOMAS GOETZ, JEFF HADEN, BERT JACOBS, GEOFFREY JAMES, PAUL KEEGAN, SHEILA MARIKAR, HELAINE OLEN, BEN SCHOTT, ALINA TUGEND, GARY VAYNERCHUK, AMY WEBB, LIZ WELCH INTERNS HELENA BALL, GUADALUPE GONZALEZ, SKYLER INMAN, ADELINE LULO, SOPHIA MALKOTSIS, JESSIE OLIVER, MELISSA STUDACH SALES AND MARKETING

PUBLISHER, INTEGRATED SALES RICHARD RUSSEY ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, NATIONAL CONFERENCE DIRECTOR LISA BENTLEY ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, MARKETING JENNIFER HENKUS RESEARCH DIRECTOR REG UNGBERG ASSOCIATE RESEARCH DIRECTOR BEN O’HARA NEW YORK SALES DIRECTOR KERI HAMMER MIDWEST SALES DIRECTOR MEREDITH WISNIEWSKI: 708-929-8126 NEW YORK SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES AMY CHRISTIANSEN, MEREDITH DELUCA, ALAN MOY: 212-389-5300 ACCOUNT MANAGERS VIVIENNE GILLMETT, CHRISTINE RIDENOUR DIGITAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER KIRK INOCENCIO DIGITAL ACCOUNT MANAGER MARIO GUARDADO SENIOR ADVISER IRVIN V. FALK SENIOR ADVISER, AUTOS BRUCE MCNAUGHTON ATLANTA JASON ALBAUM: 404-892-0760 DALLAS STEVEN G. TIERNEY: 972-625-6688 DETROIT ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE GEORGE WALTER: 248-709-0727 LOS ANGELES/SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RICHARD L. TAW III: 310-341-2341 INTERNATIONAL JOHN DONNELLY: 212-389-5345 CLASSIFIEDS ANN MARIE JOHNSON: 727-507-7505 FRANCHISE AND MARKETPLACE TOM EMERSON: 212-655-5220 INC. LIVE

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONFERENCES AND EVENTS LYNN SHAFFER EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CONFERENCES AND EVENTS TENNILLE M. ROBINSON EVENT PRODUCER, CONFERENCES AND EVENTS EMILI KAUFMAN EVENT MANAGER, CONFERENCES AND EVENTS SHANNON BYRD ASSISTANT EVENT PRODUCER MARIE VASALLO CONSULTANT BREANA MURPHY BUSINESS RESOURCES

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS DARCY LEWIS DIRECTOR, BRANDED CONTENT PETE FRANCO ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INTEGRATED MARKETING KELSEY RODENBIKER SENIOR INTEGRATED MARKETING MANAGER MARY MOORE SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGERS JENNIFER BOBBIN, VANESSA BRAND ACCOUNT MANAGERS SHERICE GOODWINE, CAITLIN PIKE MARKETING AND RESEARCH COORDINATOR LAUREN ARRIOLA GROUP VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING PATRICK HAINAULT EVENTS MARKETING DIRECTOR MARCIE ROSENSTOCK ASSISTANT MARKETING MANAGER ALYSSA PARSONS INTERN ZALINI PERSAUD PRODUCTION

GROUP DIRECTOR KATHLEEN O’LEARY DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL EDITORIAL OPERATIONS CARLY MIGLIORI ADVERTISING OPERATIONS MANAGER SUNG WOON KIL GROUP MANAGER JANE HAZEL FINANCE MANAGER BOB BRONZO ASSOCIATE MANAGER DAVE POWELL CONSUMER MARKETING

DIRECTOR ANNE MARIE O’KEEFE SENIOR MANAGERS TYLER ADAMS, KATHRYN C. KMIOTEK MANAGER REBECCA SULLIVAN

D I G I TA L D E V E L O P M E N T

GROUP DIRECTOR JASON TAGG DESIGN DIRECTOR HAEWON KYE SENIOR ART DIRECTOR JANET WAEGEL ART DIRECTOR ASHLEY O'BRION LEAD DEVELOPER JOHN GUARAGNO SENIOR DEVELOPERS AMINE BELKADI, SERGII USTIUZHANIN DEVELOPERS JAMES DYBISZ, NICK MANNING, ADAM NOONAN-KELLY D I G I TA L M E D I A A N D O P E R AT I O N S

GLOBAL HEAD STEVEN SUTHIANA DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CLIENT SERVICES AND REVENUE OPERATIONS JONELLE MARINO LASALA SENIOR MANAGER, DIGITAL REVENUE OPERATIONS SELIN SONMEZ ASSOCIATE DIGITAL CLIENT SERVICES MANAGERS NINA RUBIO, THOMPSON WALL DIGITAL CLIENT SERVICES ASSOCIATES EVELYN ROMERO, TIFFANY TAM ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL BUSINESS OPERATIONS AND ANALYTICS JAMES VAN SWERINGEN SENIOR ANALYST, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND YIELD MANAGEMENT CHRIS CATTIE DIGITAL ANALYST JAMES DOOLIN III MANAGER, DIGITAL AD PRODUCTS DEVELOPMENT DAVID ROSENBAUM JUNIOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA DEVELOPER NATHAN BROADDUS ACCOUNTING

CONTROLLER EVE PAI SCHNEIDER ACCOUNT MANAGER JACQUELINE NURSE STAFF ACCOUNTANT SHARITA NEVERSON ACCOUNTS PAYABLE MANAGER MARILOU ORDILLAS PAYROLL MANAGER/ACCOUNTANT CHAREYL RAMOS MANSUETO VENTURES LLC

CHAIRMAN JOE MANSUETO CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER MARK ROSENBERG DIRECTOR, HUMAN RESOURCES MILES M. MERWIN DIRECTOR, FACILITIES RANDY DAVIS FACILITIES ASSISTANT/RECEPTIONIST CECILIA GONZALEZ DE MENDOZA

HOW TO REACH US SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE: Inc., P.O. Box 3136, Harlan, IA 51593-0202 800-234-0999 or icmcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com OFFICE OF THE PUBLISHER: 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007-2195 212-389-5300; www.mansueto.com EDITORIAL PHONE: 212-389-5377 FAX: 212-389-5379 WEB: www.inc.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: mail@inc.com PERMISSIONS: permissions@inc.com INC. 500/INC. 5000 INFORMATION: feedback5000@inc.com REPRINTS: 800-290-5460 ext. 128 or increprints@theygsgroup.com BACK ISSUES: 800-234-0999 Our subscribers list is occasionally made available to carefully selected firms whose products or services may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive information from these firms, write to the subscription service address above.

www.inc.com/customercare

12 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


BETTER update that yuck-colored bathroom.

QuickenLoans.com Quicken Loans; NMLS#3030; www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org . Equal Housing Lender. Licensed in 50 states. AR, TX: 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226-1906, (888) 474-0404; AZ: 16425 North Pima, Ste. 200, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, Mortgage Banker License #BK-0902939; CA: Licensed by Dept. of Business Oversight, under the CA Residential Mortgage Lending Act; CO: Regulated by the Division of Real Estate; GA: Residential Mortgage Licensee #11704; IL: Residential Mortgage Licensee #4127 – Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation; KS: SL-0000693; ME: Supervised Lender License; MN: Not an offer for a rate lock agreement; MS: Licensed by the MS Dept. of Banking and Consumer Finance; NH: Licensed by the NH Banking Dept., #6743MB; NV: License #626; NJ: Licensed Mortgage Banker – NJ Dept. of Banking, 1st (and/or 2nd) mortgages only; NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker – NYS Banking Dept.; OH: MB 850076; OR: License #ML-1387; PA: Licensed as a 1st Mortgage Banker by the Dept. of Banking and licensed pursuant to the PA Secondary Mortgage Loan Act; RI: Licensed Lender; WA: Consumer Loan Company License CL-3030. Quicken Loans NMLS #3030. Rates subject to change. Restrictions may apply.©2000–2016 Quicken Loans Inc., All rights reserved. Lending services provided by Quicken Loans Inc., a subsidiary of Rock Holdings Inc. “Quicken Loans” is a registered service mark of Intuit Inc., used under license.


WELCOME

THE ONE LIST THAT MATTERS LOT OF BUSINESS magazines

create lists. (Maybe you’ve noticed.) One of Inc.’s competitors, for example, ranks giant public corporations in order of their total revenue. Another ranks people by supposed net worth. Others rank mutual funds, financial advisers, and so on. The Inc. 500 resembles those lists in a superficial cousin, the Inc. 5000) is a household name. And if you’re on it, it’s something to brag about. But the Inc. 500 is different where it really counts. Corporate giants rise to the top of their list by bulking up over generations of leaders. You can get on the rich list either by inheriting wealth or by creating it, as if the two were equally worthy of praise. By contrast, the Inc. 500 honors real achievement by a founder or a team of them. No one makes the Inc. 500 without building something great—usually from scratch. That’s one of the hardest things to do in business, as every company founder knows. But without it, free enterprise fails. None of the mega-corporations or rich

14 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

princelings on those other lists would exist without entrepreneurship somewhere in their past. The blessings of entrepreneurship are on abundant display in this month’s articles. There’s Irene Rhodes, whose Consumer Fire Products (No. 229) makes a foamspraying system that saves homes from the kind of wildfires now ravaging the West. There’s George Kurtz, co-founder of CrowdStrike (No. 144), whose company helped identify the Russian hackers who broke into the Democratic National Committee’s servers. There’s Jake Shoff, whose Phoenix Recovery & Counseling Centers (No. 34) have helped thousands beat addiction, and which he co-founded in response to a good friend’s death. Space allows us to tell only a few of the stories behind this year’s 500, but all are inspiring. No other word describes them. All this comes with a warning label, however. Rapid growth is a great thing, but it’s also a leadership challenge, especially if you let it go to your head. That’s the moral of Lindsay Blakely and Burt Helm’s harrowing feature about Fuhu (page 134), the company that captured No. 1 on the Inc. 500 in both 2013 and 2014—and then imploded. We twice celebrated with the Fuhu founders; now, in sadness, we offer a postmortem designed to help you learn from their missteps. After all, the Inc. 500 isn’t the end of the entrepreneurial journey. It’s meant to be a milestone on the way to further success. In fact, we’d like nothing more than one day to see you and the beautiful company you’ve launched on … one of those other lists.

EDITOR’S LETTER


Grander than ever. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taken our top hotels to a whole new level called Sheraton Grand.


W E I G H T Y M AT T E R S

HAMMER TIME Air Force veteran and Inc. 500 founder Beth Inglis blows off steam by hurling a heavy ball Photographs by JARED SOARES

16 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


SKYWARD IN TRIUMPH Beth Inglis at a hammerthrowing haunt in suburban Washington, D.C., launching her payload into space.

THE INC. LIFE


 SUMMER FLING Inglis readies herself to start the spin that precedes a hammer thrower’s toss (left); the business end of the hammer—its nine-pound steel ball—at rest.

“All you need is a cement slab and a field.” —BETH INGLIS, founder, Preting Consulting

N HIGH SCHOOL, Beth Inglis discovered an innate

strength: throwing things. Specifically, the shotput ball. “I’m 5 foot 10 and have long levers,” she says. “It’s straight physics: That’s an edge in throwing events.” So one day, while she was attending the Air Force Academy, a track coach stopped Inglis and asked if she’d ever done the hammer throw—the sport, dating back to the 15th century, in which women competitors hurl a nine-pound ball attached to a metal chain as far as possible. (In the men’s version of the event, the hammer weighs 16 pounds.) She hadn’t. But “I tried it and it just worked,” she says. “Pole vaulters would argue, but I think the hammer throw is the most technical event in track and field.” While at the academy, Inglis—the founder of Alexandria, Virginia–based Preting Consulting—competed for three years and reveled in it, though getting to meets came with unique challenges. “We’d carry our metal balls through security,” Inglis recalls. “Kind of weird. But we traveled in uniforms, so it was a little less suspicious.” During her senior year, she broke the academy’s women’s indoor record by hurling the hammer more than 164 feet.

18 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

After graduating in 2002, she spent five years on active duty and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. As part of the Air Force track-and-field team, she had opportunities to compete against athletes from other countries by throwing the hammer at meets in London and Amsterdam. After returning to the U.S., she and her sisters started and sold an apron-making company and ventured into real estate and cattle investing. But with her background, Inglis realized she could tackle the government-services sector with an insider’s know-how, and in 2011, she founded Preting (No. 215 on this year’s Inc. 500 list, with 2015 revenue of $5.2 million). “We support the Department of Defense on domestic and overseas missions,” she says. Almost all employees are veterans; they focus on security issues, financial analysis, and designing and modeling businesses. Preting keeps her busy, but Inglis still finds time to throw the hammer on the grounds of a nearby high school. “Every day is a figurative knife fight,” she says. “Being able to go and throw the hammer for no other reason than to throw it, it’s cathartic. It’s the one thing I call my own and lose myself in. Whatever issue I had before throwing is less of an issue when I’m done.” —SHEILA MARIKAR

THE INC. LIFE


We build cars and relationships that last. Subaru is Kelley Blue Book’s Best Overall Brand and Most Trusted Brand of 2016.*

When it comes to your vehicle, there is nothing more important than trust. You want to know that no matter where you go, it will get you there and back again. According to Kelley Blue Book, Subaru is the Best Overall and Most Trusted Brand of 2016. Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

To explore all the Kelley Blue Book awards, go to subaru.com/awards.

Subaru is a registered trademark. *2016 Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards are based on the Brand Watch™ study from Kelley Blue Book Strategic Insights. Award calculated among non-luxury shoppers. For more information, visit www.kbb.com. Kelley Blue Book is a registered trademark of Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc.


Roughly 50 percent of all startups fail within their first five years.

20 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


Many others struggle to stay aďŹ&#x201A;oat, let alone grow.

INC. 500 


STACKING UP Loot Crate co-founder Chris Davis expresses his love of all things geeky by sending monthly boxes to 650,000 subscribers, 30 percent of whom are women.

site of a meth lab explosion and—fearing there were children inside—entered the building. The lungful of anhydrous ammonia he inhaled consigned him to bed for four months. When his pregnant wife urged him to seek alternative employment, Arthur launched a solar-equipment-installation business, even though he was still racked by pain, with devastating headaches and unrelenting thirst. Most of his customers were in St. Louis, so for two years he logged 5,000 miles a month in his car. “I had to train subcontractors, which meant climbing up on roofs and walking around construction sites completely out of breath,” says Arthur. “In the evenings, exhausted, I would put on my dress pants and go out to sell systems. It was very hard.” Arthur’s company, Missouri Sun Solar, debuts on the Inc. 500 at No. 156, with $9.8 million in revenue and 2,326.7 percent growth. The Inc. 500—an annual ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies—is the theme of our most celebratory issue: a roll call of quantified, verified business successes. In the midst of a presidential campaign often light on substantive discussions of economic growth and employment, these businesses demonstrate what real progress looks like. The 2016 class has achieved an impressive median growth rate of 1,580.5 percent CONTINUED O N PA G E 2 7  over the past three years and created a total of

24 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

 Photograph by JEFF MINTON


Chris Davis Loot Crate  Three-year growth 66,788.6%  2015 revenue $116.2 million

GEEKS AND GAMERS AND GROWTH—OH, MY Los Angeles–based Loot Crate tops the list by overcoming shipping strikes, product scarcity, and the uncertain subscriptionbox economy to succeed in the business of fandom. By Kate Rockwood

 CHRIS DAVIS’S GEEK LOVE is as broad as it is

deep: He binges on Pokémon Go, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones with equal abandon. “My brother and I weren’t allowed to have a video-game console until I was 14, but then we played an obscene amount,” he says. “My fandom has always run the gamut.” Growing up in Southern California, Davis knew he wanted to run a business—just not what it might be. (His kindergarten yearbook lists his dream job as CEO of Disney.) He cut his teeth in college as a door-to-door meat salesman

INC. 500 


ALL IT TAKES TO MAKE THE INC. 500 LIST: 365 sleepless nights,

A bunch of silly mistakes,

Far too many cups of coffee,

Far too few,

Tough decisions,

Dinners at the office,

Memos to employees to stop photocopying their faces,

Daily headaches,

$500 for a new printer,

Scores of meetings that could have been an email,

Countless times you wanted to call in sick,

Countless times you couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t call in sick because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the boss,

More than a few awkward client calls,

300-word press releases,

Losing your patience and finding your resolve,

Starting from scratch, again and again,

Learn more at Chase.com/forBusiness.


55,704 jobs. Some of these companies are disrupting old industries or pioneering new ones. But on another level, this issue is not about economic growth or innovation. Rather, it is about 500 companies whose founders— like Arthur—have been on the most terrifying, exhausting, exhilarating journey of their lives. CONTINUED F R O M PA G E 2 4



HE INC. 500 SEEM like the invincible

inverse of those roughly 50 percent of startups that, famously, don’t survive their first five years. But these companies aren’t so different. No, they didn’t die. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t almost die. As noted above, the Inc. 500 have plenty to crow about. Yet when we asked the founders about their greatest achievement in their first year, we got the same answer again and again. “Not going out of business.” “Keeping the doors open.” “Surviving.” “Surviving.” “Surviving.” In interviews, most of them candidly—and many of them eagerly—related the lapses of luck or of judgment that nearly did them in. “Doing a startup is an act of violence and chaos,” says Steve Blank, a serial founder, author, and professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford and other schools. “Near-death experiences—your co-founder quit; your biggest customer walked away; you lost your funding—that’s what happens before launch. You go through a series of trials, and from each one of them you come out stronger.” Consider Shawn Lange and Derek Pietz, who in 2011 founded L2F as an engineering firm that designs customized manufacturing tools for high-tech startups in Silicon Valley. Their first customer dropped into their laps, and they quickly parlayed a $150,000 consulting gig into a $1.5 million contract. The partners invested in hardware, software, and space. But the deal evaporated when the client’s funding was yanked because it had pivoted without informing its venture investors. “We licked our wounds a little bit,” says Pietz. They landed a second client; it went bankrupt. A third client hired away L2F’s only employee. Then it terminated its contract. Lange worked his professional network and found another customer. In a hail mary pass, the founders managed to pull off in seven weeks a project they said would typically take 20. With a greater focus on industrial robots, they began landing job after job, including a contract from SpaceX. L2F is No. 237 on the list this year, with revenue of $2.8 million and a growth rate of 1,654.2 percent. “It was a rocky start, and it stayed rocky,” says Lange. “But when you hit a roadblock, you can power through so long as you’re completely dedicated to the cause.” RESPECT FOR ENDURANCE and determination are baked deep into

Western culture. Job proved his righteousness by remaining faithful to God despite Satan’s tests. Horatio Alger chronicled boys whose grit propelled them to success. Popular books and movies—including the Star Wars and Harry Potter series—follow the “hero’s journey” schema laid out by mythologist Joseph Campbell, in which

INC. 500  INTRODUCTION

before launching a dorm-moving company. After graduation, he bounced between startups, ultimately trying to sell energy snacks to hardcore gamers (one variety: Cashews of Chaos). “The idea was destined to fail,” he says, “but it meant two years learning about retail, product development, and the consumer space.” For his next endeavor, Davis decided, he needed something that would get geeks excited but also keep them talking. Subscription boxes were hot at the time, and Davis wanted to mail customers a monthly mystery box of collectibles, and then invite them to an online forum. He took the concept to a 2012 hackathon in Los Angeles, where he met co-founder Matthew Arevalo. “We started working together full time two weeks later,” says Davis. “After we launched the site in 2012, we had 220 people signed up to receive the first crate within 30 days.” Four years later, Loot Crate is a $116 million, Los Angeles–based business, winning the No. 1 slot on the 2016 Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. In its 130,000-square-foot warehouse, a team of 300 employees packs up to 70,000 boxes a day, shipping monthly to 650,000 subscribers in 35 countries. On a wave of Matrix puzzles, Han Solo figurines, and Walking Dead soaps, Loot Crate has built a rabid community of geeks and gamers, who open their crates and dish about the contents—and anything else related to fandom—on the company’s social sites. Half a million fans watch Loot Crate’s Facebook live videos every month, and user-generated video views on YouTube top more than two billion. “We want to be where people with like interests hang out,” says Arevalo. For about $20, subscribers get a monthly box of half a dozen items. Rather than organize the crates around a single movie or comic book, Loot Crate picks broad themes, so there’s something for everyone. The “Time” crate, for instance, included a Back to the Future hoverboard replica, a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure T-shirt, and a Doctor Who spork. “I’m a broader fan, and that mindset works well on the curation side,” says Davis. “We want to make it compelling, even if you’re not a superfan of a particular franchise.” Davis won’t disclose customerretention rates, other than to claim that the average new subscriber ponies up for more than a year. And those who do lapse tend to stick around the Loot Crate universe. “They may churn out of the subscription, but they still watch videos or participate on threads,” says Davis. “And that creates a virtuous cycle, where some resubscribe to our service.” It helps that Loot Crate has started pushing against the obvious parameters of geekdom, launching subscriptions tailored specifically to pet products and anime and, this summer, announcing SUBSCRIBER a partnership with WWE to move into SWAG wrestling-themed crates. Loot Crate boxes have included items Pulling together the perfect crate is relating to arcade easier now that Loot Crate is well known game Space Invaders, to manufacturers; more than 80 percent video game Fallout, of the items it sends are made exclusiveand Spider-Man.

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 27


Braving mountains of unread emails,

1,000% effort,

Being the first to arrive,

And the last to leave,

Having a babysitter on speed dial,

Facing countless rejections,

Taking double doses of pain reliever,

Suffering through cases of the Mondays, every day,

Leading new-business pitches,

Eating pizza for breakfast,

Drafting the same email 20 times,

Coughing up $600 for after-school programs,

Watching prototypes fail,

Filling out endless pages of paperwork,

Roasting in a 98-degree office,

Accomplishing two weeks of work in one,

Realizing nothing ever comes easy,

And knowing you wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have it any other way.

Learn more at Chase.com/forBusiness.


the protagonist sets off on an adventure and must face ordeals before claiming his reward. In the following pages, you will encounter many versions of the hero’s journey: tales of entrepreneurs soldiering on through circumstances that would cause most folks to pack it in. However, their achievement isn’t predicated on endurance alone. Yes, what didn’t kill these entrepreneurs made them stronger. But it also sharpened their minds as well as toughened their spirits. Entrepreneurs who succeed, says Blank, are those who emerge from the crucible with heightened self-knowledge. “When you talk to them, you know you’re not just talking to smart people,” he says. “You know you are speaking to wise ones.” LEIGH BUCHANAN is an Inc. editor-at-large.

WHAT POWERED THIS YEAR’S GROWTH AS USUAL, THE INC. 500 LIST contains a few familiar names, such as Ipsy (No. 104), Kabbage (No. 183), and Dollar Shave Club (No. 65, which Unilever recently agreed to buy for $1 billion). Other honorees are less known but have cracked the shelves of major retailers or made themselves indispensable links in Fortune 500 supply chains. Some Inc. 500 companies are trying to disrupt industries. Livionex (No. 441), for example, is breathing down toothpaste’s tube with a plaque-attack gel; and ImagineAir (No. 390) wants to Uber-ize private air travel. Other honorees are realizing massive growth through the addition of panache to proudly quotidian products. This year we have both Chicken Salad Chick (No. 37) and the Chicken & Rice Guys (No. 206). In addition to noting the predictable strength of industries like health care and financial services, we’ve noticed a few smaller trends: HEALTHY FOOD, FUN FOOD: As in years past, virtuous food companies dominate the Inc. 500. But indulgence may be resurgent. Companies that thrived this year with a taste-first message include Mod Pizza (No. 373), Melba’s New Orleans Po Boys (No. 123), and Edward Marc Brands (No. 421). A RETAIL RELATIONSHIP: Subscription and membership models worked for No. 1 company Loot Crate, Dollar Shave Club (razor blades), Ipsy (makeup), and Touch of Modern (No. 147; fashion).

ly for subscribers. But the first small wave of customers left Davis and Arevalo scrambling to fulfill orders—Davis made a shopping trip to the L.A. toy district and called in every personal favor he could from product companies. The co-founders begged family and friends to come pack boxes. In those early days, the timing of when the crates hit the mail was less of an issue. Today, it’s a complicated, synchronized dance. “Part of the fun and excitement is the mystery,” says Arevalo, who oversees fan engagement. “But digital sharing means that the mystery of what’s in the crate is hard to safeguard. So the tighter the delivery window can be, the better.” Bootstrapping the business and growing their subscriber base also pushed the co-founders to cut it close more than once—until a port strike in December 2014 threatened to cancel their Christmas shipments and thus destroy their reputation entirely. “We used to have a lead time of three months, while the industry standard is closer to 12,” says Davis. “When we finally got everything, we had just three days of pulling all-nighters to get it in the mail, and we had to pay for priority shipping, which was an outrageous amount of money.” Though Loot Crate launched at a time when subscription boxes were going gangbusters, Davis knew that longevity would likely go to those companies that could stretch their customers’ joy beyond one day a month of receiving mail. So he set out to extend the brand: Loot Crate launched an app, seeded fan communities across Snapchat and Reddit, and built out an in-house team of designers, developers, and writers to create custom content. The company releases an interactive game each month, includes a 24-page magazine in each crate, and produces scripted, multicamera videos with geeky plots. “We think of ourselves now as more of a content and experience platform,” says Davis. “Whether it’s print or mobile or digital, we want to deliver this great experience to fans. That’s bigger than subscription boxes.” KATE ROCKWOOD is a freelance writer based in Chicago.

THE LIST



Open here to read the full 2016 Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

HOW THE 2016 INC. 500 COMPANIES WERE SELECTED This list measures revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2012, and be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2015. The minimum required 2012 revenue is $100,000; the minimum for 2015 is $2 million. Revenue listed in the company profiles is for calendar year 2015. Employee counts are as of December 31, 2015, and include all employees receiving benefits. Inc. reserves the right to reject applicants for subjective reasons. The companies of the Inc. 500 represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found in its entirety on Inc. com. List managed by Marli Guzzetta, Patrick Hainault, and Alyssa Parsons, with additional research by Melissa Studach and Skyler Inman.

INC. 500 

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 29


Paint Nite

CalCom Solar

•eLuxurySupply.com

•Company.com

Globalization Partners

Bounce Exchange

3

4

5

6

7

Loot Crate

2

1 123 124 125 126

23,619.7% 16,196.5% 14,574.7%

31,633.5% 23,486.9%

121 122

36,555.3%

120

66,788.6%

Three-Year Growth

Northstargroup

Acumen Capital

Manifesto Agency

Melba’s Old School Po Boys

Aleph Objects

Cambay Consulting

Approyo

2,744.4%

2,752.2%

2,769%

2,774.7%

2,782.3%

2,790.5%

2,795.4%

Influence & Co.

MasteryPrep

245 •Stability Healthcare

244 •Fathom Realty

243 Stratton & Bratt

242 Primal Health

241

240 •AkesoGen

239

1,598.2%

1,604.4%

1,609.2%

1,611.8%

1,612.5%

1,615.8%

1,643.3%

1,049.3% 1,047.7%

367

Trigent Solutions Graybox

369 370

1,028.1% 1,024.7%

Mod Pizza •Fresh Roasted Coffee Rain City Capital •The Retail Outsource •Social123 Converge Consulting •Signal

373 374 375 376 377 378 379

St. John’s Medical

•Payscout

Onit

388 HealthCare.com

387

386 ArroHealth

385 Tredence

384 Health Catalyst

383

382 MedBridge

381

380 Green Generation Solutions

1,028.8%

Edge Home Finance Corporation

986.7%

989.7%

990%

994%

998.3%

1,005%

1,005.4%

1,007.8%

1,008.2%

1,008.3%

1,009.4%

1,013.5%

1,023.4%

1,029.8%

EMB

371 372

1,038%

1,038.4%

1,047.1% 1,045.8%

368 •Swift Capital

•Asanda Aveda Spa Lounge

366 •Cardlytics

365

1,050.7%

1,054.7%

Assurity Staffing Group

•J.W. Logistics

363

1,058.1% 1,056.6% 1,051.7%

ListenFirst Media

1,059.3%

364 Myrtle Consulting Group

Fortress Marine Construction

361 362

360 •TAG Aero

Meet this year’s 500 fastestgrowing privately owned Amerıcan companies


134

9,389.8%

S2 Capital

FormulaFolio Investments

Persado

Berkley

Exusia

Thrive Farmers

Tribeca Marketing Group

•C&H Financial Services

Paykings

Highland Project Logistics

Furniture Solutions Group

Midwest Equity Mortgage

Big Block Realty

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

JM Bullion

Cirruspath

•Castle Medical

Zurixx

MacStadium

40

41

42

43

44

158 159 160 161 162 163 164

5,962.3% 5,961.1% 5,907.1% 5,903.2% 5,882.2% 5,626.1% 5,341.2%

154

6,545%

The Phoenix Recovery & Counseling Centers

34

Chelsea Financial Group

153

•HaystackID

152

6,889.2%

Inspire Medical Systems

33

39

151

6,934.2%

The Penny Hoarder

32

38

150

6,961.9%

Nine Line Apparel

31

157

149

Taldepot.com

6,042.7%

148

7,101.9% 6,988.3%

Legend Solar

29

30

Chicken Salad Chick

147

7,117.2%

Elements Holdings Group & Subsidiaries

37

145 146

7,546.1%

Blackstone Labs

155

144

7,612.7%

156

143

7,754.4%

6,186.9%

•CPSG Partners

142

7,799.6%

6,402.5%

Occam’s Paradigm

141

Remarkable Liquids

Phoenix Energy Group

140

7,905.4% 7,903.6%

N2grate

Touch of Modern

139

35

•Lancera

138

8,395.3% 8,052.9%

36

Razor Consulting Solutions

137

8,577.2%

Torrent Consulting

•Bai

•Blue Canyon Technologies

Empire Flippers

Hospicelink

Advanced Project Consulting

•One Stop Equine Shop

Greenlight Staffing Group

Missouri Sun Solar

Capital Advance Solutions

SlideBelts

•Handsome Brook Farm

•LifeTree Manufacturing

•Leadpages

CrowdStrike

zSpace

YourPark.com

PrinterLogic

Chameleon Cold Brew

KnowBe4

Netvious

Boost Marketing Group

Network Optix

Pop! Promos

135 136

Organifi

Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company

9,249.3%

133

Project Repat

Evoke Neuroscience

Axe Wellness

Lexicon Health

Mosquito Joe

Engage PEO

8,803.3%

9,400.5%

9,645.7%

131 132

10,511.1%

Suja Juice

13

11,525.4%

Planit Group

12

129 130

12,059.9%

Small Business Owners of America

11

12,620.6%

FedBiz IT Solutions

10

127 128

13,380.9%

Pantherx Specialty Pharmacy

9

14,404.6%

Los York

8

2,743.5%

Her Hair Company

LinkedSelling

Casino Cash Trac

•Freshbenies

ChiroFusion

SmartBox Web Marketing

Florida Solar One

•Jane.com

2,392%

274

2,346.2%

2,195.6%

2,210.3%

2,224.3%

2,252.8%

2,275.4%

2,290.9%

2,295.6%

2,306.2%

2,326.7%

Parse.ly

ReliaTrain

Flowonix Medical

•PSG Construction

•Bowlmor AMF

VetInternetCo.com

RobotLab

Ruby Has Fulfillment

FormSwift

Carved

Private Label Skin

284 iLendingDirect

283 Survwest

282 •Smart Energy Today

281

280 American Pillowcase

279

278

277

276

275

273

2,328.2%

272

2,355.3%

271

270

269 Synartis Health

268 Edgemont Pharmaceuticals

2,354.7%

2,365.3%

2,370.7%

2,374.9%

CRM Science

267

2,423.7%

CloudSmartz

265 266 Danny Wimmer Presents

2,423.9%

264 Double A Events

263

262 •Auric Solar

261

260 Orion

259

258 Applied Thought

257

256 Tresata

255

254 Hosted Records

253

252

251

250 RightBrain Networks

249 •Analytica

248 KPG Healthcare

247 •Tenica and Associates

246 B&D Consulting

2,425.6%

2,428.7%

2,450.7%

2,461.4%

2,480.2%

2,506.9%

2,528.1%

2,537.2%

2,559.4%

2,592.1%

2,608.2%

2,609.1%

2,637.2%

2,637.8%

2,644.7%

2,675.6%

2,699.6%

1,598.2%

1,382.3%

1,384.3%

1,385.8%

1,397.3%

1,400.1%

1,405.6%

1,413.2%

1,417.3%

1,418.8%

1,422%

1,426.1%

1,429.4%

1,457.6%

1,470.4%

1,479.9%

1,490%

1,492.5%

1,492.7%

1,495.7%

1,499.9%

1,502.1%

1,510.1%

1,520.7%

1,524.2%

1,531.1%

1,534.3%

1,541.3%

1,545%

1,550.6%

1,555.2%

1,557.3%

1,570.2%

1,573.5%

1,575.3%

1,585.8%

1,588%

1,590.2%

1,590.8%

389 Anteris Management Consulting

Core and More Technologies

Open Systems Technologies

•TNH Advanced Specialty Pharmacy

Healthiest You

LifeAid Beverage

Warrior Media

Uhuru Design

•USTRP

Strategic Financial Solutions

•Harmony Healthcare

•Jear Logistics

Gamma Labs

•Regulated Capital Consultants

Nutrislice

•9Round

American Passport & Visa International

OrderMyGear

Native Commerce

Edward Marc Brands

426 •Aaski Technology

425 •Boyce Technologies

424 GQR Global Markets

423 ConvertMedia

422 NextAfter

421

420 Pipe View America

419

418

417

416

415

414

413

412

411

410

409 •Fresh Meal Plan

408 Avertra

407 Eaurac

406 Koupon Media

405 •Favor TechConsulting

404 Sauce Labs

403 •VMTurbo

402 Tango Card

401

400 Corios

399

398 •Central Closeout

397

396

395

394 Perfecta Federal

393

392

391

390 ImagineAir

979.1%

893.6%

905.4%

906.1%

909%

914.1%

914.4%

916.6%

918.9%

922.3%

924.7%

926.1%

928.3%

928.3%

933.4%

933.7%

941%

941.8%

943.2%

944.2%

946.9%

947.9%

948.8%

952.4%

953.6%

954.9%

955.5%

958.1%

959.4%

961%

965.4%

966%

969.1%

972.1%

975.4%

975.9%

976%

978.9%


171 172 173 174

4,897.5% 4,895.2% 4,842.7% 4,767.7%

•PrescribeWellness

Elevate Services

PGM

ByteCubed

•Excel Group

MP Consulting Services

Edufficient

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

197 198 199

200 LLB Enterprises 201

202 Movable Ink

3,752.6% 3,733.4% 3,729.1% 3,638.6% 3,621.7%

West Hills Capital

Discount Power

Lead Genesis

TFM Truckload

Youth Digital

79

80

81

82

83

78

Trantor

•Drawbridge

•Optamark

Idea Buyer

HealthSparq

Global Lending Services

3,802.2%

Ecology Mir Group

77

SJ Technologies

Leafly

76

ServRx

195

194

3,876.4%

LA Solar Group

75

Commodore Leasing

Shopper Approved

196

193

Greenspire

3,855.8%

192

3,930.7% 3,884.9%

Green Cloud Technologies

73

74

Connect Assistance

•My Home Group Real Estate

Climate Control Experts

•Capture Education

BrandNex.com

Magoosh

Fab Glass and Mirror

Traffic

•Kabbage

One3LED

•Seeking Health

A.M. Staffing Group

Lilee Systems

Abuv Media

•Alliance Family of Companies

•Channel Partners Capital

Apto

Hoosier Hill Farm

Developing Awareness

Clason Point Partners

•Knot Standard

Florida Premier Realty of the Palm Beaches

Akston Hughes International

The Exterior Company

Cireson

•Blueprint Consulting Services

PCB Apps

3,860.7%

191

3,945.9%

•Na Ali’i Consulting

72

190

3,980.4%

Chef’s Cut Real Jerky

189

71

188

Talteam

70

4,120.6%

Artist Travel Consultants

69 4,053.3%

AppLovin

68

187

United Commerce Group

67 4,132.5%

Stratus Video

66

185

184

4,191.3%

Dollar Shave Club

65 186

183

NeuroStructures

4,164%

182

4,215.6% 4,208.6%

Downeast Cider House

63

64 4,190.1%

181

4,228.8%

Sandlapper Capital Investments

62

180

4,271.7%

Sparty Ventures

179

61

178

4,396.2%

•Orangetheory Fitness

4,308.4%

Prime Time Healthcare

59

177

4,579%

60

175 176

4,693.7% 4,664.8%

4,900.2%

170

Man Crates

51

169

5,057.9%

Impact CNC

50

4,929.8%

Interactive Government Holdings

49

168

5,092.7%

BigRentz

167

48

166

5,147.8%

Chosen Foods

47

5,229.5%

Atlas MedStaff

46

165

5,301.1%

•ReVamp Electronics

45

1,897.2%

1,899.5%

1,899.6%

1,903%

1,905.7%

1,912.2%

1,914.3%

1,926.9%

1,929%

1,932.9%

1,938.9%

1,941.7%

1,953.1%

1,953.3%

1,971.8%

1,989.5%

1,991.3%

2,000.3%

2,021.9%

2,026.6%

2,031.3%

2,038.9%

2,055.1%

2,071.2%

2,071.4%

2,072.7%

2,074.2%

2,079.4%

2,088.3%

2,092.9%

2,093.2%

2,095%

2,100.9%

2,111.7%

2,118.7%

2,152.2%

2,162.2%

2,187%

Advice Media

OneStream Software

Metamarkets

•Vantage Point

•Potomac River Holdings

Nearpod

Maer Construction

Aspirent Consulting

Enovachem

Ashby Law

•Optima Tax Relief

•Saatva

The Rian Group Real Estate

Pixability

GrowersHouse.com

Axis Global Enterprises

Whim Hospitality

•Vighter Medical Group

323

322

321

Proove Biosciences

Wellbe

Ambassador

320 1 Source Business Solutions

319

318

317

316

315

314

313

312

311

310

309 Panthera Technologies

308 GuidePoint Security

307

306 Skyrocket Toys

305 •Transitions Commute Solutions

304 •Welltok

303 •Total Technology Solutions Group

302 Marijuana Business Daily

301

300 LicenseLogix

299 PagerDuty

298 WebME Technologies / WMT

297

296 VOR Technology

295

294 •SmartyPants Vitamins

293

292

291

290 Arcweb Technologies

289 •Spikeball

288 •TaskUs

287

286 Five Lakes Professional Services

285 The Fulfillment Lab

1,194.8%

1,200.6%

1,201.7%

1,205.5%

1,209.4%

1,213.9%

1,214.2%

1,220.9%

1,223.4%

1,225.9%

1,232.9%

1,237.4%

1,260.2%

1,266.6%

1,269.5%

1,275.9%

1,276.7%

1,277.3%

1,281.3%

1,284.9%

1,286.9%

1,288.2%

1,289.1%

1,300.3%

1,303.3%

1,317.9%

1,320.2%

1,320.8%

1,336.7%

1,339.4%

1,345%

1,350.9%

1,352.5%

1,354.3%

1,354.4%

1,354.9%

1,360.4%

1,364.3%

1,374.7%

King Memory

SD Bullion

Livionex

Sequoia Holdings

JCS Consulting Group

Nolan Transportation Group

465 Ultimate Jet Vacations

464 •Multifamily Utility Company

463 Altalena

462 The Hilb Group

461

460 Culver Equipment

459 Omnibuild

458 Flexfire LEDs

457

456 FreeForm Agency

455 •MES

454 Janz

453 •GoPole

452 E2 Optics

451

450 Revere Capital

449 Team Forss Realty Group

448 SoBe Promos

447 Creative Studio Promotions

446 •Rant

445 OppLoans

444 Renogy

443 Signature Analytics

442 Be the Change Revolutions

441

440 NextNet Partners

439 EZ Homes

438 •LiveHelpNow

437

436 Neighbors Emergency Centers

435 •Centerspan

434 Digital Media Solutions

433 Prolific Interactive

432 Annmarie Skin Care

431

430 1on1 Development

429 Kepler Group

428 Discover Video

427 •The FDA Group

817.7%

817.9%

819.4%

820.1%

824%

828.6%

832.1%

832.4%

837.9%

845.1%

846.1%

846.3%

846.5%

847.1%

847.5%

849%

850%

851.7%

853%

853.6%

854.4%

864%

866.1%

867.7%

868.3%

869.2%

873%

873.5%

876.3%

877.5%

880.3%

881.2%

881.9%

883.2%

885.9%

886.4%

889.2%

892.5%

892.8%


SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 34

211 212 213 214

3,428% 3,415.2% 3,386% 3,377.5%

Solar Media Team

DoubleMap

Hireology

•OutboundEngine

Hyperice

Cambridge Select

93

94

95

96

97

98

92

218 219 220 nCino 221 222 223 224 Prairie Landworks

3,307.2% 3,254.9% 3,238.1% 3,168.5% 3,153.9% 3,136.1% 3,132.9%

ArrowCore Group

Inoventures

Render Media

HomeWorks Energy

Redefy Real Estate

Ipsy

MeUndies

Flite Banking Centers

CallRail

Maxton & Company

•Cognitive Medical Systems

Herman Integration Services

BahFed

MS3

•E-Telequote Insurance

•Treeium

ProNexus

•The K Company Realty

Honor Capital

Globo

Fin Fun

99

100

101

102

103

104

105

106

107

108

109

110

111

112

113

114

115

116

117

118

119

• Repeat honoree

217

3,323.1%

•Catmedia

230 Land Gorilla 231 232 233 234 Avadim Technologies

2,963.4% 2,946.3% 2,908.8% 2,887.9% 2,873.7%

237 238 Humm Kombucha

2,843.6% 2,799.6%

L2F

•Apeks Supercritical

Lonecone.com

235 236

2,869% 2,849.3%

Rocky Mountain Barrel Company

Sound Rink

Shop Melee

229 Consumer Fire Products

228 CallTrackingMetrics

2,981.7%

2,997%

Sophus IT Solutions

227

3,035.8%

•Kohana Coffee

225 226 National Medtrans Network

3,129.3% 3,069.6%

•Aegis Corps

Pro-Sphere Tek

•WePay

Tergus Pharma

DA Defense Logistics HQ

Opteamix

Mod Mission Critical

3,341.1%

Preting Consulting

215 216

3,366.4%

C3 Group

Green Creative

Darkblade Systems

NextGen Federal Systems

Fire Line Services

210

Konnected

91

209 Sunpro Solar

TickPick

90 3,477.8%

Worth Clark Realty

89

RPM

3,488.4%

•Futurewave Systems

88

206 Chicken & Rice Guys

205 Health Warrior

3,534%

3,565.8%

208 Payline Data

TapClicks

87

3,566.1%

3,493.2%

Nutanix

86

203 Gtuit 204 Pipedrive

3,601.7%

207

Impact Technology Recruiting

85

3,498.7%

InfoScout

84

•ClearSource

Oasys

Evoke Brand Strategies

Food52

Karna

•NGCI

Modern Vintage Boutique

OTR Capital

Freedom Solar Power

eAssist Dental Solutions

•Kargo

Lighter Capital

DirectDefense

Influenster

Legacybox

Palo Media

Windsor Circle

359

358

357

356

355

•Morning Star Financial Services

•Makeup Geek

Cloud Software

•Access Point Financial

Sooryen Technologies

354 Real Estate Expert Advisors

353

352

351

350 Rafael Marrero and Company

349 Status Labs

348 Davis Defense Group

347

346 •Quick Bridge Funding

345 Relumination

344 •Midwest Corporate Credit

343 •The Newsletter Pro

342 •Edifice Solutions

341

340 Kwest Enterprises

339

338

337

336

335

334 •Nekter Juice Bar

333

332

331

330 Signpost

329

328 General Materials

327

326

325

324 SSi

1,194%

1,062.6%

1,072%

1,072.1%

1,073.4%

1,073.8%

1,075.4%

1,075.5%

1,077.9%

1,080.5%

1,082.1%

1,099.3%

1,101.7%

1,105.5%

1,113.8%

1,117.8%

1,118.8%

1,118.8%

1,120.9%

1,121.3%

1,123%

1,133.8%

1,134%

1,137.7%

1,140.7%

1,144.2%

1,146.3%

1,146.6%

1,153.8%

1,165.2%

1,172.8%

1,173.2%

1,175.5%

1,180.9%

1,182.2%

1,182.6%

•Sol Systems

Stardust Memorials

•Pluralsight

Sekon Enterprise

•Jeunesse Global

Optimum Healthcare IT

500 •Vixxo

499 •Leota

498 •Cabinets.com

497 •S2 IT Group

496 •MaxHome

495 ISSquared

494 Advantages

493 Pneuron

492 •Lynx Technology Partners

491

490 •LiveIntent

489 Sunny Days In-Home Care

488 SOR Technology

487 •American Retirement Advisors

486 •Metronome

485 HG Data Company

484 Pay Sell

483 •Outdoor Tech

482 Aduro

481

480 Wholesale Screening Solutions

479 Cynet Systems

478 Pivot International

477

476 •Vets Etc.

475

474 Owl Computing

473

472 WeGoLook

471

Collaborative Techniques

470 Totally Joined for Achieving

469 Redwood Scientific Technologies

468 Stay Alfred Vacation Rentals

467 •Moore Heating & Air Conditioning

466 National Merchants Association

815.8%

757.6%

758.2%

767.6%

770.4%

770.9%

771%

771.1%

771.7%

773%

774.3%

776.2%

776.5%

778%

778.9%

779.2%

779.5%

783%

784.9%

789.6%

791.1%

795%

796.8%

798.1%

798.4%

798.7%

800%

804.5%

806%

806.2%

806.4%

810.5%

813.8%

814%

814.9%

NOTE: The growth rates used to determine company rankings were calculated to three decimal places. There are no ties on this year’s Inc. 500.

1,644.5%

1,654.2%

1,662.4%

1,671.7%

1,675%

1,691.7%

1,714%

1,724.2%

1,726%

1,740.9%

1,741.9%

1,744.1%

1,764.6%

1,767.2%

1,772.1%

1,794%

1,794.7%

1,794.9%

1,804.6%

1,805.3%

1,808.6%

1,809%

1,816%

1,827.3%

1,838.5%

1,842.5%

1,847.5%

1,855.1%

1,859.1%

1,865.7%

1,866.1%

1,873.5%

1,882.9%

1,886.6%

1,894%

1,894.3%


To the Inc. 500 honorees, Over the last few years, For each of the 500+ times you thought you couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it,

Learn more at Chase.com/forBusiness.


CONGRATULATIONS. BECAUSE YOU DID.

Learn more at Chase.com/forBusiness.


WE’RE EXCITED TO HELP PUSH FORWARD A NEW CROP OF BUSINESSES. With your hard work and the right bank, there’s no reason your business can’t be one of next year’s 500. We can’t wait to see what happens. Learn more at Chase.com/forBusiness. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC © 2016 JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Launch How to keep your life in perfect imbalance

Start. Scale. Thrive.



STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

BIG PROFITS FROM OLD PLANES TAG Aero, founded in 2009 by Myles Thomas, buys airplane components, sends them to FAA-certified repair companies, and then sells the refurbished parts back to airlines. The impeller pictured here, which helps compress air in a jet engine, was bought from Lufthansa as part of a larger auxiliary power unit that sold for $15,000. Once the fixed-up component passes FAA testing, the Winter Garden, Florida–based company will complete all the necessary paperwork—which can take up to two months—and then sell it to an airline for around $50,000. —KEVIN J. RYAN TAG Aero  Inc. 500 rank 360  Three-year growth 1,059.3%  2015 revenue $7.9 million

•••••

Photograph by VICTOR PRADO

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 37


CARRYING ON “As CEO, I sometimes wonder whether we are growing fast enough,” says Bhavin Parikh, who was thrust into leadership as his co-founder fought a rare, and eventually fatal, cancer. “I know if Hansoo were here, he would be pushing us even more.”

38 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


Bhavin Parikh Magoosh  Three-year growth 1,991.3%  2015 revenue $7 million

After Tragedy, He Made Their Company Into His Friend’s Legacy Bhavin Parikh and Hansoo Lee became two of the founders of Magoosh in 2008, when they were MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Propelled by its leaders’ complementary strengths, the Berkeley-based online test-prep startup slowly gained momentum. Then Parikh found himself suddenly—and tragically—alone. —As told to Leigh Buchanan

 HANSOO, OUR CEO, was the visionary. He was the one who thought

we could change the world by making test preparation affordable to everyone. As chief product officer, I was more practical and risk averse. I would always ask: How are we going to do this? OUR COMMITMENT TO the business drew us together. During grad school, we both forwent the traditional summer internships to work on it. We took as much independent study as possible to maximize time spent

 Photograph by RYAN YOUNG

INC.500LAUNCHHOW I DID IT


on Magoosh. After we graduated, a third co-founder left for a job in a big company. But Hansoo and I stuck with it. WE LANDED OUR FIRST paying customers in 2009, but we had a hard

time getting many more. We had high hopes for a partnership with an online GMAT forum that promoted our product to its audience. But that delivered only about 10 percent of the business we’d anticipated.

grinding it out, but we don’t have the resources to turn this company into what it could be.” I said, “I’d be happy with a small company with five or six people and $1 million in sales.” He said, “But we are capable of so much more.” I said, “I respect that. Maybe you should move on in this way, and I can move on to something else.” He said, “I’m not letting you not do this. And I’m not letting you think small.” He persuaded me. WE STARTED FUNDRAISING that November. Hansoo built the relation-

BY THE FALL OF 2010, we were making about $10,000 a month and

spending down prize money from some business-plan competitions. It was not enough to sustain our expenses and grow traffic. One day, we took a two-hour walk around campus while Hansoo tried to persuade me we needed to raise money. He said, “Look, we can keep

“Hansoo was the visionary. I was more practical and risk averse.”

ships with investors, but he made me come to the meetings. At one point, he said, “You can no longer just come with me. You have to be part of it.” I said, “Can’t you do it, and I will think about the business?” He said, “The two of us together are better than each of us individually.” He made me read books about pitching and power dynamics. We practiced together so we knew exactly who would talk when. He got me to a point where I became very comfortable talking to investors. We raised $500,000 from six or seven angel investors. By the end of 2011, we were down to about $100,000 and burning $30,000 a month. We started fundraising again. Then, around Christmas, Hansoo was told he had a rare lung cancer. I was in shock. “What can I do for you?” I asked him. “What should we do about the company?” HANSOO STOPPED COMING INTO THE OFFICE. Once or twice a week, I would walk over to the apartment he shared with his fiancée to see how he was doing and update him on our progress. Even after he could no longer work, he remained my thought partner. I had to do the fundraising alone, and it was nerveracking. It’s a good thing Hansoo had dragged me to all those meetings, because at least the investors knew who I was. For those who didn’t know me well, Hansoo’s absence raised some red flags. But one who did know me said, “I believe in this company, and I’m willing to give you another $50,000.” That helped build confidence in the rest. I raised $250,000. FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS, I believed Hansoo would get better, that he would come back to work. When it became clear he wouldn’t, I thought, OK, I have to keep moving down this path myself. We had four employees at the time. If I turned back, what would happen to them? What would happen to Hansoo’s legacy?

Virtual Study Hall

Magoosh is a field leveler, making test prep affordable—and fun—so rich kids have less of an edge in higher-ed admissions. Its playful online study programs and apps (above) cost a fraction of those offered by the likes of Kaplan—and have attracted a community of 150,000 Magooshers from 150 countries. The company says 10 percent of students taking the GRE and GMAT are paying customers, a number that CEO Bhavin Parikh expects to double in two years. 40 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

AS CEO, I SOMETIMES WONDER whether we are growing

fast enough. I am still somewhat risk averse, so I have felt like we are probably not. I know if Hansoo were here, he would be pushing us even more. And Hansoo set the foundation for our culture—the weekly one-on-one meetings with employees, the transparency, codifying our values. I loved what he did, and I have run with it. AS YOU GROW, there are always challenges with people. Are we hiring the right ones? Sometimes, you have to fire people or they decide to leave. That’s when being the CEO can be very lonely. Then I think, Man, I wish he were here.

INC.500LAUNCHHOW I DID IT

COURTESY MAGOOSH



WE STARTED TO GROW QUICKLY in May 2012. Hansoo passed away the following March. He got to see that first year of great growth. Together with his fiancée, I created a fellowship in his honor for students at Haas who want to start companies.


W

E

E YOUR W V O LO SMALL BUSINESS MAVEN

RK

RAKIA REYNOLDS Owner, Skai Blue Media, a fast-growing PR firm

Dell recommends Windows 10 Pro.

The XPS 13 with an Intel® Core™ i7 processor has the performance and all-day battery life to keep up with Rakia Reynolds. That’s why PCMag named it Editors’ Choice. Learn more at Dell.com/BusinessLaptops or consult with a small business expert at 877-414-3355.

Intel Inside®. Powerful Productivity Outside.

XPS 13

*XPS is a trademark of Dell Inc. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Intel, the Intel Logo, Intel Inside, Intel Core, and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Screens simulated, subject to change; Apps sold separately, availability may vary.


ACCIDENTS WORTH AVOIDING Where Workplace Injuries Happen and What They Cost Your Company No employers want to see their workers injured on the job, but few are aware of just how costly accidents can be. The costs of workplace injuries in the U.S. each year are staggering. INDIRECT COSTS Hidden costs of injuries, including loss of productivity and hiring temporary workers, can add more than $2 for every $1 of direct costs

DIRECT COSTS $51.06 Billion: Annual cost of the top ten causes of the most disabling workplace injuries in the U.S.

$1.85B Struck against object or equipment: such as a worker walking into a drawer.

$1.82B

$1.97B

Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks: such as frequent use of computer keyboard or mouse

Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects: such as getting a part of the body caught in equipment gears or rollers

$5.31B

$10.17B

Struck by object or equipment: such as an object falling on a worker from above

Falls on the same level: such as slipping and falling on a wet floor

$2.35B

$4.15B

Slip or trip without fall: injuries resulting from tripping over an object or resisting a fall

Other exertions or bodily reactions: injuries from crawling, bending, reaching, twisting, climbing, kneeling, or walking

$15.08B

$2.96B

^ŽƾĆ&#x152;Ä?Ä&#x17E;Ĺ&#x161;ĆŠĆ&#x2030; ĹŻĹľĹ?Ä?Ĺ˝ t^/ώϏϭϲ

Overexertion involving outside source: injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing

Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle: such as an accident while driving on the highway

$5.40B Falls to a lower level: such as tripping and falling down a stairwell

Keeping Your Employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and Your Small Businessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Safe The costs of workplace-related injuries can be especially damaging to small- and medium-sized businesses, where every loss of employee time, inventory, and capital means more. Creating a culture of safety not only helps protect your employees, it can also improve workplace morale and productivity and save your business from financial hardship.


Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re only satisfied when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfect. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re only satisfied when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re protected. As a small business owner, no detail about your company is too small. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we take the time to provide the right solution for the risks you may face. At Liberty Mutual Insurance, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re SURXGWRZRUNZLWKEXVLQHVVHVOLNH\RXUVWRKHOSRXUFXVWRPHUVÃ&#x20AC;RXULVK<RXKDYHDSDVVLRQIRU your business. We have a passion for protecting it. To learn more, talk to your independent agent or broker today or visit libertymutualgroup.com/details. BUSINESS OWNERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S POLICY

|

COMMERCIAL AUTO

|

GENERAL LIABILITY

|

PROPERTY

|

WORKERS COMPENSATION

@LibertyB2B

/LEHUW\0XWXDO,QVXUDQFH,QVXUDQFHXQGHUZULWWHQE\/LEHUW\0XWXDO,QVXUDQFH&R%RVWRQ0$RULWVDI¿OLDWHVRUVXEVLGLDULHV


C E O S U RV E Y

How Dreamers Become Doers Ambition, audacity, and a tireless work ethic are just a few

of the traits shared by owners of fast-growing businesses. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Inc. 500 founders reveal how they got their starts, overcame their toughest obstacles, and juggle company growth, employee motivation, and big-picture political uncertainty.  Illustrations by OLIVER MUNDAY

The Making of an Inc. 500 Entrepreneur

SIBLINGS 22%

The leaders of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fastest-growing private companies are a battletested and nimble group. Many learned their entrepreneurial craft from family members, and 29 percent started their ďŹ rst company before they could legally drink. Success, though, often takes patience: Only one of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s respondents is younger than 25, and the vast majority are 35 or older. Even the most experienced, successful leaders are still sacriďŹ cing for their companies: 24 percent waited up to two years to start taking a salary, and 5 percent still donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. What did you do before you became an entrepreneur?

JOB IN THIS FIELD JOB IN OTHER FIELD COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL MILITARY GOVERNMENT

41% 38% 12% 4% 4% 1%

If you started your business with a partner, how well did you know him or her?

CLOSE FRIEND 49%

FORMER COLLEAGUE 37%

FAMILY MEMBER 18%

SCHOOL/COLLEGE CLASSMATE 14%

INVESTOR/FINANCIAL PARTNER 6%

Is this the ďŹ rst company youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve started?

YES 32%

AUNTS, UNCLES, COUSINS 31%

Entrepreneurship runs in the family: Almost half of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Inc. 500 CEOs are at least second-generation entrepreneurs, with many others citing other family role models.

PARENTS 48%

NO 68%

Take Considered Risks When starting a business in a sector with outdated, conďŹ&#x201A;icting, or unmeetable regulations, 58% preferred to ask for forgiveness, 42% to ask for permission.

PERCENT said fear of failure was the most common concern when starting a business. Worries about others near to them and money also weighed on CEOsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; minds. RESPONSIBILITY FOR EMPLOYEES 39% FAMILY CONCERNS 37% INCURRING DEBT 33%

Have you parted ways with your original co-founder?

SOME HIGH SCHOOL 1% HIGH SCHOOL 2-YEAR COLLEGE

YES 16%

12% 3% NO 84%

4 4 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

GRANDPARENTS 30%

CHILDREN 4%

13%

6%

How much education did you receive? 

4-YEAR COLLEGE

38% 7%

ENTRENCHED COMPETITORS 28% LACK OF RELEVANT EXPERIENCE 25% LOSING RETIREMENT SAVINGS 11%

BUSINESS SCHOOL

OTHER GRADUATE SCHOOL

16% 54%

 How much education do you think entrepreneurs should receive?

27% 16%

7%


How much did you spend to start your first business?

The Secrets of Successful, Fast-Growing Businesses Today—and Plans for Tomorrow

LESS THAN $5,000

Want to join the ranks of the Inc. 500? Solve a problem for other entrepreneurs: 51 percent of respondents named small and midsize businesses as their primary customers, followed by big companies and then consumers. But internally, CEOs are focused on individuals; they named finding and retaining talented employees their number-one obstacle to growth, followed by worries about managing cash flow and beating back domestic competition.

48%

$5,000–$9,999 11%

$10,000–$24,999 11%

$25,000—$49,999 10%

How does your company collect feedback on its products or services?

$50,000–$100,000 9%

COMPANY WEBSITE 46%

MORE THAN $100,000 11%

SOCIAL MEDIA 56%

FOCUS GROUPS 19% EMAIL SURVEYS 56% PHONE CALLS VISITING CLIENTS 57% 65%

PERCENT used personal savings to start companies. Other sources of startup capital: CREDIT CARDS FAMILY LOANS ANGEL CAPITAL HOME EQUITY PERSONAL BANK LOANS BUSINESS BANK LOANS

The most important social media platform for your business is:

FACEBOOK 54% LINKEDIN 43% TWITTER 24% YOUTUBE 14% INSTAGRAM 12% OTHER 9% DON’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA 8% PINTEREST 5% SNAPCHAT 2% The top industries you consider ripe for disruption:

HEALTH CARE

ENERGY

PERCENT said attracting and retaining talent was the biggest challenge facing leaders today, ahead of outside distractions and internal growth.

29% 22% 11% 9% 8% 5%

STAYING FOCUSED MANAGING FAST GROWTH REMAINING COMPETITIVE KEEPING UP WITH RAPID TECHNOLOGY CHANGES

Have you ever applied for an online loan?

YES 13%

21% 19% 9%

TRANSPORTATION

BANKING

7%

Where do you find new ideas?

NO 87%

Your primary goal is to ...

EDUCATION

LEADERSHIP TEAM 65%

Have you ever turned down VC funding?

SCALE 86%

If you have more than one company, what outcomes have you experienced?

61%

EMPLOYEES

YES

46%

48%

CUSTOMERS (directly)

NO

45%

13%

NEVER SOUGHT

YOURSELF

SELL 11%

39%

CUSTOMERS (via sales team) 19%

VENDORS 13%

SUSTAIN 3%

R&D TEAM 10%

RETAIN OWNERSHIP 58% SOLD TO ANOTHER COMPANY36% SHUT DOWN AND REPAID 22% INVESTORS SOLD TO CO-OWNERS OR 16% EMPLOYEES SHUT DOWN AND INVESTORS LOST MONEY 9% TRANSFERRED TO FAMILY 4% MEMBER IPO 2%

INC.500LAUNCH


Finding, and Keeping, the Right People Inc. 500 CEOs are thinking ever more imaginatively about how to hire and retain employees, the majority of whom are full time. (And despite the boom in drones, self-driving cars, Pokémon Go, and artificial intelligence, most CEOs don’t expect robots or related technology to replace their human workers anytime soon.)

Many respondents said they hire a diverse array of talent, or at least have a balance of male and female employees. While some Inc. 500 companies have little racial diversity, others have hired employees from all backgrounds. GENDER ETHNICITY

MALE EMPLOYEES FEMALE EMPLOYEES

WHITE BLACK HISPANIC ASIAN OTHER

Most companies offer the standard medical and dental benefits. But other perks are becoming common in the flexible, oftenremote economy:

WORKING FROM HOME 65%

FREE FOOD AND OTHER IN-OFFICE AMENITIES 65% Mind the gap: What’s the salary difference between your lowest-paid full-time employee and your highest-paid full-time employee?

LESS THAN $20,000 $50,000-$99,999 MORE THAN $100,000

20%

$20,000-$49,999

23%

34%

15%

DON’T KNOW/PREFER NOT TO ANSWER

Training Matters About 89 percent prefer to develop employees by giving them different jobs, and 61 percent provide outside training. However, only 28 percent have a formal leadership development program, and only 29 percent reimburse employee tuition.

UNLIMITED VACATION 23%

GYM MEMBERSHIPS 20%

ILLUSTRATIONS: OLIVER MUNDAY

8%

EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT 38%

Work-life balance is something 62 percent strive to achieve—but only 60 percent actively promote it for employees.

46 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500LAUNCH


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BUILT FOR BUSINESS? Internet. TV. WiFi. Voice. Ethernet. Our portfolio of business-grade products is built to move your company forward. comcastbusiness.com | 800-501-6000


What You Want to Hear From the Countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Next CEO Inc. 500 CEOs are generally optimistic about the economy, if divided on speciďŹ c policy questions. Many cite lower taxes and job creation as the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest needs, although some also worry about renewable energy and student debt. A few months before the U.S. presidential election, several respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their electoral options; as of June, more of our CEOs planned to vote for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump, though many praised the Republican presidential nominee for his business record.

Do you expect 2017 to be better or worse than 2016 for ...

YOUR COMPANY BETTER 100%

What policy positions are you looking for from the 2016 presidential candidates?

THE ECONOMY BETTER 64%

REFORM TAX POLICY 65% WORSE 36%

YOUR INDUSTRY

CREATE JOBS 51%

Whom do you plan to vote for in 2016? 

HILLARY CLINTON 40%

DONALD TRUMP 30%

BETTER 80% OTHER 30%

WORSE 20% DEMOCRAT 22%

REPUBLICAN 34%

Where do you stand on the following issues:

PERCENT believe that Trump is a good entrepreneur, citing his â&#x20AC;&#x153;tenacity,â&#x20AC;? and success at â&#x20AC;&#x153;personal brandingâ&#x20AC;? and marketing. Those who disagree criticize his multiple bankruptcies and his management style.

Do you support a minimum wage increase at the ...

FEDERAL LEVEL

STATE LEVEL

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT 23% OTHER ISSUES 57% REDUCE THE DEFICIT INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE 52% REDUCE REGULATIONS 46% REDUCE EDUCATION COSTS 33% REFORM WALL STREET 26%

48 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

The darker the square, the more frequently this answer was chosen. STRONGLY DISAGREE

STRONGLY AGREE

Current U.S. immigration policies harm entrepreneurs and should be made more restrictive.

Businesses should strive to promote social good, not just maximize proďŹ ts.

YES 65%

YES 57%

FIX THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT 30%

OTHER 11%

Small businesses are so important to the U.S. economy that they deserve special treatment under the law.

NO 43%

NO 35%

About 40 percent are already tackling changes in the states. A handful said they will cut back on staff as a result, though some praised the minimumwage hikes: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Higher wages mean higher productivity,â&#x20AC;? one answered.

The Affordable Care Act harms small businesses and should be repealed.

Entrepreneurs are born, not made.

INC.500LAUNCH

ILLUSTRATIONS: OLIVER MUNDAY; IMAGES: GETTY

INVEST IN CLEAN ENERGY 42%

INDEPENDENT 33%

 What is your political affiliation?

ALLOW TALENTED IMMIGRANTS IN AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO STAY 45%


MEH

Not on your itinerary. Designed for those who love open spaces, open thinking and open expression, this is where travel creates possibilities. Where style is necessary. Connectivity keeps up with you. Social scenes are vibrant. And the only direction is forward. This is Aloft Hotels. Different. By Design.

Book now at alofthotels.com 100+ hotels around the globe

6WDUZRRG+RWHOV 5HVRUWV:RUOGZLGH,QF$OO5LJKWV5HVHUYHG3UHIHUUHG*XHVW63*$ORIWDQGWKHLUORJRVDUHWKHWUDGHPDUNVRI6WDUZRRG+RWHOV 5HVRUWV:RUOGZLGH,QFRULWVDI½OLDWHV


OUTDOOR WARRIOR “Seeing homes burn just broke my heart,” says Irene Rhodes, the founder and CEO of Consumer Fire Products. Launched in 1998, her company has developed a system to deliver fire-repellent insulating foam that’s saved thousands of homes from burning in forest fires.

50 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


for this firefighting company, and I was a specialist with the foam—it’s used for both suppressing of and pretreating for fires. If they were going to burn 1,000 acres in the woods, they would send us in there to spray foam 100 feet next to a river or stream—the foam would protect it from burning. You don’t want to burn down to the stream, because the fire hurts the fish and the surrounding ecosystem. I realized that was the answer to the home-protection problem. The foam is biodegradable, and it’s safe for animals, plants, and humans. We just needed to invent a piece of equipment that could automatically distribute it around houses. [See “A Fighting Chance Against Fire,” page 60.]

Irene Rhodes Consumer Fire Products  Three-year growth 1,740.9%  2015 revenue $2 million

Fighting Fire With Foam—and a Résumé That Includes the Space Shuttle Irene Rhodes, founder and CEO of Consumer Fire Products, united her backgrounds in engineering and firefighting to create a system that automatically sprays a biodegradable protective foam onto a house when a wildfire is nearby. Her Eugene, Oregon–based company has grown by beating back the fires that are a year-round threat in some western states. —As told to Victoria Finkle

 I COME FROM A FAMILY OF engineers, and so I just naturally went into electromechanical engineering. I designed underwater sonar equipment, mining equipment, ionization machines—and I was an engineering designer on the space shuttle and the International Space Station. BUT I BECAME disenchanted at being inside, at a drawing board, all day long. I really loved the outdoors—I would water-ski and backpack, go mountain climbing and hiking. It was really difficult for me to stay on the engineering track. So I became a tree climber for a company that did private landscaping work and also contracted for government agencies. I would climb 150-foot fir trees and bring them down. You see, I’m a woman in a man’s

world with all this engineering, landscaping, and tree work. I have no idea why I was built to do those things, but I enjoyed everything I did. I BECAME a seasonal firefighter

with a private company. I had truck-driving experience, so they had me driving a big water truck. For two to three years, I fought fires and continued to climb trees in the off-season. Then I transitioned into landscaping. WHEN I STARTED firefighting, seeing homes burn just broke my heart. So I went back to engineering mode. I was driving the first compressed-air foam truck

AFTER I STARTED MY FAMILY,

I stopped chasing fires and started a landscaping and irrigation company. For the next 10 years, I supported my family while working on the R&D process. I went to business school, where I won a competition that gave me the seed money to start Consumer Fire Products. DESIGNING THE FOAMSAFE SYSTEM

was complex, but not difficult. Some colleagues thought I should go to market before it was fully automatic, but I refused; I didn’t want people to have to stay at their homes to operate it. As a former firefighter, I never want anyone to stay behind in a wildfire. People, property, environment, in that order—public safety is always the priority. EVERYONE now is concerned

about wildfires, and both homeowners and insurance companies are showing greatly increased interest in what we do. We’ve protected thousands of homes that might have otherwise burned. It all came together naturally. Without my realizing it, all the different places I had been in life were leading me up to this moment.  Photograph by NATHANIEL WOOD

INC.500LAUNCH


TH E ALL- N EW TH REE- ROW MA ZDA CX- 9 During the Kamakura period in Japan, mounted archers believed that the key to mastering their skill was to “achieve a oneness” between horse and rider. In Japanese, this is known as jinba ittai, (jin-ba ee-tie) or “horse and rider as one.” And it’s the engineering inspiration for the all-new Mazda CX-9. Oneness is

only achieved

Mounted archers believed in “achieving a oneness” between horse and rider, or jinba ittai.

when the vehicle becomes a natural extension of the driver. So every detail of our new Mazda CX-9 is engineered to create perfect harmony between car and driver. So from the throttle-response, to the driver-centered cockpit, to the agile steering, the principles of jinba ittai live on. Because Driving Matters.

DRIVIN G M ATTE RS®


In the Field

From Carnegie Hall to the hills of Costa Rica, in the mountains of Oregon and along the winding American coastlines, Inc. 500 companies are busy building enterprise. We caught up with some works in progress

 Photograph by MELISSA LYTTLE 54 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


WHEN YOUR SHIP COMES IN Fortress Marine Construction The Winter Garden, Florida, marine-building specialist stays afloat by keeping other things afloat  Inc. 500 rank 361  Three-year growth 1,058.1%  2015 revenue $5 million

 EVERY BOAT needs water. But just like cars, boats also need parking spots— in some cases, big ones. Fortress Marine Construction can build a customdesigned lake dock for your recreational boat—a very good business right now, says CEO Brian Hall—as well as boatlifts and seawalls. Here, Fortress Marine worker Bob Stratton walks back toward land after tightening the bolts of a bumper he just helped install on the dock being constructed on the north side of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, for the ferry Jean Ribault—also known as the Mayport ferry—part of a $5 million transportation-renewal project. —BILL SAPORITO

INC.500LAUNCH


BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY Artist Travel Consultants Amateur musical groups can play Carnegie Hall—but they have to get there first  Inc. 500 rank no. 69  Three-year growth 4,120.6%  2015 revenue $6.3 million

 HOW DO YOU GET to Carnegie Hall? You know the punch line—or you could book a trip via Artist Travel Consultants. The company works in harmony with Distinguished Concerts International New York, a concert producer that pairs qualifying amateur and professional musical groups with luminaries such as conductor Lori Loftus. Both companies were co-founded by musicians Iris Derke and Jonathan Griffith. They figured out a profitable way for less-accomplished people to experience the thrill of performing on a big stage. In June, children’s choirs from around the nation came together to rehearse at Carnegie with Loftus for a concert, “Songs of Inspiration and Hope” (pictured). Look, Mom, we’ve made the big time. —BILL SAPORITO

 Photograph by PHILIP MONTGOMERY 56 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


INC.500LAUNCH


 Photograph by MICHAEL GEORGE 58 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


A BETTER WAY TO BREW Thrive Farmers The company’s business model increases revenue for growers and gets their beans to more consumers  Inc. 500 rank 19  Three-year growth 8,577%  2015 revenue $23.2 million

 SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Michael

Jones was catching up with his father-in-law, a coffee farmer in Jamaica. “I found out that he received $4 per pound for coffee that’s sold for upward of $80 in Japan,” he says. That shocking disparity prompted Jones, a veteran entrepreneur, to co-found Thrive in 2011. Farmers such as Franklin Garbanzo Ceciliano (pictured) in Costa Rica get a greater portion of coffee sales. “It’s a revenuesharing model based on full transparency and partnership,” Jones says. Thrive works with farmers in Central and South America and is eyeing Africa and Asia. It may need them. A 2014 partnership with Chick-fil-A demonstrated Thrive’s ability to meet growing demand. There may be a lot more sharing to come. —SHEILA MARIKAR

INC.500LAUNCH


A FIGHTING CHANCE AGAINST FIRE Consumer Fire Products From Eugene, Oregon, an active defense against the menace of wildfires  Inc. 500 rank 229  Three-year growth 1,740.9%  2015 revenue $2 million

 DESIGN ENGINEER and firefighter Irene Rhodes has figured out how to save property from wildfires (see “Fighting Fire With Foam,” page 50): Her company installs a foam shooter and fire detectors at clients’ homes; when flames approach, the mechanism springs into action. “We infused the foam with compressed air. That made the bubbles bigger and the foam drier so that it can actually cling to vertical siding,” she says. That moist stickiness prevents embers from igniting the siding. Cost: $25,000 and up, depending on property size and location. The system is sustainable and ecofriendly, designed to protect without harm to plants, animals, or water quality. —VICTORIA FINKLE

 Photograph by NATHANIEL WOOD 60 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


INC.500LAUNCH


I NC . B R A N D E D C O N T E N T / AV I AT I O N

UP the Way You Fly

THE MOST INTELLIGENT PRIVATE AVIATION SOLUTION

Kenny Dichter first revolutionized the private aviation industry 15 years ago, when he and his partners introduced the first ever 25-hour jet card. More than a decade later, Dichter believed that existing programs (fractional, card, charter, etc.) were not addressing today’s consumer needs. He was not done blue-skying some novel concepts about private jet travel. In 2013, he and Bill Allard founded Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation solution that is leveraging a unique fleet of aircraft, unsurpassed service, and technology, and in the process, democratizing the industry. For a onetime membership fee of $17,500 and very reasonable annual dues, Wheels Up members gain access to a fleet of more than 60 aircraft, which consists of the 8-passenger Beachcraft King Air 350i and 8-passenger Citation Excel/XLS aircraft, on which they can fly for $3,950/ hour and $6,950/hour, respectively, with up to 24 hours’ notice. “There are untold numbers of people who can benefit from private aviation, but the existing solutions—large-scale aircraft, fractional products that require a big capital outlay, on-demand charters, or buying your own aircraft—just aren’t right for them,” Dichter explains. “We came up with the concept of assembling an exclusive fleet of aircraft ideally suited to their needs, made available at a fraction of the cost of traditional fractional or jet card programs.” Wheels Up has tried to simplify private travel and offer the most enjoyable member experience possible. Joining the club and getting started is easy. “Members don’t have to commit to any level of flight time or minimum spend. They pay their membership fee, and then they can fly as much or as little as they

like, paying only for the actual time they are on the aircraft,” Dichter says. “We believe our pricing model and mix of aircraft make Wheels Up the most intelligent solution in private aviation.” To further enhance its value proposition, Wheels Up continues to roll out new features and programs accessible through its proprietary members-only mobile app. A Ride Share program, for example, allows members to reduce the cost of flying private by sharing flights with other members when they have empty seats on a flight. The app will post all relevant flight information and send out an alert to other members. “Not only does this approach lower the cost of flying privately, but it also promotes the concept of ‘social aviation,’ making it easy for members to fly with other members and meet like-minded new people,” Dichter says. And then there is the Wheels Up “Hot Flights” program, which gives members the opportunity to book empty-leg flights on Wheels Up and partner aircraft, including larger-cabin aircraft and helicopters. Dozens of available flights are posted daily on the Wheels Up app, updated in real time, and are available for purchase for as low as $320 (including taxes and fees) for the entire aircraft. Wheels Up recently launched their Shuttle program, which allows members to book seats on private Wheels Up Shuttles (operated by Gama Aviation) going to and from popular destinations and events. The program kicked off with flights servicing popular vacation destinations in the Northeast, such as Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, from New York City and Boston. Further expansion is planned for additional East and West Coast destinations and around popular sporting events. Q


 THE BIG TURN

Marijuana Business Daily was our third launch. We started with other trade publications. But by 2011, a year into it, we found that legal marijuana was a bigger market than we had first imagined, and we knew if we didn’t seize this opportunity, we would miss out on something huge. We reached 1,000 paid subscribers by August 2012, right before Colorado and Washington State passed recreational marijuana initiatives. In 2013, the feds released more guidance for our industry and we reached 5,000 subscribers and a readership of entrepreneurs ranging from dispensary owners to growers, investors, and infused-product manufacturers. Today, we have 36,000 subscribers.

 LOWS AND HIGHS

MJBizDaily wasn’t a runaway success. When we started, the industry was lying low. We hired our editor, Chris Walsh, in 2010, but he had trouble getting sources because business owners thought he was a narc. Also, dispensary owners didn’t have budgets to pay for benchmark reports and business information, so our first products didn’t sell. But then things turned around: Marijuana became part of the mainstream. We joke that if you’re in this industry, you experience marijuana years, which are like dog years. One quarter in the marijuana business is like one year in any other.

Cassandra Farrington Marijuana Business Daily  Three-year growth 1,288.2%  2015 revenue $7 million

THE WEED WIRE A former Citigroup projects VP planned on co-founding a niche trade-publishing house. Instead, she became Denver’s high priestess of marijuana business intelligence. —As told to Will Yakowicz   WHAT WE DO

In 2010, I left my job at Citigroup to co-found a business-to-business publishing house with my former boss Anne Holland. We wanted to create a how-to publication for legal marijuana dispensary owners before they were part of Colorado’s economy. I knew the industry was going to be big. Many of the entrepreneurs were coming out of the gray market and had no experience in running a business aboveground. The original idea was to cover things such as why it’s important to file taxes. We launched at the same time the federal government ramped up enforcement on the marijuana business in Colorado and California. Very quickly, that dispensary market had no interest in how-to information.

NO GREEN CEILING

Women have a unique opportunity to walk in the door and participate on all levels in this business. According to one of our studies, women hold 36 percent of executive positions in the cannabis industry, along with 63 percent of senior positions at testing labs. Legal marijuana is a harbinger for that new normal, where the white-male hierarchies are broken down. Women and minorities are able to influence, shape, and define the field in ways we have not seen before in business. When you think about it from broad strokes, you see how massive and disruptive the cannabis industry is becoming: from textiles to building materials with industrial hemp, medical and nutritional products with medical cannabis and recreational products. The opportunity is all of these sectors put together—the sky is truly the limit.  Photograph by MORGAN RACHEL LEVY

64 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500LAUNCH


L AU N C H PA D

Thomas Goetz ••••• with the fact that this state of disheveled affairs may be semi-permanent, and that I had better figure out a way to deal with it—or else accept the idea that I just won’t. This, of course, is the classic dilemma of worklife balance. And yeah, I read plenty of warnings beforehand about how difficult it would be to manage regular life while also managing the million and one details that come with launching a company. But there’s nothing like landing in the FEW YEARS INTO A STARTUP, one thing I’ve learned: slop with both shoes to help you truly recognize Running a new company is a great way to push what you’ve stepped into. aside all those unimportant distractions in your For me, the work-life struggle hasn’t been as life. You know, like paying income taxes. simple as spending too much time at the office Whoops. For years, I was a scrupulous April or the classic worry about neglecting my family. I’ve 15 filer, but ever since I co-founded Iodine, my always made it a priority to be at home for dinner digital health company, that IRS deadline has most nights, and most nights I am. Rather, it’s been breezed by like a highway mile marker, along with more of a muddling through, with some hazy sense so many other previous priorities. Thank god, and Uncle Sam, for that I’ve lost my to-do list along the way. Waking extensions. Pre-startup, I used to hit the gym, pay bills promptly, up at 4 a.m. and realizing that I forgot to register keep the house in good repair. Post-startup, those things seem like my kids for summer camp is not the way to thrive. romantic indulgences. Hell, even changing a light bulb seems out of So, how to regain some sense of balance? I’ve the question these days. By my count, there are four or more that are adopted three basic strategies, principles that help burned out around my house. (At least I’m conserving electricity.) me keep things in perspective and get things done. So far, I’ve assured myself, and my spouse, that this is just a First, I share my work at home. For years, I kept phase, part of the short-term growing pains of startup life. But now, my work at work, sparing my spouse the minutiae two—erp, better make that three—years in, I’m starting to reckon of daily office life. No more. Now I share everything: the small triumphs, the petty grievances, the strategic opportunities. It helps her understand what all the fuss is about, and she’s been generous Thomas Goetz is a co-founder and insightful about the challenges. It’s one of the best things I’ve done. and the CEO of Iodine, a digital Second, I make time to sweat the small stuff. Early on in startup life, I realized the only way health startup based in San Francisco. He is also the author to get routine administrative tasks off my plate was to set aside Mondays as the one day to of The Remedy. Follow him on take care of them. Now I do the same with the life side of the ledger. Each morning, I take an Twitter: @tgoetz. hour before work to wrestle with mundane chores like bills and taxes; Saturday mornings I reserve for personal errands and logistics. It’s not the most fun way to start the weekend, but carving out this time makes it possible to get more done. And finally, I’m making peace with the new reality. Three years in, it’s apparent to me that this problem isn’t going away. Like so many other entrepreneurs, I’m going to contend with too many demands and too little time, at the office and at home. Some things are going to slip— and that’s OK. At least that’s what I tell myself. I also tell myself that it’s working. Yes, I know, these aren’t necessarily practical, plug-and-play solutions that you can apply to your situation; they’re more like coping mechanisms. But as any entrepreneur knows, coping may be the most important skill you can develop.

66 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500LAUNCH

CODY PICKENS

How I (Sort of) Conquered My Work-Life Imbalance The IRS will give you an extension. For everything else, try these guidelines


IT’S LIKE READING A 5 -STA R R E V I E W. O F T H E R ESTAU R A N T YO U J UST O PEN ED.

I T ’S L I K E T HAT. TH E 2017 M K Z. Every so often, life affords you a moment of pure exhilaration—a fact that hasn’t been lost on the new Lincoln MKZ. With its striking presence and smooth delivery of 400 horsepower,* you’re in for an unforgettable drive no matter where the road may take you.

Lincoln.com/MKZ

*2017 MKZ equipped with available 3.0L engine and AWD. Horsepower rating achieved with 93-octane fuel.


~ D AV AVID ID G ON ONZA ZALE LEZ Z A ll llst stat ate e Ag Agen ency cy O wn wner er sin ince c 200 ce 003 3

Fifteen years ago, David skipped buying a new car and, instead, invested in being an Allstate Agency Owner. A good choice that’s paid off. Today, David’s business has nearly tripled in size. His hard work and devotion to clients have helped David and his wife, Vanessa, enjoy a wonderful life together. One that finally includes that new car he’s always wanted. David has built a good life by staying true to himself and the people he helps protect. Now you can, too. Talk to your local Allstate recruiter today at 877-875-3466.

• OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS • EARN WHAT YOU’RE REALLY WORTH

H ear more of David’s story at

AllstateAgent.com

Subject to all terms and conditions as outlined in the Allstate R3001 Exclusive Agency Agreement and Exclusive Agency program materials. Allstate agents are not franchisees; rather they are exclusive agent independent contractors and are not employed by Allstate. Allstate is an Equal Opportunity Company. Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. In New Jersey, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company, Bridgewater, NJ. © 2015 Allstate Insurance Co.


Grow Bigger.

Deciding when to pivot PG.96



STYLING BY ROSCOE BETSILL

BUILDING THE PERFECT PIE Scott Svenson and his wife, Ally, started two successful restaurant chains in the United Kingdom before taking a stab at pizza back home with their Bellevue, Washington—based Mod Pizza, founded in 2008. Instead of being waited on, diners design their 11-inch pizza or salad at a counter with a “builder.” (Many builders are ex-cons or chronically unemployed people, whom the Svensons are committed to helping find better lives.) Mod’s more than 150 restaurants use a dough that’s part Neapolitan, part New York City, and formulated not to droop. “It’s five to six minutes,” says Svenson, from ordering “to when you have it in your hands.” —SHEILA MARIKAR Mod Pizza  Inc. 500 rank 373  Three-year growth 1,028.8%  2015 revenue $65.2 million

•••••

Photograph by VICTOR PRADO

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 69


Making America Great

70 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


TARTING A successful business is tough. Even tougher: starting a successful business after emigrating to another country. All of these founders did just that, moving thousands of miles from home to where their talents and drive would be most appreciated. “The spirit of entrepreneurship in America is unparalleled,” says Vinita Negi, the New Delhi–born founder of Trigent Solutions (No. 369 on this year’s Inc. 500), a D.C. area–based business and IT consultancy. “There’s no comparison to what it’s like in India, or even other countries.” They still call it the American dream. These founders show us why.

By JILL KRASNY  Photographs by EDWIN TSE

 THE EDUCATOR Guido Kovalskys Nearpod  Inc. 500 rank 297  Three-year growth 1,320.2%  2015 revenue $3.3 million

A native Argentine, he’d emigrated in 1996 to the U.S. to attend business school at UC Berkeley, and afterward scored a job with the consulting giant McKinsey, where he was readying himself to make a big presentation. Then, an Indian colleague took him aside. “Guido, they’ll notice you’re a foreigner,” he said. (They would, given Kovalskys’s thick accent.) “But you have to believe they are thinking, ‘If this guy is here, he must be really, really good.’” That steadied his nerves, and made him see the power in his upbringing. Today, given Kovalskys’s leading-man looks, easy charm, and strong résumé— his first company, Bionexo, which was founded in 2000, remains a dominant

GUIDO KOVALSKYS WAS NERVOUS.

INC.500INSPIRATION CHRONICLES


online health care platform in Spain and his native South America—it’s hard to imagine any investor rejecting him. Still, he’s heard “We’re not into it” far too many times from Silicon Valley’s top VCs. RANTED, KOVALSKYS’S company Nearpod is based in Hallandale Beach, Florida, just north of Miami and about as far from Silicon Valley as you can get while remaining in the continental U.S. But that’s fine with Kovalskys, who long ago grew accustomed to being an outsider. He was raised in Buenos Aires. His mother was Sicilian, and his father, an economics professor, was born to Lithuanian and Polish parents. “They spoke different languages at home,” he recalls, “and were really disconnected from their roots.” His many friends had similar backgrounds— thanks to the waves of Italian, German, Russian, and Spanish immigrants who flocked to Argentina in the early 20th century—so he mostly took his multicultural background for granted. Until, at least, that day at McKinsey. In 2003, Kovalskys, who’s now 47, co-founded the Miami-based software developer Panarea Digital—named for an island near where his mother was born—and hired engineers from Argentina and Brazil. “The second client,” Kovalskys recalls, “was a company called Disney.” By 2010, Panarea Digital had a good business making mobile apps and games. But Kovalskys started thinking: What if he could bring software into the classroom so teachers could sync their lessons with students’ devices, keep those students engaged, and then get real-time feedback on their mastery of each lesson with polls or quizzes? The K–12 schools around where he lived were already using iPads. “It seemed like a huge opportunity,” says Kovalskys, a father of two. After he’d devoted more than a year to research, a free version of Nearpod launched in Apple’s App Store in the spring of 2012. “On the first day, we had thousands of downloads,” Kovalskys says, marveling at the memory of his team watching the numbers mount on a giant TV. (Nearpod—which currently consists of programs incorporating 360-degree images, text, and virtual reality—sells individual lessons to teachers for an average of $2.99; schools pay roughly $2,000 to $5,000 a year for bulk licenses.) Securing funding in Silicon Valley proved much harder than launching with a bang. Yes, some teachers are reluctant to bring technology into their classes. But some of Nearpod’s earliest sales came from rural areas, “not in New York or San Francisco, where they’re used to sophisticated accents,” jokes Kovalskys. Still, “if you are not a Silicon Valley–based entrepreneur, what you’ve done before doesn’t matter,” Kovalskys continues. “People don’t give you credit for the stuff you’ve done elsewhere. Investors would tell me, ‘You are not here. You are in Florida—in a market that we still don’t really see.’” In 2012, Kovalskys secured a fellowship at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, aiming to beef up his Silicon Valley cred while still growing Nearpod. It helped open doors to angel investors, who contributed $750,000 in seed funding. A stint in Stanford’s incubator, StartX, continued the momentum. By 2016, he and Nearpod had the kinds of reputations—more than 10,000 schools and 3.5 million students were using the platform each month—that are impossible to ignore. In May, the company raised an additional $10 million; investors included Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and Intuit co-founder Scott Cook. Through it all, Nearpod has maintained its “Spanglish vibe,” as one employee puts it. “Being an immigrant,” Kovalskys says, gives you “a wider view of the world, which you can apply to the product and services you build.” JILL KRASNY is a freelance writer based in New York City.

7 2 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

THE WHEELERDEALER Angela Romero Central Closeout  Inc. 500 rank 398  Three-year growth 961%  2015 revenue $4.4 million

 “BEING A WOMAN is hard in this busi-

ness. An immigrant? Even worse,” says Angela Romero, who founded Central Closeout, which wholesales liquidated beauty and health products, in 2010. The Colombian native, 47, encountered suppliers who didn’t want to deal with her “simply because I’m a woman” and others who imposed strict two-week repayment terms on her business when competitors received 60 days. But Romero, who tapped her savings to bootstrap Central Closeout from her tiny, one-bedroom apartment, no longer lets slights like those get to her. Today, she manages 14 employees and a 17,000-square-foot warehouse that holds everything from Almay Matte Finish Pressed Powder to OPI nail polish, which she sells to buyers worldwide, and especially in Latin America, her Hollywood, Florida– based company’s biggest market. A move into selling new cosmetics could further her reach. “You know what gives me confidence?” she asks. “Knowing where I am right now.”


INC.500INSPIRATION CHRONICLES


I will

get the equipment to carry a greater workload.

Imagine what you can do with the right business credit and personal guidance. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work together to discover your business credit options and how they can directly fuel your business goals. With our online resources, Credit Finder Tool, and skilled bankers, together we can help sustain and grow your business responsibly. Explore your options and apply at wellsfargoworks.com/credit.


All credit decisions subject to credit approval. Š 2016 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC.


 THE TECH TITAN Dheeraj Pandey Nutanix  Inc. 500 rank 86  Three-year growth 3,565.8%  2015 revenue $241.4 million

76 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

IN 1997, DHEERAJ PANDEY arrived in Austin with two suitcases and $900 in his pocket. He had just taken the first flight of his life, from Bihar, “the most lawless and poorest state of India,” he says, to pursue a PhD in computer science at the University of Texas. But in his second year, Pandey dropped out to become an engineer instead. After nine years in Silicon Valley, including nearly five at Oracle—and surviving the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000— Pandey was ready to strike out on his own. With his green card and no more than $100,000 in savings, Pandey started Nutanix in 2009, with a goal to “make IT infrastructure simple and elegant.” Geared toward the world’s largest companies, Nutanix, based in San Jose, folds computing, storage, and virtualization resources—which allow customers to “see” their IT systems—into two standalone products. Today, he has more than 2,000 employees in 40 countries, and last December Nutanix filed to go public. “The biggest challenge is personal,” says the 41-year-old Pandey, who’s come a very long way since landing in the U.S. “Anytime I feel like there’s too much to lose, I feel like I’m not taking risks.”

INC.500INSPIRATION CHRONICLES


THE PROBLEM SOLVER Radek Maly Highland Project Logistics  Inc. 500 rank 23  Three-year growth 7,903.6%  2015 revenue $8 million

 ONCE RADEK MALY understood

that the profits at his job in Prague were supporting the Communist government, he knew he had to leave. “That was a deal I could not live with,” he says. At 23, he bought a ticket to Greece and never went back. His first job in America, in Atlanta in 1988, was washing dishes for an ice-cream shop for $3.50 an hour. Years later, after working for several freightforwarding companies, Maly, who’s now 52, founded Highland Forwarding. It succeeded, and after recognizing a hole in the market for handling oversize cargo, he self-funded the startup of Highland Project Logistics, in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in 2011. “We’re dealing with international clients who deal with international businesses, so it adds credibility when you come from another country,” he says. There are flagpoles on Highland Project’s lawn, so Maly’s eight employees can fly their own flags, and foreign visitors are greeted by their country’s flag and a rendition of their national anthem. “That helps us get new business,” Maly says. “They see how much we value the partnership.”

78 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500INSPIRATION CHRONICLES


Working van. Priced for the working man. The Sprinter WORKER can hold over 3,500 lbs. of payload and has 319 cu. ft. of cargo volume. With service intervals of up to 20,000 miles,1 you’re looking at the hardest-working van in its class. Now at an equally hardworking price. Visit MBVans.com

THE 2016 SPRINTER WORKER

STARTING AT

32,495*

$

SPRINTER WORKER CARGO VAN 144", LOW ROOF, 4-CYLINDER

©2016 Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC. Sprinter is the 2016 ALG Residual Value Award winner in the Fullsize Commercial Van segment. ALG is the industry benchmark for residual values and depreciation data. www.alg.com. *Excludes all options, taxes, title, registration, transportation charge, and dealer prep fee. 1 Driver is responsible for monitoring fluid levels and tire pressure between service visits. See Maintenance Booklet for details.


THE AD WHIZ Babak Hedayati TapClicks  Inc. 500 rank 87  Three-year growth 3,534%  2015 revenue $5.6 million

 IN 1978, BABAK HEDAYATI left his home in Tehran to live with his older brother near Santa Cruz, California. Being the youngest kid in 10th grade—he was 12, but excelled on his placement tests—was the least of his problems: He also didn’t speak English. “It was rough,” says Hedayati, who grew up with little financial support and his parents thousands of miles away. Inspired by a lecture given to his engineering class at San Jose State University by fellow Persian (and eventual Twitter executive chairman) Omid Kordestani, Hedayati sought a career in marketing. But seeing an opportunity to streamline the data behind ad campaigns, in 2009 he started the San Jose–based company that would become TapClicks. Its customizable dashboard—used by more than 5,000 companies, including News Corp and Hearst—offers real-time analysis of ads’ daily performance. “If you are an immigrant hoping that you can make a better life for yourself, you don’t overlook opportunities,” he says. “There is a hunger for success, for showing that you can add value as a citizen.”

80 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500INSPIRATION CHRONICLES


HOW SECURE IS YOUR CYBERSECURITY?

STUART MCCLURE CEO & President of

A security breach could cost you your customers, your earnings, and even your brand. What is your reputation worth? Cylance stops malware attacks before they execute. Let us prove it.


How the Right Outsourcing Partner Enhances Your Customer Service CHALLENGE: A fast-growing wholesale distributor that has long prided itself on great customer service had to decide whether outsourcing posed a risk—or a solution. Every company is built on the promises it makes to its customers, but what happens when a big part of that promise hinges on a core capability you're no longer sure how to address? That was the dilemma facing the company now simply known as Lewis. This multiproduct office supplier was launched in 1982 as Lewis Paper Place, rebranded itself as Lewis Paper, and rebranded more recently as Lewis, to showcase the fact that it now supplies its customers with far more than just paper.

SOLUTION: Explore outsourcing fleet management as a way to not only preserve, but enhance customer service, in addition to providing financial benefits. The idea of turning over its fleet management needs to a third party made the Lewis management team apprehensive. While a careful analysis of the numbers convinced them that outsourcing made financial sense, their biggest concern was in finding a provider who shared Lewis' intense focus on customer service. "We needed a company who regarded our customers as their customers," Miller says. Only Ryder met that standard. “They understood our business, and how important fast delivery is to us," Miller explains. "We stressed to every company we met with that if we were leasing a vehicle from them and it broke down, we needed a replacement vehicle immediately. Not in a week, or a day, or in several hours, but within an hour.” Fast, reliable delivery matters to Lewis not just for its own sake, but because it allows its customers to place smaller orders and maintain little to no inventory, a major selling point for Lewis. "Our minimum order is very low. That lets customers order what they need when they need it, knowing that it can be there within an hour." That, in turn, she says, "lets our customers maintain good cash flow, which helps them from a financial operations standpoint in much the same way that leasing from Ryder helps us."

While its product mix and geographic footprint have expanded markedly, one thing that has never changed is its commitment to great customer service. And a big part of that service hinges on fast, reliable delivery--so much so, in fact, that the company's tag line is "The smarter way to supply your workday."

While reliability was the most important benefit of partnering with Ryder, Miller cites other major advantages as well. For starters, marketing. As the company went through name changes, all its trucks were cost-effectively rebranded with high-quality graphic wraps, making the new name conspicuous to potential customers in an ever-widening territory.

Like most entrepreneurial businesses, in its early days Lewis handled its own deliveries. But as the company grew, management saw that maintenance and upkeep of an in-house fleet would pose multiple issues, a lesson that was driven home further as their fleet aged.

Partnering with Ryder has, in fact, yielded many financial benefits, Miller says. "As we were first looking into outsourcing and we were meeting with vendors, we found that some of them charge hidden fees, for over-mileage, 'management fees,' you name it. With Ryder the monthly cost is predictable and reasonable. They even save us money on fuel because they can buy in bulk and get a discount price that's below retail."

Not only would a mechanical issue trigger a breakdown in deliveries, but operating its own fleet would require additional in-house expertise and create a major drain on cash flow. “As we found ourselves filling and delivering more and more orders," says Norine Miller, the company's VP of finance, "we realized that we couldn’t expand our fleets fast enough. More important, we wanted to be able to focus on core business issues—after all, we're not in the trucking business.”

“Prior to wrapping our vehicles, we had the trucks painted with our brand. This process was not cost effective. So, we approached Ryder, who then connected us with a company that could wrap our vehicles for half the cost of a new paint job, which saved us thousands of dollars."

Miller points to other benefits as well, such as Ryder's expertise in addressing all Department of Transportation regulatory requirements, assisting the company with driver hiring and training, and by developing smart routing systems. "Ryder is constantly meeting with us and trying to help us address anything within their expertise they can play a role in," Miller says. "They manage our fleet, so we don't have to worry about it. Their expertise is unbelievable." Lewis has gone through many changes in its 34-year history. But the one thing that’s remained constant is their commitment to being a customer-focused company. “That has always been our main goal,” Miller says. “And Ryder allows us to focus on that because we don’t have to worry about managing our fleet. There is a lot of value that many businesspeople fail to see in being able to concentrate on core business processes.” Thanks to a smart outsourcing decision, Lewis is prepared to roll with the changes for decades to come, knowing that Ryder is rolling right along with them. Q


With Ryder ChoiceLease, we’re now offering your way and the highway. For the first time in the industry, you’re in the driver’s seat with the flexibility to choose the lease and maintenance offering that’s best for your business. Our three maintenance options give you access to the nation’s largest fleet, your choice of vehicles, flexible financing, and over 800 service centers nationwide. Finally, there’s a lease for everyone. Discover how outsourcing with Ryder can improve your fleet management and supply chain performance at Ryder.com.

Ryder ChoiceLease Full Service offers both new and pre-owned tractor and trailer bumper-to-bumper maintenance coverage. All maintenance is always covered – even tires and brakes, which often are considered wear and tear equipment.

Ryder ChoiceLease Preventive is for both new and pre-owned tractors and trailers. Ryder provides your preventive maintenance. You choose where and when you go for any other repair work.

Ryder and the Ryder logo are registered trademarks of Ryder System, Inc. Copyright ©2016 Ryder System, Inc. Ever better is a trademark of Ryder System, Inc.

Ryder ChoiceLease On-Demand is for pre-owned tractors and trailers only. It offers the ultimate flexibility with pay-as-you-go maintenance accessed when and where you need it. You benefit from pre-negotiated rates.


FAMILY REUNION The Edwards clan finishes off a batch of peanut toffee in their company’s Pittsburgh-area factory. From left, co-CEO Dana Edwards Manatos; her brother COO Mark Edwards; her father, Jeff Edwards; her brother co-CEO Chris Edwards; and her mother, president Dona Edwards.

84 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


Chris Edwards, Dana Edwards Manatos Edward Marc Brands  Three-year growth 914.4%  2015 revenue $24.4 million

From the Family Chocolate Business to the Oval Office— and Back Again Edward Marc Brands is both a 102-year-old family business and a hot startup, led by sibling political animals Chris Edwards and Dana Edwards Manatos. (Their brother, Mark Edwards, is COO.) Chris Edwards explains how the Pittsburgh-based company soared, with a little help from Sarah Palin and the Pentagon. —As told to Leigh Buchanan

 OUR GREAT-GRANDPARENTS emigrated from Greece to Pittsburgh,

where they sold chocolate-covered candied fruit on street corners. By 1914, they had saved enough money to buy a small storefront. For decades, they, and then their children, sold homemade ice cream and chocolates. KEYSTONE CANDY STAYED a mom-and-pop business until

our parents took it over in the late 1970s. Our father sold chocolates to schools for fundraisers. Our mother managed the store and opened several more in Pittsburgh. They renamed the company Geoffrey Boehm (a conflation of  Photograph by ROSS MANTLE

INC.500BUILD


IN THE EARLY 1990s, our father sold the fund-

raising part of the company. Our mother continued to operate a single store, specializing in gourmet chocolates for weddings and events. Although that business never got big, she kept it going in case her kids wanted to run the family business someday. I LOVE POLITICS, SO the moment I graduated from college in 2000, I drove to Washington, D.C. I landed a job at the State Department, and then at the White House. As director of press advance, I coordinated all travel and logistics for President and Mrs. Bush. I toured the world on Air Force One. Soon, my siblings, Dana and Mark, joined me there in related roles. But we never stopped thinking about what we could do with that little chocolate business back in Pittsburgh. IN 2007, WE LEFT our government jobs and took over the company, which at that point had only $360,000 in revenue. Our mother stayed on as president. We decided to rebrand as a maker of boxed chocolates for corporate gifts, and chose the name Edward Marc for its upscale sound. Piece by piece, we revamped the aesthetic and old family recipes, adding ingredients like nuts imported from the Middle East. With our own money and an investment from our parents, we bought a small chocolate factory that was owned, separately, by our grandfather. Saks Fifth Avenue agreed to sell our chocolates in 42 stores. We landed clients like Goldman Sachs and American Airlines. THE PENTAGON CONTACTED US about opening a retail outlet there, and we beat out about 25 other chocolatiers for the contract. It gave us huge visibility and was the most secure chocolate store in the country. It also brought in revenue of $1 million a year. But we closed the store in 2015 to focus on the wholesale side of the business. POLITICAL COMMENTATOR Nicolle Wallace—a

friend and former colleague—was working on John McCain’s presidential campaign and asked me to join. I took a leave of absence from the company and was soon appointed Sarah Palin’s deputy chief of staff. For two months, I traveled around the country with her. When HBO produced the Palin movie Game Change, in which I was a character, I was asked to consult. At the film’s premiere in Washington, D.C., I met an editor for Washingtonian magazine. She wrote an article about the three siblings who moved from the White House to a successful choco-

86 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

“We opened an outlet in the Pentagon. It was the most secure chocolate store in the country.” late company. A candy buyer for Costco— who happened to be from Pittsburgh and knew our company—read the article and called. COSTCO WANTED A SNACK product, which

 Red, Blue, and Chocolate

Edward Marc Brands co-founder Chris Edwards had a highprofile political career as an aide to Republicans, including President George W. Bush and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. But once he and his siblings decided to revitalize their family’s century-old chocolate business, they embraced bipartisanship—even making custom candy (above) for then–secretary of state and now Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

was not our specialty. But salted caramels had always been our best-selling candy, and our family had been making pecan turtles for generations. So we combined caramel with pretzels and chocolate to create Snappers (a play on snapping turtles, because the name Turtles is trademarked). We worked with Costco to develop a product that was affordable and could be sold anywhere. The buyer approved Snappers right there in our second meeting. After that, it took us four months to design the packaging, figure out the pricing, find a co-manufacturer, and learn to execute flawlessly. I THOUGHT COSTCO WOULD place Snappers in three stores in Pittsburgh, but right away it put us in 79 stores throughout the Northeast. Now we’re all over the country. In May, we sold $5.3 million worth through Costco alone. We’re also in 30,000 to 40,000 other stores. We used to go through 250,000 pounds of chocolate a year. Now we do that every two weeks. WITH SNAPPERS HUGE and getting huger, we are focusing again on the high-end chocolate business. We are also launching a chain called the Milk Shake Factory. So far, we have two stores in Pittsburgh; the plan is to open one location a year for the next three years. The concept is gaining traction: We have demonstrated milkshake-making on the Today show and Good Morning America. The Milk Shake Factory is an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor. Kind of like what our great-grandparents started more than a century ago.

INC.500BUILD

COURTESY EDWARD MARC CHOCOLATIER

several family names) to announce that they were a new generation doing new things.


Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. & afďŹ liates. Business insurance may be placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with select insurers, which are not afďŹ liated with Progressive, are solely responsible for servicing and claims, and pay the agency commission for policies sold. Prices, coverages, privacy policies and commission rates vary among these insurers.


 BREAK DOWN BARRIERS

Kim Hanks, Whit Hanks Whim Hospitality  Three-year growth 1,260.2%  2015 revenue $7.4 million

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? She had the contacts and the know-how. He had the perfect venue and the capital. Kim Hanks (then Gerlovich) tells how she pooled resources with Whit Hanks with the idea of becoming the top weddingplanning outfit in Dripping Springs—the “wedding capital” of Texas. One ceremony she hadn’t planned on: her own. Cue the chapel bells. The business partners became a couple and married in 2014. —As told to Coeli Carr

While I was operating my events rental company, I also wore a separate hat booking clients, on commission, for Camp Lucy, a 282-acre complex in the suburb of Dripping Springs, west of Austin. When my company began to struggle, I asked Whit, Camp Lucy’s owner, for business advice. I knew the hospitality industry had huge barriers to entry because of high equipment and staffing costs. To eventually penetrate Austin’s corporate market, I needed capital. I had expertise and contacts in the industry, and Whit had financial resources to invest. So, at the start of 2012, he and I launched Whim Hospitality.  CARVE OUT A NICHE

For the first two years, we focused on wedding events, targeting high-end clients prepared to spend as much as six figures. In 2013, we added floral and catering services, and, with increased demand for Camp Lucy’s facilities, we opened a nearly 10,000-squarefoot building there for ceremonies and events. To better accommodate clients, Whim opened a boutique hotel. Our rapid growth has been fueled mainly by the popularity of huge, blowout weddings.  STAFF UP

We knew we had to revamp Whim’s infrastructure to ensure our future expansion. This year, we added two directors—for HR and for sales and marketing—and a PR manager. We have a huge facility that showcases our rental wares, a larger corporate office, a tasting room, and a floral-design studio, and we are opening a Whim showroom in Austin. We plan to hire a CFO and a director of operations, and add both staffing services and a wedding-cake division. We’re also doubling the lodging at Camp Lucy. Dripping Springs’ chamber of commerce has trademarked the city as the “wedding capital” of Texas. We like to think Whim had something to do with that designation.  Photograph by BEN SKLAR

88 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500BUILD


BRIGHT SPOT Not long ago, this location in New Orleans’s Eighth Ward looked very different, after years of neglect and Hurricane Katrina’s wrath. Scott Wolfe saw an opportunity and married a classic New Orleans staple with a common household chore.

90 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


Scott Wolfe Melba’s Old School Po Boys  Three-year growth 2,774.7%  2015 revenue $2.9 million

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS HIS NAME For more than 20 years, Scott Wolfe ran a successful chain of convenience stores in New Orleans. In 2012, after Hurricane Katrina, he and his wife, Jane, combined two very different businesses to help bring the community back. —As told to Sheila Marikar



in the Eighth Ward in 2012. It was a very depressed area that had been hit hard by Katrina: graffiti-ridden, no commerce, no property taxes, no revenue streams. Just blight and crime. It was on a very busy corner, but we couldn’t get anyone to rent it. WE HAD DELIS INSIDE all Wagner’s where

we sold po’ boys and chicken. I wanted to make this new location a restaurant. Believe it or not, New Orleans doesn’t have that many high-quality standalone po’ boy places. And I didn’t want it to be only a local favorite. I wanted to draw tourists, because we’re five minutes from the French Quarter. THE BUILDING WAS BIG enough, so we put

together a po’ boy shop and a laundromat. It’s often not profitable enough for a laundromat to stand on its own, because of the labor costs. But by putting it with a po’ boy shop, we have a rich resource of employees to help out.

I HAD A CHAIN OF CONVENIENCE stores called

WHEN YOU COME TO MELBA’S, we attack all

Wagner’s Meat. In 2003, we sold the company but retained the real estate for rental income. I went into property development. We had 10 properties producing revenue.

your senses. We have an art gallery where we sell works by local artists. We pipe in oldies. And we’re getting a lot of tourists. We have 40 employees now. In the area, we’re the highest-paying employer. We start at $9 an hour; the average employee earns $10.60 an hour. Our employees have benefits, and we are not shy about paying overtime.

KATRINA HIT IN 2005. We went through a lot of hardship thereafter. I was diversified, or at least I thought I was—but I was diversified in New Orleans, which meant I wasn’t at all. We had $125,000 in monthly mortgage payments and no tenants. But because I had a contractor’s license, we started a construction company, and we were able to salvage the properties and do a lot of construction around New Orleans after Katrina. WE TYPICALLY LOOK FOR corner locations, which I can develop if I can’t find a tenant. We purchased this blighted property

NEW ORLEANS HAS ALWAYS been a city

with small bars, corner groceries, and mom-and-pop shops throughout every neighborhood. But Katrina pushed many out. Melba’s gives my neighborhood a place to meet, hang out, and share good times with friends and family—something like Cheers. We’re resonating, because it’s the way things used to be.  Photograph by AKASHA RABUT

INC.500BUILD


—BILL SAPORITO

92 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

ORLANDO

SALT LAKE CITY

AUSTIN

TAMPA

MIAMI

PORTLAND, OR

COLUMBUS, OH

PHOENIX

DALLAS

DENVER

DETROIT

ATLANTA

BALTIMORE

MINNEAPOLIS

WASHINGTON, DC

SAN DIEGO

SEATTLE

SAN JOSE, CA

CHICAGO

PHILADELPHIA

LOS ANGELES

HOUSTON

$130,000

AVERAGE PAY FOR MIDDLE MANAGERS

$120,000 2015 NATIONAL AVERAGE $115,200

$110,000

2011 NATIONAL AVERAGE $104,200

$100,000

2015 AVERAGE SALARY 2011 AVERAGE SALARY

$90,000

$80,000

$70,000

WHERE YOU LIVE MATTERS

The bigger paychecks in San Francisco and New York City can’t offset the much higher living costs in those cities: Your pay goes 50 percent further in Atlanta.

PAY DISPARITY IS RISING ...

The average five-year increase for middle management was $11,000, compared with $5,200 for junior professional jobs and $2,500 for clerical and operations jobs. AVERAGE PAY FOR JUNIOR PROFESSIONALS

$60,000 $56,800

$51,600

$50,000

... DESPITE SIMILAR RAISE RATES

$40,000

The five-year base-salary increase for middle managers was 10.5 percent; junior professionals and lower-level workers trailed at 10.1 and 10 percent, respectively. AVERAGE PAY FOR CLERICAL AND OPS WORKERS SOURCE: KORN FERRY HAY GROUP

Though lagging wage growth has been the culprit in keeping the economy sluggish, the average base salary in cities with the most Inc. 500 companies has increased 10.2 percent, or 2 percent per year, since 2011, according to Korn Ferry Hay Group’s PayNet database. The analysis includes 3.5 million jobholders from 1,234 organizations, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Given an 8.5 percent cost-of-living increase over that fiveyear period, it means real wages were up 2 percent for middle managers (green bar), 1.6 percent for juniors (blue), and 1.5 percent for lower-end employees (orange). That apparent similarity is deceptive, says Korn Ferry Hay Group’s director of operations, Jason Trull. When you consider the difference in actual dollars, the pay gap between senior and junior roles continues to widen.

BOSTON

Who’s Making What, Where

AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY

NEW YORK CITY

HOT SPOTS

SAN FRANCISCO

TOP 25 INC. 500 METRO AREAS

$30,000 $27,900 $25,400

$20,000

INC.500BUILD




TURNING iPHONES INTO ART

STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

“I love reclaimed wood and using wood for projects, so it made sense for me to get a wooden case for my phone,” says John Webber. When he couldn’t find one he liked, the e-commerce veteran knew he had a business idea on his hands. Since its launch in 2011, the Elkhart, Indiana–based Carved has sold nearly 200,000 artful, wood-based iPhone covers, like the Miramar, seen here. (Webber’s co-founder, Grant Sassaman, is no longer with the company.) Buyers can also fashion their own designs. “The iPhone looks the same year after year,” says Webber. “Attach a piece of wood to it and you’ve got a very unique phone.” —VICTORIA FINKLE Carved  Inc. 500 rank 270  Three-year growth 1,479.9%  2015 revenue $2.6 million

 Photograph by VICTOR PRADO 94 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500BUILD


WA L K T H E WA L K

Gary Vaynerchuk ••••• around Friendster, Blogger, and Myspace and believed these platforms were just the beginning of something big. When Facebook and Twitter came around, my gut said that social media was the future of digital marketing. While there’s no definitive sign when to leap into a new venture, there are indicators to guide you. Paying attention to both the actions and reactions of your competitors and end consumers can BIG MISCONCEPTION about the market is that it’s signal the right time to act. For example, lack of controlled by marketers and the media. In fact, competition in a market segment, especially when consumers control it. Great marketers, business there’s no quality version of a product, is a sign people, and entrepreneurs just react to trends. that there’s room for you. The lack of competition It doesn’t matter whether Netflix’s latest show is in 2011’s social marketing space was one reason your guilty pleasure or you think it’s a waste of VaynerMedia could expand quickly. time—the broader audience decides what’s popular. A technology shift is another indicator. In the If you have no control over this stuff, how can past few months, Facebook has added new features you possibly tell when to change your business strategy? There’s no to create and distribute videos and has prioritized single metric that will show you this. The problem with data is that it Facebook Live content in newsfeeds. Seeing where gives you a postgame view and generally doesn’t present a realistic Facebook was going, I’ve invested in building out picture that allows you to detect shifts in the market. Responding VaynerMedia’s video department from seven to 44 to the market puts you in a far more gray area than black-and-white people in the past year. Being able to adapt to marnumbers do, such as employee head count or a volume of users. ketplace nuances yields a competitive advantage. To be honest, I make most of my business decisions on gut instinct There is a stunning lack of conversation about and intuition. I didn’t foresee that social media was going to explode the talents of innovators and strong executives by running analytics. But I devoted 95 percent of my market analysis who can read the tea leaves. Their understanding to consumer attention and behaviors. I watched what was happening of and willingness to change are key to leading a business as it evolves. You can be innovative by always testing and striving to understand whether the market Gary Vaynerchuk is a co-founder will embrace a new strategy. The day Vine appeared in 2013, I had all 200-plus VaynerMedia and the CEO of VaynerMedia, employees drop what they were doing to download the app and figure out how to create a digital-media agency based in New York City. the best Vine content. Because I made this call, our clients benefited from earned media, as they were first movers on the platform. As a leader, you need to make your employees feel ready to hop in, test, and understand what resonates in the current environment. To grow a business, you must be a marketplace observer, and a practitioner of what you observe. You have to jump into the water without hesitation, and not just that—you also have to learn how to hold your breath and stay under. When you force yourself to be in fast-paced environments, you build the tolerance required to lead change more efficiently. Change is not easy. But it is imperative. We’re all in different businesses with different markets and different competitors and at different stages of growth. The point at which you’re comfortable pivoting your strategies will differ from mine or someone else’s. However, consumers will always decide where the marketplace is going. The faster you can observe, test, and learn, the faster you can grow.

96 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500BUILD

ERIK TANNER

You Can’t Know When to Pivot by Looking at Data Watch consumers and competitors. And then go with your gut


Everything your customers see and touch says something about your business. From business cards and flyers, to a real street address with one of our mailboxes, to expertly packed shipments, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re here to help. Need to tell the world your story? No problem. theupsstore.com


I NC . B R A N D E D C O N T E N T / H R

THERE’S A MUCH EASIER AND MORE EFFECTIVE WAY TO MANAGE VIRTUALLY EVERY FACET OF HUMAN RESOURCES — ONE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO IGNORE. ❯❯❯❯

S1


I NC . B R A N D E D C O N T E N T / H R

What if there were one simple thing you could do to boost your growth rate by 7 to 9 percent, reduce employee turnover by 10 to 14 percent, and cut your risk of going out of business in half? And what if, as an added bonus, that one simple thing could also free up a big chunk of your time, time that you could then devote to important strategic issues, or spend with key clients and vendors? models I’d ever seen, and I still feel that way today— That may sound improbable—and maybe even more so, if anything.” magical—but more and more owners of small and midsize Asked his thoughts on the main factor behind the businesses are discovering that when they retain the services higher growth, survival, and employee-retention rates of a “professional employer organization” (PEO) they do, in enjoyed by companies using a PEO, Cleary doesn’t fact, realize such a positive impact on their businesses that it hesitate: “Focus. If you’re a small business owner, and you can seem almost like magic. can focus on your business and The numbers cited above come your people and provide them with from an economic analysis a really good suite of benefits, “If you’re a small business commissioned by the National good things are going to happen. Association of Professional Employer owner, and you can focus Your turnover is going to be lower Organizations (NAPEO), a trade on your business and your and your growth is going to be organization that represents many people and provide them higher because you’ve got the time PEOs. One of its goals is to educate to focus your energies there. To me, companies about the PEO model, with a really good suite it’s an arithmetic issue. There are which is a form of outsourcing but of benefits, good things 168 hours in the week, and you’ve with a novel twist that provides several are going to happen. Your got to spend some of them advantages to small and midsize turnover is going to be sleeping and eating. The more of companies that sign on as clients. the rest of them you can devote to With roots in payroll processing lower and your growth is issues strategic to your business— and HR outsourcing services, PEOs going to be higher.” as opposed to administrative today can provide a wide range of payroll, benefits, regulatory, —Pat Cleary, President headaches—the greater your compliance, and other HR services— and CEO, NAPEO opportunities for growth and success are going to be.” including strategic consulting. And they now provide those services to UNDERSTANDING THE MODEL about 180,000 small and midsize Today, outsourcing options abound. What sets PEOs companies that collectively employ more than 3 million workers apart is a unique concept: “co-employment.” Your and generate $156 billion in annual revenues. employees remain your employees, but they also become Despite that impressive footprint, many business owners employees of the PEO. That allows PEOs to aggregate remain unaware of PEOs and the advantages they can their clients’ employee bases into a large group, which in provide. “I’d been on the HR policy beat in Washington for turn enables the PEO to go to market and negotiate many years, including a decade at the National Association of much better rates for benefits than a typical small Manufacturers and also spent time lobbying on HR issues, company would be able to realize. and I really hadn’t heard about PEOs before I took this job There’s no need to worry about loss of control, almost five years ago,” admits Pat Cleary, president and CEO because your employees remain yours in every way that of NAPEO. “But once I understood the concept, I was matters. A client service agreement will spell out which an instant convert. It was one of the best business S2


Scissors beats paper so you can rock. Cut through the HR and compliance clutter to focus more on your business.

Insperity provides HR solutions for your business challenges. As your business grows, your challenges stack up. With Insperity, you don’t have to go it alone. We provide administrative relief, offer access to better benefits and help you reduce liabilities so you can focus on doing more business, instead of more paperwork. With our experienced service team and solutions, you have the freedom to spend more time doing what you love – growing your business.

insperity.com | 800-465-3800


I NC . B R A N D E D C O N T E N T / H R

responsibilities and risks belong to the PEO, and which ones remain with the client company. “When you work with a PEO, it stands side-by-side with you as the owner, and you actually offload some forms of risk,” says Paul J. Sarvadi, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Insperity. That can extend from compliance issues around hiring to potential legal risks around termination. Because PEOs are experts in all aspects of human resources, having a PEO in your corner can help you with any number of workforce-management issues even as its collective buying power allows you to offer richer benefits packages than you could afford to provide on your own. Even businesses that are currently outsourcing one or

two HR functions, such as payroll, through a conventional outsourcer have a lot to gain by consolidating other HR administrative functions with a PEO. That’s been the case for Frank Klavon, who has owned the Glass Doctor of Broward County (Florida) franchise for a dozen years. After working with a payroll provider for several years in a relationship he considered difficult and unresponsive, he decided to explore other options. He was also looking for help dealing with rising workers’ compensation costs. He got that, and more, when he signed on with FrankCrum, a Clearwater, Florida-based PEO, about six years ago. FrankCrum now handles Klavon’s payroll quickly and

CHOOSING A PEO PEOs come in all shapes and sizes, with some focusing on specific industry verticals and/or geographic regions and others offering broad coverage on a national basis. While individual needs and circumstances should be considered when choosing a PEO, the NAPEO offers a set of general guidelines that can help you get started: 1. Assess your workplace to determine your human resource and risk management needs. 2. Make sure the PEO is capable of meeting your goals. Meet the people who will be serving you. 3. Ask for client and professional references. 4. Ascertain that the PEO has a demonstrated history of adherence to the industry’s professional performance practices, including responsible financial management of its business. Check to determine whether the PEO’s financial statements are independently audited by a CPA, its risk management practices have been independently certified by the Certification Institute, or its operational, financial, and ethical practices have been independently accredited by ESAC. 5. Check to see whether the company is a member of NAPEO. 6. Investigate the PEO’s administrative and management expertise and competence. What competence does its internal staff have? S4

Does the PEO’s corporate staffing allocation follow the priorities of its marketed services? Does senior staff have professional training or designations? 7. Understand how the employee benefits are funded. Is the PEO fully insured or partially self-funded? Who is its third-party administrator (TPA) or carrier? Confirm that the TPA or carrier is authorized to do business in your state. 8. Understand how the employee benefits are tailored, and make sure they fit the needs of your employees. 9. Review the client service agreement (CSA) carefully. Confirm that each party’s responsibilities and liabilities are clearly laid out. What guarantees are provided? What provisions permit you or the PEO to cancel the terms of the contract? 10. Make sure the PEO you are considering meets all applicable state requirements.


Frank Klavon made a bold change in HR The year was 2010, and Frank Klavon had owned his Glass Doctor franchise for six years. Dissatisfied with his payroll provider, facing escalating workers’ compensation costs, and lacking the time to focus on HR, he knew something had to change. That year, Klavon partnered with FrankCrum for PEO services, and he hasn’t once looked back.

FrankCrum gets Glass Doctor great rates on workers’ comp coverage, and helps free up cash with the flexibility of a weekly premium payment. FrankCrum makes it easier and more efficient to handle payroll and payroll reporting through an online platform combined with personal service. FrankCrum is customer-focused and easy to work with, a fact that Klavon appreciates, being in the customer service business himself. See more at: www.frankcrum.com/glassdoctor

Call 877-695-6207 to find out more.


I NC . B R A N D E D C O N T E N T / H R

efficiently and provides workers’ compensation coverage for his employees at a lower rate than he’d been paying before. Additionally, FrankCrum manages the employee onboarding process and handles government reporting and forms. “I’m in the customer service business myself, and I appreciate the ease of working with FrankCrum,” Klavon says. “I consider this a very successful relationship.” In fact, FrankCrum considers that kind of personalized service to be its hallmark competitive differentiator. “FrankCrum is distinctly different because of our long-term ability to treat every client company like it is our most important client, regardless of size and need,” says Frank W. Crum, Jr., president and CEO. “A designated account manager is assigned to each client to ensure the best possible experience and ongoing access to our team specialties based on the changing needs of the business.”

It is not unusual for small businesses that turn to a PEO to experience a net reduction in costs. “Because a PEO aggregates many small businesses, it not only allows them to obtain better insurance rates but can also provide access to offerings that might not be available to them at all on an individual basis,” explains Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO, headquartered in Hollywood, Florida. “The PEO provides better services, streamlined with the expertise that only a company focused on those things can bring. Small businesses often see a net cost savings when they look at what they were really spending on those areas separately.” Wesley Owens, founder, president, and CEO of Bison PEO in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, points out that the value of a PEO increases in lockstep with the administrative responsibilities that require a business owner’s attention. “Along with all the traditional HR, payroll, and tax issues, there is now an increasing body


Even businesses that are currently outsourcing one or two HR functions, such as payroll, through a conventional outsourcer have a lot to gain by consolidating other HR administrative functions with a PEO. of regulatory compliance issues, such as ACA (Affordable Care Act),” he says. “Most SMB owners don’t have the resources needed to handle all those demands. That is another advantage of having a PEO.” Still another is the boost in confidence that a PEO client’s business partners may get knowing that the company has enlisted the expertise of a PEO. Many of Bison’s clients, for example, use a form of financing called “receivables funding” to help smooth out cash flow. “We end up developing close relationships with these factoring companies because we have to provide them with our clients’ insurance certificates,” Owens says. “And in that process these factoring companies end up feeling a lot more secure about the lending relationship, because they can see that their clients are focused on their core businesses rather than administrative and back-office responsibilities,” he says.

UP AND RUNNING Another major advantage of PEOs is that they can provide a company with instant HR infrastructure, which can be a huge boon to a busy entrepreneur struggling to wear many hats. “What I call ‘regularly scheduled business interruptions’ are removed from their operations,” says Insperity’s Sarvadi. “They now have Fortune-500 level employee benefits that can help them attract and retain key people, and their overall business risk is reduced, since being an employer is one of the biggest areas where business owners take risks.” While the advantages PEOs offer make sense for any SMB, they may be especially relevant to growth-oriented businesses on the hunt for equity investment or debt financing to drive continued expansion. Increasingly, Sarvadi says, venture capitalists, investors, and lenders take a more favorable view of companies that have had the foresight to sign on with a PEO. “Obviously, if you are

GROWTH IS THE BEST EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS Let us help you grow! 844-744-GROW

/,41%01ƛ,+"ǽ ,*

• PEO services for growing companies since 1988 • Ranked on 2015 and 2016 Inc. 5000 444ǽ01ƛ,+"ǽ ,*

*Compared to a national employment index.


I NC . B R A N D E D C O N T E N T / H R

going to invest in a business, you look for anything that would improve that business’s likelihood and degree of success. It has taken some time for VC and private equity firms to fully grasp how dramatically a PEO can boost results, but it’s becoming more widely understood now. I think they also view the risk-reduction aspects of using a PEO as an important factor.” Elliot Geidt, a principal at Redpoint, a Silicon Valleybased venture capital firm that has funded more than 430 companies (including Justworks, a New York City-based PEO), has seen an increase in the number of his portfolio companies using PEOs. “I like this move, because it enables my management teams to focus on building their core product versus focusing on administrative tasks,” he says. “And, a startup that uses a PEO can offer ‘big company’ benefits, which is important for retaining talent. I should also mention that PEOs are often the lowest-cost option for benefits, so my investment dollars go further.”

Isaac Oates, CEO and founder of Justworks, says he sees just those dynamics in action among his clients on a daily basis. “We’ve received positive feedback from customers who report an increased ability to grow their companies and meet their business goals with Justworks. Our mission is to free entrepreneurs to focus on what really matters—building their business and creating a great place to work,” he says. SEALS OF APPROVAL The PEO market is booming, with a broad mix of both regional and national companies offering differing lists of services. The market has matured to the point where many PEOs can point to at least one form of accreditation, which provides would-be clients with a high level of confidence. The Small Business Efficiency Act of 2014 included a requirement that the IRS establish a voluntary certification


While the advantages PEOs offer make sense for any SMB, they may be especially relevant to growth-oriented businesses on the hunt for equity investment or debt financing to drive continued expansion. program for PEOs, and the agency began accepting applications to become a certified professional employer organization (CPEO) in July of this year. While the IRS program focuses on ensuring a PEO’s payment of its clients’ federal employment taxes, there is a more comprehensive PEO accreditation program, ESAC, that provides assurance, through bonding and regular financial audits, of a PEO’s payment of the full range of PEO employer responsibilities, including both federal and state employment taxes as well as contributions to employee retirement plans and payment of health and workers’ compensation premiums. Meanwhile, the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC) is something of a “gold standard” in terms of accreditation. It was developed by NAPEO and launched in 1995 as an independent, non-profit organization providing PEO accreditation and financial assurance. A number of states also license and regulate PEOs, so with ESAC and CPEO there are now three paths to accreditation. Mark Sinatra, CEO of Staff One HR, a Dallas-based PEO and Inc. 5000 winner in 2015, was formerly with a private investment firm that focused on making long-term investments in middle market companies. He is also a firm believer that being a PEO client is seen as a big plus in the eyes of lenders and investors, especially if the PEO is ESAC-accredited. WEB DIRECTORY “Since the PEO is the employer of Bison Workforce Solution record for remitting payroll and bisonpeoservices.com employee-related fiduciary Engage PEO obligations, accreditation ensures engagepeo.com that such fiduciary obligations, FrankCrum [e.g., 401(k) and employee frankcrum.com benefit contributions, workers’ Insperity insperity.com compensations premiums, etc.], JustWorks particularly payroll taxes, are justworks.com being met accurately and on National Association of time,” he says. “A payroll lien is Professional the only way a lender can be Employer Organizations forced into a secondary lien napeo.org position, so having an accredited StaffOne staffone.com PEO providing those services to a business provides that extra layer of security to a lender.” And from the business’s perspective, it smooths out what would otherwise be a lot of lumpy cash obligations, such as big quarterly tax payments and workers’ compensation deposits, which can often disrupt a company’s cash flow. Having regular, predictable costs for an array of services and benefits that you’d otherwise struggle to provide—if you could provide them at all—is another major advantage of using a PEO. At one time, PEOs may have qualified as a well-kept secret. But that’s changing. The benefits are too numerous to ignore. Odds are good that if you aren’t using a PEO today, other companies in your industry are. That can put you at a competitive disadvantage, which is one more reason why you should carve out a little time to see what a PEO can do for you. Q S9

No one runs your business as well as you, so focus on that. Say goodbye to administrative burdens, and hello to cost-effective HR management.

Get your company ENGAGED today.

www.engagepeo.com


INC.EDU ONLINE COURSE

ESSION S T S R I F STARTS

FIRST SESSION

CREATE YOUR BRAND

Hilary Folger Partner, Lippincott

TRY THE INC. STARTUP ACCELERATOR FOR FREE You have the idea—now let Inc. help you launch your business in just five weeks. Gain insight from a personal business coach, Inc.’s editorial team, today’s all-star entrepreneurs, and your peers. Join hundreds of successful businesses that have launched from the Inc. Startup Accelerator. SECOND SESSION

THIRD SESSION

FOURTH SESSION

FIFTH SESSION

BUSINESS IDEAS

BRAND BUILDING

RAISING MONEY

CREATE A SALES STRATEGY

Ami Kassar CEO, MultiFunding

Dan Price Founder and CEO, Gravity Payments

Sabrina Parsons CEO, Palo Alto Software

Art Saxby Founder and CEO, Chief Outsiders

 Free first session with Hilary Folger • 5 keynotes by top business founders with live Q&A • Personalized feedback from a dedicated business coach • Networking with driven entrepreneurial peers

Visit edu.inc.com to learn more.


What Works. What’s Next.

Know your customers before they know you PG.128



LET THERE BE LED LIGHT

STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

While working in sales and distribution at a high-end lighting-fixture company in Shanghai in 2008, Cole Zucker realized there was a huge market for LED lighting in the U.S. He and friend Guillaume Vidal, who worked in R&D at an LED maker also in Shanghai, co-founded LED lighting distributor Green Creative in 2010. By 2012, the San Bruno, California–based company had started producing its own bulbs, like the one seen here. Made up of 81 individual LEDs, this 45-watt bulb contains an internal cooling system, so it’s cooler than non-LED bulbs. Green Creative’s largely corporate customer base loves that the lights last more than five years. —ABIGAIL BARON Green Creative  Inc. 500 rank 213  Three-year growth 1,842.5%  2015 revenue $39.6 million

•••••

Photograph by VICTOR PRADO

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 109


THE DATA WHISPERER Ahmad Ishaqâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ByteCubed was recently hired by the U.S. Department of Defense to create a platform that tracks small-business government contractors.

110 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


at first: partnering with big companies and feeding off the scraps they’d give me. Any opportunity that came up, I’d say yes. WE KEPT GROWING, and I was taking home nearly half a million dollars in salary. But I was also deeply unhappy. We weren’t fulfilling my vision of making a real difference. I wanted to be in control of my destiny, and instead I was subject to the whims of those primary contractors.

Ahmad Ishaq ByteCubed  Three-year growth 4,767.7%  2015 revenue $11.6 million

WHEN MY WIFE was pregnant

Killing a Mediocre Business to Build a Great One Ahmad Ishaq had grown a steady big-data business subcontracting for U.S. government projects. But the Afghan immigrant realized it wasn’t his dream. So he started over—with Arlington, Virginia–based ByteCubed. —As told to Kate Rockwood

 MY PARENTS CAME to America

near the end of the Cold War to escape the killing happening in Afghanistan. I was around 4 years old, and my first memory is driving straight from the Los Angeles airport to the beach. In Afghanistan, there are no beaches. It felt like a whole new world. MY FAMILY DIDN’T have a dollar

to its name, but asylum meant a chance to build another life. My dad worked all sorts of jobs—at a juice spot in the mall, driving cabs. I helped him start an import-export company. But there was always this civic drive to make a difference and give back to this country that gave my family a second chance.

 Photograph by JOHN LOOMIS

AFTER COLLEGE, I MOVED from

California to Washington, D.C. I got an internship at the Department of Defense and parlayed that into a government-program-manager position. One of the projects I led, A-Space, was named a Best Invention by Time magazine. It’s a restricted social network where members of the government’s intelligence services can share ideas and information. I MOVED TO A BIG defense

contractor, but I quickly got frustrated with all the bureaucracy. I wanted to do work that actually made stuff better for the government, not spend my days dealing with internal red tape. I thought, Let me try starting my own company. SO IN 2011, I started ByteCubed. I wanted to figure out how the government could take information out of documents, analyze it, and make better decisions. But it can be hard for startups to win a primary contract—it’s more common for them to work as subcontractors. So that’s the approach I took

with our first child, I had this now-or-never moment. I worried that if I didn’t do something radical soon, I’d never start over. So I canceled our month-to-month office lease, cut my expenses to the bare bones, and sold off all my subcontracts for pennies on the dollar—which gave the business eight months of savings. I slashed employee head count from 10 to just two. I SWEATED FOR MONTHS over that first proposal, and then there was this excruciating waiting period. I was checking my phone so often that my wife finally persuaded me to take a short trip to get my mind off things. We were in our hotel room when I got the news— ByteCubed had been awarded a five-year Department of Defense contract for $1.2 million each year. My wife couldn’t stop screaming, she was so excited. IT WASN’T UNTIL a few months

later, when the second and third contracts came in, that I started hiring again and signed for month-to-month office space. When we hit 40 people, I found a great space at 4,800 square feet. Then we got another contract. Now we’re at 140 people, and we’ve finally moved into a new office: It’s 17,000 square feet. Now we have room to grow.

INC.500TECH


C E O S U RV E Y

Braving the (Literal) You know that running a fast-growing company involves hard work, luck, and sacrifice. But did you expect the power outages or suggestive customer selfies? As part of our annual CEO survey, the founders and leaders of the 2016 Inc. 500 share their best, worst, and funniest moments climbing to the top of the list—and their advice for staying there.

! KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ’EM

 TRACK THOSE TRASH CANS

“When we started our business, we would look at people’s recycling bins. This would help us determine if they were potential customers— if they had any kombucha bottles from our competitors in there, we would leave a flier in the mailbox. The funniest thing that happened during our first year is that at some point, we checked a recycling bin, and all of it was filled with our kombucha.” Jamie Danek Humm Kombucha  Inc. 500 Rank 238  Three-year growth 1,644.5%  2015 revenue $4.1 million

112 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

“The hardest decisions were passing on deals that at the time we were uncomfortable with. Looking back, some of the best deals are the ones you don’t do. It’s hard to say no to growth and acquisitions, but you have to manage it very carefully. One wrong deal can offset 10 good deals at this stage.” Scott Everett S2 Capital  Inc. 500 Rank 14  Three-year growth 9,645.7%  2015 revenue $28.8 million


 DON’T STOP AT JUST ONE PERK

“Allow employees to work from home two days per week; cater lunch family-style on Fridays; buy co-working space memberships; encourage participation in professional-development activities like conferences.” Chris Cera Arcweb Technologies  Inc. 500 Rank 290  Three-year growth 1,354.3%  2015 revenue $3.9 million

 RETHINK WORK HOURS

“We have implemented a six-hour workday twice a week. And we give our employees dedicated time throughout the year to volunteer for the causes they care about the most: Each employee gets six annual volunteer days, and as a team we participate in one group volunteer day.” Wes Tucker One3LED  Inc. 500 Rank 182  Three-year growth 2,031.3%  2015 revenue $4.3 million

 DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

“Our first year, we spe much time figuring o a manufacturing pro instead of hiring som to help us figure it ou John Webber Carved  Inc. 500 Rank 270  Three-year growth 1,479.9%  2015 revenue $2.6 million

 CHOOSE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

“One of our most difficult decisions was closing overseas factory relationships and shifting everything to domestic for better quality control. We had to give up a lot of product offerings and revenue when we did that.” M. Daniel Walsh Akston Hughes International  Inc. 500 Rank 169  Three-year growth 2,111.7%  2015 revenue $3.1 million

" BEWARE THE SNAPCHAT EFFECT

“We ask customers to send us pictures of their receipts. Our first year, our app users submitted some rather interesting selfies instead.” Jared Schrieber InfoScout  Inc. 500 Rank 84  Three-year growth 3,601.7%  2015 revenue $6.8 million

  ALWAYS CARRY AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT

“While driving our 1980s retrofitted school bus to a convention in Seattle, the electrical system shorted and we had to duct tape Maglites to the front of the bus as our headlights.”

ACCEPT THAT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY ONLY GROWS

“Every decision you make as an entrepreneur is a risk you take on behalf of the company and all of its stakeholders. The bigger it gets, the more everyone is counting on you to make the right decisions.” Christian Carr Furniture Solutions Group  Inc. 500 Rank 24  Three-year growth 7,799.6%  2015 revenue $8.6 million

Chris Davis Loot Crate  Inc. 500 Rank 1  Three-year growth 66,788.6%  2015 revenue $116.2 million  Illustrations by BEN KIRCHNER


#

Can you grow too fast? ent too out ocess meone ut.”

“YES. You can never ‘buy’ revenue or bend values to do anything, much less buy growth. Building a strong, profitable, socially responsible enterprise takes time and lots of effort. A successful business is a decades-long overnight success.” Abhishek Mehta Tresata  Inc. 500 Rank 256  Three-year growth 1,550.6%  2015 revenue $5.5 million

“NO. I truly believe the greatest business comes from the chaos of growing too fast.” Yi Li Renogy  Inc. 500 Rank 444  Three-year growth 864%  2015 revenue $18.9 million “YES. We are testing that limit. It’s very difficult to manage cash flow, hiring, and training when you are moving so fast.” Nick Partridge Five Lakes  Inc. 500 Rank 286  Three-year growth 1,364.3%  2015 revenue $2 million

“NO, as long as the growth is done with integrity and responsibility, and it does not come because of excessive debt or other factors that would make it impossible for the company to survive a black swan or other economic speed bump.” Russell Basch American Pillowcase  Inc. 500 Rank 280  Three-year growth 1,400.1%  2015 revenue $6.5 million

“YES. I am doing it right now. Getting crushed by success is almost as bad as getting crushed by failure. You can make mistakes or make rash decisions that could have unintended consequences.” Fred Rea Rain City Capital  Inc. 500 Rank 375  Three-year growth 1,024.7%  2015 revenue $5.9 million

 BE A BEACON FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS

“The evening of our very first event, a transformer blew in downtown Boston and power was out in most of the city. Our event was at a bar, and miraculously that bar had power while no one else for eight blocks in any direction did.” Daniel Hermann Paint Nite  Inc. 500 Rank 2  Three-year growth 36,555.3%  2015 revenue $55 million

 RECRUIT TALENT WITH (VERY) HIGH-TECH PERKS

“Give them 24 hours with robots at their homes.” Elad Inbar RobotLab  Inc. 500 Rank 273  Three-year growth 1,429.4%  2015 revenue $5.3 million

TECHPLAYBOOK


LOOK INSIDE FOR TIPS FROM CEOS ON HOW TO IMPROVE EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR BUSINESS.

CapitalOne.com/SmallBusiness

Credit approval required. Offered by Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. © 2016 Capital One


START PUTTING

THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS

BACK INTO YOUR BUSINESS.

UNLIMITED 2% CASH BACK ON ALL YOUR BUSINESS PURCHASING With the Spark ® Cash Card, every expense could be an opportunity to boost your bottom line and put thousands back into your business. Earn cash back on equipment, inventory, advertising and everything in between.

CapitalOne.com/SmallBusiness

Credit approval required. Offered by Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. © 2016 Capital One




MAKING BANK ON THE DRONE INVASION Skyrocket Toys launched its first line of recreational drones in 2013. The Los Angeles–based company, founded in 2010 by Nelo Lucich, John Ardell, Jon Proudfit, and Jackson Ho, had already released a handful of toys to modest success. The remote-controlled drones seemed headed down the same path—and then last year, the industry exploded. Most advanced is the Sky Viper v2900 Pro Streaming Video drone (top, $249.99), which sends a live HD feed to any smart device as it records a video. The more kid-friendly Sky Viper m500 Nano (bottom, $29.99) is small enough to fly indoors. —KEVIN J. RYAN

STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

Skyrocket Toys  Inc. 500 rank 306  Three-year growth 1,277.3%  2015 revenue $110.6 million

 Photograph by VICTOR PRADO

INC.500TECH

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 117


 A-LISTER “I never thought my hobby would become a successful business,” says Craig Newmark. But it did, and made him a legend.

118 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


In 1995, Craig Newmark started sending an email to a few friends. That missive led to one of the most important— and profitable—internet companies of all time. An in-depth conversation with the founder of Craigslist THE INC. INTERVIEW BY JON FINE

SOMETIMES, AMAZING businesses are built by a driven founder long obsessed with a single idea. Then there’s Craigslist. The ragtag online classified-ad operation happened by accident, threw every tenet of design out the window, and has always been run by individuals apparently allergic to virtually every dearly held belief of business and management. It nonetheless became one of the lasting icons of the early Web and is, by all reckonings, insanely profitable. Though its tightlipped founder, Craig Newmark, won’t talk about that, in his Inc. interview he still has lots to say about Craigslist’s rise, the power of listening, how he’s using his newfound influence, and why he’s such a terrible manager.   Photographs by SHAYAN ASGHARNIA

INC.500TECH


Inc.: What was high school Craig like? Newmark: I was a full-on nerd, and that was a lonely thing. I didn’t realize that wearing thick black glasses taped together and a pocket protector was not attractive. My definition of nerd has to do with a lack of social instinct for people, a lack of learned and ingrained social skills. I was reasonably socialized sometime into grammar school, but around the fifth or sixth grade, my social skills didn’t develop. I didn’t gain the normal instincts people have for how you relate to others. I have since learned social skills and I can simulate them for short periods, but I do feel somewhat detached. But nerds are kind of cool now. New-school nerds are cool. There’s nothing cool about me. After college, you spent almost 20 years at IBM and Charles Schwab. What did those giant, traditional organizations teach you? I learned that my social skills—or lack thereof—really held me back professionally. And when you have big organizations, people form factions or silos, which sometimes operate at cross-purposes— and there are people who want to do a good job, and some people who just want to advance themselves. Did that affect how you set up Craigslist? I realized the dividing line between small and big, when it comes to organizations, seems to be the Dunbar number [the maximum number of social relationships any person can manage cognitively] of 150. When I was CEO—which was only for a year—I tried to, let’s say, shape our DNA such that we would never grow big. [Craigslist currently employs “40-some” staffers, according to the company.] When did you first glimpse what the internet could be? In college, we were on the arpanet. I sensed it would be big, but I wasn’t passionate about it then. You graduated from Case Western in 1975— in the early days of arpanet, when it was basically used by scientists. It had immense potential, but I was too focused on class work. I should have focused on what I could do with the tools

120 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

that were right there. I could’ve reached out to people with similar interests. Later, in ’84, I read Neuromancer, by William Gibson. That vision of what cyberspace could be, and the way regular people—having no power or influence—could work together to accumulate power from the grass roots up kicked off the imaginations of many people. I started seeing that vision again in the early ’90s. I’d started spending time on the WELL, a small but highly influential virtual community. I left IBM and went to Schwab in 1993, and it had a brown-bag-luncheon series where I went around the company saying, “Here’s the internet. It’s going to be how we do business someday.” Craigslist is now in 700 cities in 70-some countries, and remains one of the mosttrafficked sites in the U.S. But it began with a single email in 1995—you simply shared interesting things going on in San Francisco. What was in that first email? The first ones had to do with two events: Joe’s Digital Diner, where people would show the use of multimedia technology. It was just emerging then. Around a dozen of us would come and have dinner—always spaghetti and meatballs—around a big table. And a party called the Anon Salon, which was very theatrical but also technology focused. How many people did that first email go to? Ten to 12. And then? People just kept emailing me asking for their addresses to be added to the cc list, or eventually to the listserv. As tasks started getting onerous, I would usually write some code to automate them. And I just kept listening. At first, the email was just arts and technology events. Then people asked if I could pass on a post about a job or something for sale. I could sense an apartment shortage growing, so I asked people to send apartment notices too. When did you realize Craigslist was becoming a thing? By the end of 1997. It was still just me, and at the end of that year I hit about a


THE NUMBERS BEHIND THE RISE OF CRAIGSLIST

What eBay paid in 2004 for a 28 percent stake in Craigslist—$16 million to former employee Phillip Knowlton for the stake, $8 million to Newmark, and $8 million to CEO Jim Buckmaster. EBay and Craigslist would sue each other in 2008, before settling in 2015.

10–12: The number of friends to whom Newmark sent an email about an event in San Francisco in the spring of 1995. This email is the genesis of what users soon dubbed “Craig’s List.”

Portion of Craigslist owned by Newmark in 2010. He now owns more. 2010: The year that Craigslist discontinued its Adult Services section, following allegations of its fostering prostitution and being complicit in sexual abuse. $304 million: What the consultancy AIM Group estimated Craigslist’s profit was in 2015, on revenue of

17 years: How long Newmark worked for IBM as a programmer, starting in 1976, before moving to San Francisco to take a job with Charles Schwab.

What Craigslist charged for its first paid listings in 1998—recruitment ads in San Francisco. It now charges for such ads in 45 North American cities.

million page views per month, which was big then. Microsoft Sidewalk [an ill-fated network of online city guides] wanted to run banner ads. But a theme coalescing in my head was: people were already paying too much for less-effective ads, so we could provide a simple platform where the ads would be more effective and yet people would pay less. That made sense at the time and has worked out pretty well. I was getting increasingly serious about the site and had gotten some volunteer help, but at the end of 1998, some people who had been using the site for years told me at lunch, “Hey, volunteering isn’t working. You gotta get real. You gotta make the site into something reliable.” Had you thought that too? I had been in denial. I could see things starting to not work. Postings didn’t get done in a timely way; the database didn’t get pruned of old listings in a consistent way. Trying to run a business collecting fees for job postings—I couldn’t make it work on a volunteer basis. Maybe someone with better leadership skills could, but I couldn’t. So I had to get real and go full time. I had to commit. I left what I was doing—programming for a company called Continuity Solutions, which was doing some interesting technology for customer service—and I made Craigslist into a company in early ’99. An interesting time to be starting a company in San Francisco. I was talking to a lot of bankers and VCs, socially. They were beginning to fantasize about the way the internet could happen. They were telling me to do the normal Silicon Valley thing: monetize everything. They were saying that this could be a billion-dollar company. But I had already made the decision to not highly monetize when I turned down the banner ads. That year, people helped me understand that, as a manager, I kind of sucked. How? I had trouble making tough decisions. I was not any good at the job interview process, and I made mistakes. I found it very difficult to fire anyone. I didn’t make major decisions that required some boldness, like adding new cities. I knew we needed to expand in that way, but I guess

I didn’t have the guts to do it. I thought, for example, that maybe we needed to do some advertising. In an HR magazine, for job postings. So I hired someone to do marketing, and put up a couple of ads, and that was just a wasted effort. Word of mouth is what really worked. I made one really good hiring decision, which was choosing our current CEO, Jim Buckmaster. I saw his résumé at the end of ’99 and hired him around then, as a lead tech guy. I realized that he could run things better than I could. That move with Jim is something that a lot of founders really struggle with. I was able, to some extent, to divorce my ego from my CEO role. And I’d had a lot of lessons. I’d seen micromanagement be a big problem in the tech industry. I just saw lots of situations where people screwed up by interfering with people who could do the job. To a shocking degree, Craigslist looks the same today as it did in the ’90s. You’re not deeply involved in the company anymore, but still: Why? I didn’t know how to do fancy. Seriously? With all your programming skills? I didn’t know how to design fancy. The evolution of Craigslist was based on listening to people as to what they wanted and what was needed. People consistently told us they didn’t want fancy stuff; they wanted something simple, straightforward, and fast. We listened to consensus rather than what someone was trying to talk us into. Sometimes the angriest voices are the loudest. Or sometimes you may hear, from 10 people who love fancy stuff, that we should do this fancy thing, and then you hear from a million other people saying keep it simple. So you turned over operations to Jim in 2000 and—famously—stuck with customer service. You’ve stepped back more in recent years, yes? In the past two years, I’ve delegated more leadership to the customer service team. I realized that I was not helping. I was inhibiting. I do minimal stuff to stay in touch, because detachment from your

INC.500TECH


“The timing is what mattered. I was lucky.”

We’ll get back to that in a moment. But let’s talk about what you took away from the eBay situation—it bought a 28.4 percent stake in Craigslist in 2004, you sued one another in 2008, and Craigslist finally settled and bought eBay out in 2015. What it taught me is that partners of any sort need to be trustworthy. You started Craigconnects, your umbrella for your philanthropic work, in 2011. Can you articulate your vision for giving, and how it meshes with your vision of the grass roots and the Web? It’s all a collection of the ad hoc. Now you tell us. Doing well by doing good is a business model, and Craigslist is about having a business that helps people help one another out. Craigconnects is my civic engagement thing where, in a number of areas I believe in, people help people. One is veterans and military families. I’ve gotten behind voting rights groups in a purely nonpartisan way—people need to be voting. You have to have good information to vote, and I support the Trust Project, which is working to develop indicators of trustworthiness that can be done as HTML tags in articles. One could be a link to an ethics code; one could be a link to an accountability process. There could be tags to whether or not this is original reporting, maybe, to distinguish opinion versus factual pieces. So any news aggregator would look for these tags, and if the reporter or the news organization has committed to them, then that article would be ranked more highly than articles from outlets that haven’t made this commitment. I’m also going pretty big with Wikipedia. While it has issues, it has become a major source of breaking news. Like anywhere, something may go wrong, but in Wikipedia it gets

122 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

& SHY GUY Newmark during his high school days. Not shown: his pocket protector.

corrected. [Newmark gave $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment in June.] I don’t have a sweeping vision. I just find cases that either have potential or are already working. Kiva [the microlender] and DonorsChoose are good examples of that. And I’m working with the Global Fund for Women. We’re talking about a campaign to help invent a new normal, when it comes to guys funding women’s charitable initiatives. What I’m good at is telling people, “Hey, here’s good stuff going on.” I don’t think I’m going to be a big leader. The world is not right for one guy on a horse. It needs many great people across the world who will lead and accumulate power that will be mediated over the internet. I don’t think I’ll be one of them. I don’t have the energy, or the hair, and certainly not the charisma. But if I smooth the way, that’s pretty good. You’ve spoken in interviews about being interested in charities that work, not

just those that tell a good story. What are the characteristics of the doers? Many are marginally articulate. I’ve found a lot of cases where people were doing good work but just didn’t know how to articulate it very well—like Blue Star Families and Consumer Reports. (I’m on CR’s board.) But much more distressing is the inverse. Once I thought that any charity that got 501(c)(3) approval would be doing good things. I now know that some are ineffective, and some are actively predatory. You mentioned Kiva. But some studies of the microlending model suggest that it doesn’t do that great a job in lifting people out of poverty. From what my team and I have observed, such businesses are imperfect, but the world is better with them. If I contribute a thousand bucks and 800 is used effectively—well, that goes pretty far in parts of the developing world. Everything about finance and business is flawed. You do what you can to make things less bad, and then you do more to make things less bad. You were 42 when you started Craigslist. What might you have done differently, had you started earlier? I couldn’t have started earlier, because the timing is what mattered. I was very lucky. I got laid off from Charles Schwab in 1995. I’d been exposed to what the internet and the Web could be, and then Schwab dumped me into the geography that was the pointy end of the spear with a respectable buyout. Sometimes businesses think, “If we build it, they will come.” They won’t. But when I built Craigslist, I was building something that people really wanted and there wasn’t much else going on. I didn’t understand the value of media and communications, identity, and branding. I wish I had known about them 30 years ago, but those things are never taught in computer science curricula. So it was only timing. Got it. And maybe I was ready to start learning social skills. JON FINE is an Inc. executive editor.

INC.500TECH

PETER VIDOR

thing is wrong and damaging. I regard my life over the past 20 years or so as completely surreal. I didn’t expect that my hobby would turn into a successful business, and also a very successful way for people to help one another. And I never expected that would lead me to do a lot of other civic engagement and philanthropy.


Self-braking. Self-correcting. Self-parking. Its impact is self-explanatory. The all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The 2017 E-Class embodies Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to transforming not just the automobile, but mobility itself. A self-parking, self-correcting luxury sedan with intelligent advances like PRE-SAFE Impulse Side, which can anticipate a side-impact collision and reposition you to help minimize the effect, and PRE-SAFE Sound, which helps protect the ears from damaging sound should an impact occur. The revolutionary new E-Class is the very future of transportation. Here and now. MBUSA.com/E-Class

2017 E 300 Sport Sedan in Selenite Grey metallic paint shown and described with optional equipment. PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side and PRE-SAFE Sound technologies do not guarantee that a driver would not suffer injury in the event of a collision. Vehicle cannot drive itself, but has semi-automated driving features. Always observe safe driving practices. Please refer to the operating manual for details on driver-assist systems. ©2016 Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC For more information, call 1-800-FOR-MERCEDES, or visit MBUSA.com.


 REVIEW THE COMPETITION

Brett Goldberg, Christopher O’Brien TickPick  Three-year growth 3,488.4%  2015 revenue $23.8 million

JOCKEYING FOR A BETTER SEAT—AND ONLINE SCALPS Former college roommates Brett Goldberg (right) and Christopher O’Brien founded TickPick in 2011—several years after Goldberg started buying and reselling tickets to Red Hot Chili Peppers concerts. Goldberg explains how the New York City–based ticket reseller competes with giants like Ticketmaster and StubHub by embracing guerrilla marketing—sometimes successfully, sometimes not. —As told to Victoria Finkle

When you’re trying to grow your business, you’ll do anything to drive traffic. That’s the name of the game in e-commerce, especially when you have no budget. One thing we did was write online reviews of our competitors on our blog. I have mixed feelings about that—but it’s driven tons of traffic for us. And even though I may have been taking someone else’s business, I was providing a service for the customers, telling them we had the same tickets for cheaper.  KNOW WHEN TO GIVE IN

When you searched for the name of one of our top competitors, our blog post about it came up number two. Depending on the month, it drove 5 to 10 percent of all our transactions— the blog post itself was getting more than 10,000 views a month. In November 2013, through mutual brokers, this competitor started asking us to take it down. I made the language softer, and I made sure everything in there was fact. It went quiet for a while. But they began bidding on our keyword in Google AdWords: When you searched “TickPick,” their ads would show up at the top—so then we needed to outbid them on it. That was costing us thousands of dollars a month. Finally, in April 2014, they asked us directly to take the post down, and said they would stop bidding on our keyword. We took it down that day. It was a really hard decision. We’re all competitors, but at the same time, we’re in this industry together. You’re fighting the bigger beast—that everyone thinks ticket marketplaces are bad.  BE TRANSPARENT

Consumer sentiment about this industry is not warm and fuzzy. With Hamilton right now, you could be spending $1,000 on a ticket with a face value of $189. But people come back to us because there are no hidden fees and our algorithms really help figure out which tickets to buy. We have a 10 percent commission—you’re going to pay what you see, and we’re going to pay the seller 10 percent less than the price they set. We also point out seat locations that are good deals—and if it’s an obviously bad deal, we’re actually hiding those tickets.  Photograph by WESLEY MANN

124 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500TECH


Of all the words you use to describe your business, small isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t one of them. Count on us for the right benefit solutions at the right price for the biggest thing in your lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;your business. From offices and law firms to factories and restaurants, our small business experts are here to help you and your employees get the most out of your benefits. Range of options tailored for businesses with 2 to 99 employees Dedicated small business team delivering guidance and support every step of the way


HOLD THE PHONE The telephone may have lost its sex appeal, but Laure and Todd Fisher have found a way to teach the old technology some new tricks.

126 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


across a problem. Fifteen or 20 years ago, people thought phone calls would diminish in importance. It was all about forms and online leads. But as it turns out, customers actually call when they are interested in a product. People had focused so much on online that they forgot their best customers are coming by phone, and they had no way of knowing how these customers had heard about them other than by asking each one to self-report. We thought there has to be an easy way to fix this. Our tracking software, for instance, allows you to run calls down to website visits, and to keywords.

Laure Fisher, Todd Fisher CallTrackingMetrics  Three-year growth 1,741.9%  2015 revenue $5 million

A Couple Finds a Calling Through an Old Technology Consumers haven’t stopped using phones to shop and buy, but sellers behave as though they have—missing valuable information. In 2011, Todd and Laure Fisher created CallTrackingMetrics, based in Severna Park, Maryland, to bridge an analytical gap between the analog and digital worlds. —As told to Deirdre van Dyk

 TODD: I grew up watching my dad develop some of the original video playback software. Occasionally, I’d be playing a video game like SimCity, and he would hack it so I could have more game “money.” My brother is a software engineer too. He’s at Google. I began by starting up businesses with my dad. Our first company was bought by Steve Case and turned into Revolution Health. It was exciting. But in 2008, it was failing, and a group of four friends and I had been talking about starting our own company. I chickened out. My dad had an idea and I thought, well, that worked out well the last time. So he and I started a consulting business. My friends went on to found LivingSocial.

LAURE: I worked in business consulting. I had 40 direct reports and was responsible for $30 million in revenue. I traveled all the time. Then when we had our first child, I needed to press pause. But I was quickly pulled in by my husband and father-in-law. TODD: We were developing

political websites. The problem was, if you’re chasing electioncycle money, it’s there and then it’s gone. So we had to shut our business. But out of that work, Laure and I hit on the idea for CallTrackingMetrics, because we kept coming

LAURE: At first, I was a one-man show out of our basement. I had our newborn in a Pack ’n Play next to me. Todd went to work at LivingSocial to support us. Luckily, I had a lot of experience negotiating contracts and working with CFOs. I was able to play the game well enough to convince them that we were a lot bigger than we were. We got a lot of these big contracts before we really should have. TODD: If you can bootstrap, you can make it a competitive advantage—especially in the software space, where there is no true overhead. The only costs are people. And I think it’s a mistake to hire a bunch of people to talk to your customers for you, because you insulate yourself from what their needs are. You’ll learn so much more from your customers if you talk to them yourself. LAURE: He’s creative and knows the industry. But I know how to scale a business. TODD: Which is critical. Don’t start a business without someone who knows how to manage process and to scale. I’m not kidding. If you don’t have someone who knows how to do that, go get a day job.

 Photograph by GREG KAHN

INC.500TECH


LEADING EDGE

Amy Webb ••••• your favorite ice cream: “Nick, Bosco Café has fresh chocolate ice cream waiting for you. Show your screen for a free second scoop.” Sound like a horrific invasion of privacy? Perhaps. But consider how much of our personal data we’ve already given out in the name of convenience: We now willingly share our fingerprints with our devices. Other emerging recognition technologies will help you hear what no one else can, participate in a conversation when you’re not in the room, and F YOU HAD JUST ONE SUPERPOWER, would you rather fly know who’s come in your front door. An early or be invisible? If you chose the latter, start thinking of example was SceneTap, which in 2010 offered an a superhero name. app that helped bar hoppers track, in real time, how Developers in Russia recently launched an app called many people were at a favorite hangout, their FindFace, which lets users scan a stranger’s face in a crowd average age, and the male-to-female ratio in that and identify her. FindFace relies on VKontakte—Russia’s room. SceneTap morphed into DoorStat, a service Facebook—to reveal, reportedly with 70 percent accuracy, for retailers, which collects and analyzes customer who someone is, as well as personal details scraped from data, including gender, age, ethnicity, and even that social network: who her friends are, who she’s married to, what mood, in real time. It lets retailers observe shoppers’ sports teams she follows, what she likes to eat. FindFace’s founders behavior in their stores and, for instance, move plan to market their recognition technology to highly sophisticated merchandise to better locations, or deploy staff professionals who need to identify and track people: retailers. who have more (or less) outgoing personalities. Here’s how it could work. Imagine walking past Bosco Café, on SceneTap preceded similar startups, like the edge of Red Square in Moscow. As you approach, a discreetly Density, whose sensors measure customer movemounted camera would recognize your face, ping a database, and ment and trigger preprogrammed commands. It’s learn that you just chatted with a friend about dessert. You’d hear a used by some restaurants in Sacramento. When beep and look down at your mobile phone to find a notification about Density senses that foot traffic has been slow for a specified period, discounted menu prices are triggered and customers are notified of the temporary changes. Another service—Placemeter—quantifies Amy Webb is an author and futurist the volume and movements of pedestrians, cars, and bicycles, giving an instant snapshot of how and the founder of the Future Today many people pass a storefront and how many walk into the store. Institute, a leading forecasting and strategy firm that researches Some new software can even identify people in the dark. German researchers have distechnology for a global client base. covered how to recognize faces by using infrared technology and pattern recognition—and in less than 35 milliseconds, regardless of lighting or facial expressions. And if your customer wears a heat-signature-blocking helmet? (Hey, it could happen.) KnuEdge has built a platform that recognizes individual voices, even in noisy environments. Founded by a former administrator at NASA, KnuEdge recently hired world-class voice impersonators to see if they could fool the system. The technology prevailed every time. Soon, such technologies will meld with artificial intelligence and neural nets—those huge computer networks built and trained to “think” like a human. With them, you’ll not only recognize Nick and know how much he likes chocolate ice cream; you’ll also know when there’s a 90 percent chance that he’ll walk by your store, and how likely he is to want ice cream when he does. When that day comes, it will be up to you to use your superpowers wisely.

128 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500TECH

GREG KAHN

Knowing Customers Before They Know You The technology that lets you identify them— literally—is here


®

CHECK WORRY-FREE SHIPPING OFF YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST. During the holidays, we take care of shipping so you can focus on what matters most to your business — sales. It’s no wonder why so many businesses rely on us and why USPS® makes more eCommerce deliveries to homes than anyone else. We can help make this season your best yet. For your free shipping consultation fill out the card or go to usps.com/prepfortheholidays

1

Free package pickup: For details on availability, visit usps.com/pickup. 2 Sunday Delivery: Scheduled delivery date and time depend on origin, destination and Post OfficeTM location. Some restrictions apply. For additional information, visit the Postage Calculator at postcalc.usps.com. 3 Free Saturday Delivery: Except when Saturday is a national holiday. 4 Free Flat Rate Boxes: Available only for Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express® and Priority Mail Express International® services. Supplies are delivered domestically only. ©2016 United States Postal Service.® All Rights Reserved. The Eagle logo is among the many trademarks of the U.S. Postal Service.® A454


I N C. B R A N D E D CO N T E N T / S A N A N TO N I O

While most cities fight tooth and nail to overturn base closure decisions, San Antonio went in another direction: it created a special redevelopment authority to repurpose the site as a mixed-use facility combining business, residential, and cultural attractions.

SAN ANTONIO:

A City Designed For Growth Your company can’t afford to ignore the long list of advantages awaiting you in the Alamo City As fall settles in, San Antonio is only getting hotter. Not meteorologically, but by every metric that counts. The second largest city in Texas, and 7th largest in the U.S (by population), San Antonio is racking up a host of accolades for its friendly business climate, appeal to Millennials, family-oriented culture, and explosive economic growth, particularly as measured by job creation. The city’s advantages are many, and include an ideal location served by excellent transportation infrastructure, a diverse workforce, and a variety of financial incentives and business assistance second to none. “There are many reasons to open or expand a business in San Antonio,” says Tom Long, executive VP of Business Recruitment for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation,” but at the top of the list I’d put our cost-effectiveness. We have low energy costs, inexpensive real estate, relatively low construction costs, and very competitive labor rates. And the cost of living for employees is low, which makes us a great location for families.” The city also has a notable spirit of cooperation between its civic and business leaders, which not only helps businesses thrive on a day-to-day basis but can lead to some very innovative efforts to boost the local economy. Exhibit A for such efforts would surely be Brooks City Base, a 1,300-acre site on the city’s south side that was formerly home to Brooks Air Force Base, a military facility founded in 1917. That pioneering military base was responsible for San Antonio ultimately becoming known as “Military City USA,” so the mid-1990s announcement that it would be closed came as a major blow to the city.

“We had no model to follow; we had to invent it as we went along,” says Leo Gomez, president and CEO of Brooks City Base. Working with Air Force officials, their federal congressional representatives, and city officials, Brooks has achieved a remarkable pivot. Today fully half its acreage has been completely converted to a mix of office space, light manufacturing, a state-of-the-art hospital, residential units, schools, parks, and other facilities. And plans are firmly in place to not only build out the rest of the original footprint, but to expand onto adjoining parcels of land. “Everyone was worried about the impact of losing 2,700 military jobs,” Gomez says. “But to date we have added more than 3,000 jobs, and within the next five years we’ll reach the 6,000-job milestone.” Brooks has achieved this stunning success, Gomez says, because “Our structure is unique: we are quasi-public but also an independent entity. We are off the tax roles, and we can offer big financial advantages, particularly in terms of new plant and building construction.” Just an eight-minute drive from downtown, and with plans to build a linear park that will connect to San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk, Brooks is both an exemplar and a microcosm of all that makes San Antonio such a dynamic and welcoming place for businesses. “The most common reaction we get from visitors,” says Gomez, “is, ‘I can’t believe this used to be a military base!’ The extent of the changes is huge, and we have new buildings going up all the time.” In 2004, Gomez says, the campus and adjoining 1,200 acres of land were valued at about $37 million. “Today that value stands at $557 million. Brooks has proven itself, and the valuations are only going to get bigger. Now is the time to become a part of it.”


Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to tap into 750 acres of opportunity. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for a place to start or expand your business, Brooks is one of the most innovative places in San Antonio, Texas. With amazing incentives, amenities and a convenient location, Brooks has limitless potential.


HIGHLIGHTED SPEAKERS

TONY ROBBINS The nation’s No. 1 life and business strategist

WEILI DAI Marvell Technology Group

ELIZABETH CUTLER AND JULIE RICE SoulCycle

NORM BRODSKY Inc. columnist

KIM JORDAN New Belgium Brewing

Come celebrate with America’s fastest-growing private companies. Join the biggest names in business for three days of learning, inspiration, and connecting. Best of all, you’ll have the time of your life.


The myth of low-hanging fruit PG.154

Invent. Experiment. Disrupt.



STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

DESIGNING MINDS Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf have found a way to turn their creative impulses into profit with their custom-made-furniture business, Uhuru Design. Founded in 2004, it has since grown into a $10 million high-end design-andbuild company with an interior-design division and a showroom in downtown Manhattan. Based in New York City’s Brooklyn, it specializes in using materials with a rich history. Its Coney Island line—which includes the Cyclone Lounger pictured here—is crafted from reclaimed ipe wood that was used to rebuild the original Coney Island boardwalk in the 1940s. —ABIGAIL BARON Uhuru Design  Inc. 500 rank 399  Three-year growth 959.4%  2015 revenue $9.8 million

•••••

Photograph by VICTOR PRADO

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 133


134 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


Tablet maker Fuhu was No. 1 on the Inc. 500 two years in a row. Then it went bankrupt. Inside the unraveling of America’s one-time fastestgrowing private company

OVER By LINDSAY BLAKELY + BURT HELM

IM MITCHELL’S morning ritual was as consistent as the

Southern California sunshine. After fruit, bacon, and a blueberry muffin at Martha’s 22nd Street Grill in Hermosa Beach, the CEO would cruise in his Porsche up Highway 1, to El Segundo. On this particular day in the fall of 2015, Mitchell had settled into his office at children’s tablet maker Fuhu and was in the midst of his morning conference calls when a panicked employee from the finance department barged in. “You are not going to believe this,” the staffer said. They turned to Mitchell’s computer and logged into Fuhu’s Wells Fargo account. The balance the day before: $4,512,662.53. The balance now? $0.00. Even before all of Fuhu’s money disappeared, Mitchell was having a doozy of a month. Three weeks before, he and his co-founder, Robb Fujioka—Fuhu’s mastermind and headstrong president—had been contacted by attorneys representing the company’s primary manufacturer, Foxconn. The Chinese giant was more than just a vendor. It was an investor and patron that had been instrumental in launching Fuhu on its meteoric rise. With gross revenue of

* Illustration by TOMER HANUKA

INC.500INNOVATE


$196 million and a three-year growth rate of 158,957 percent, Fuhu had earned the top spot on the Inc. 500 list of the fastestgrowing American private companies in both 2013 and 2014. But behind the scenes, the company was falling apart. In recent months, it had racked up unpaid bills from just about everyone it did business with. And Foxconn—to which Fuhu owed between $60 million and $110 million, depending on who was counting—had finally reached its breaking point. The lawyers told Fujioka and Mitchell that until they paid their tab, their company would be cut off. Fujioka insisted this was just a negotiating ploy. “There is no concept of bankruptcy or contract law in Asia,” claims Fujioka, who considers himself well versed in the Chinese way. Within 48 hours, Fuhu’s partners were on a plane to Hong Kong, where they hoped to strike a deal with Foxconn executives. But Foxconn wouldn’t budge. To Fujioka, it was all part of the dance. He sent his CEO back to El Segundo, assuming he understood that they would eventually work out a deal. But Mitchell, a former Accenture consultant, wasn’t so sure. When he returned home, he phoned up Walmart, Target, and Best Buy to warn them that Fuhu might not be able to fill their Christmas orders. Then he called Christian Donohue, a managing director of Tennenbaum Capital Partners, an L.A. private equity firm that operates a special situations fund for distressed companies. Five months earlier, Mitchell and Fujioka had persuaded Tennenbaum to give them a $10 million loan to provide much needed cash flow. Once Donohue was on the line, he seemed sympathetic. “Christian’s response was, ‘This is unfortunate. This is a big surprise to all of us. I feel bad for you, but we will figure out a way to work through it,’” Mitchell later recalled. But by the morning of October 30, Tennenbaum had declared Fuhu in default of its loan agreement. Mitchell tried to negotiate, but it was no use. A few days later, Tennenbaum froze the assets in Fuhu’s warehouse—then swept all of the cash from its bank account. When Mitchell saw the drained account, he tracked down Fujioka. “Can they fricking do this?” exclaimed Fujioka. Indeed, their lawyers soon explained, they fricking could. The consequences of losing their supplier were laid out in a thick stack of a Tennenbaum loan agreement that the Fuhu bosses had never bothered to read. By December, Fuhu would find itself filing for Chapter 11, concluding a ride neither Fujioka nor Mitchell had imagined would end so soon. In January, Mattel bought Fuhu’s assets in a fire sale for $21.5 million. Now Fuhu’s remaining creditors, which number more than a hundred and collectively are owed almost $110 million ($565 million if you count the estimated damages of a class-action lawsuit), have hired forensic accountants to sift through Fuhu’s books to see where the money went, what can be clawed back, and whether any funds were misappropriated. What happened? When Fujioka and Mitchell volunteered to tell Inc. their story, we leapt at the chance to illustrate, up close and unsparingly, the risks inherent in rocket-fueled growth. We spent hours with the partners, interviewed 15 current and former employees, and reviewed hundreds of court documents, emails, and meeting notes. The rise and fall

136 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

ANATOMY OF AN IMPLOSION How did Fuhu go from 158,957 percent growth to bankruptcy in three years? What happened—according to revenue.

$118 MILLION

& DESTINED FOR GREATNESS Fuhu president Fujioka was all smiles in the 2014 Inc. 500 issue. For the second year in a row, Fuhu had grabbed the top spot—a feat only one other company has ever achieved in the Inc. list’s 35-year history.

2011 Fuhu pivots to hardware after Foxconn invests $10 million in the company in 2010. Foxconn soon becomes Fuhu’s primary manufacturer.

2008 Software company Fuhu is founded by hardware vets Steve and John Hui, along with serial entrepreneur Robb Fujioka. The trio recruit Accenture consultant Jim Mitchell as CEO, and name Fujioka president.

$1.6 MILLION $279,000 $123,000 2009 Fuhu markets software products, including virtual trading cards and an MP3-player app, but sales are middling.

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012


$195.6 MILLION 2013 DreamWorks Animation invests in Fuhu, and sales soar to $196 million, putting Fuhu at the top of the Inc. 500 for the second consecutive year. Fujioka and Mitchell begin talks with Goldman Sachs about an IPO.

2012 Fuhu’s first hardware play—a kid’s tablet called the Nabi—sells out at Toys “R” Us in December 2011. The startup cracks open the market for children’s mobile devices and rolls out three new tablets in 2012, along with related accessories. Revenue hits $118 million, more than 420 times what Fuhu had as a software company, earning it the No. 1 spot on the Inc. 500.

<$70 MILLION 2014 Fuhu’s new DreamTab flops, and the company is burning through millions monthly. Fuhu makes another bet— this time on the $500 Big Tab, a lethal product misfire. Its Foxconn bill soon grows to more than $60 million, while prospects of an IPO vanish.

2015 Fuhu’s distributor is owed nearly $50 million and ceases shipping products. The company gets a $10 million loan from private equity firm Tennenbaum Capital Partners. When Foxconn cuts off the product supply, Tennenbaum sweeps Fuhu’s bank account, leaving its balance at $0.

2016 After a Chapter 11 filing and a bankruptcy auction, toymaker Mattel purchases Fuhu for $21.5 million.

BANKRUPTCY 2013

2014

2015

2016

of Fuhu is a cautionary tale about the seductions of early success and the overconfidence it can breed. But most of all, it’s the story of two entrepreneurs who pushed too hard to go big—one whose personal drive led him to take oversize risks against the advice of those around him, and one who failed to stop him. VERYTHING CHANGED for Fujioka the day

he saw the five Ferraris parked inside John Hui’s 10-car garage. By 2000, the 30-year-old had ascended from assistant sales manager at Cort Furniture Rental in Southern California to small-time dot-com entrepreneur. Fujioka had established a formula for hatching discrete tech marketing companies—graphic design, Web advertising, email marketing—running a business for a couple of years, and then flipping it for a million bucks or so. Adopted from Korea, he had grown up in suburban Denver among a tight-knit group of second-generation Japanese families whose grandparents had invested in one another’s local businesses. Now he was revitalizing their entrepreneurial roots, recruiting his childhood friends to work for their old pal, who, in their eyes, had become the brilliant kingpin of a burgeoning mini empire. “This guy is probably the smartest guy I know,” says John Sagara, a buddy hired at Fujioka’s ad firm Jump Communications who would go on to work at Fuhu. One of Fujioka’s outfits was hired by electronics company Korea Data Systems to run an email campaign. Fujioka quickly realized that John Hui, its owner, was more than just a suit— the Chinese-American entrepreneur was a self-made multimillionaire. Hui and his brother Steve were co-founders of the PC maker eMachines, which they had sold to Gateway for almost $290 million. It didn’t take long for Fujioka to persuade Hui to take him on as his protégé. Fujioka’s entrepreneurial enlightenment happened while he was traveling in Asia with the Huis, getting schooled in building fast-growth consumer electronics companies. “How they ran the business versus how I ran businesses was night and day,” says Fujioka, noting their commitment to efficiency and cost-cutting. Fujioka also got a glimpse of mogulhood. There was the Huis’ high-rolling social circle, which included Foxconn execs. Steve Hui, he was told, had purchased his own private island, while John Hui had that sprawling garage filled with Ferraris. “Two or three million dollars wasn’t small where I come from,” recalls Fujioka. “But I turned to John and said, ‘I’m at this point in my career where I need to stop messing around with this small money.’” The idea for Fuhu, which launched in 2008, was Steve Hui’s. The concept was to develop nifty software and license it to hardware manufacturers in the Huis’ network. The company would be a partnership between the brothers and Fujioka (the name Fuhu combines the first two letters of their last names). Since Fujioka was admittedly impatient and blunt, they agreed to hire a CEO—a polished salesman who was at ease on country

INC.500INNOVATE


They logged into Fuhu’s Wells Fargo account. The balance the day before: $4,512,662.53. The balance now? $0.00. club golf courses. That’s when Jim Mitchell’s name surfaced. If Fujioka got his grit from hustling, Mitchell got his finesse on a more conventional track. The 40-something from Indiana had spent nearly two decades at management consulting firm Accenture. He’d frequently jet between L.A. and Silicon Valley, catering to clients like HP and Intel, until 2008, when he cashed in his stock options with a plan to travel for a couple of years. But his wanderlust was interrupted by a call from John Hui, whom he’d helped advise at Accenture. Hui pitched Mitchell the Fuhu CEO gig, and then introduced him to his partner-to-be, Fujioka. While it seemed like an odd marriage, Fujioka and Mitchell’s dynamic quickly fell into place. Mitchell liked deal making, while Fujioka preferred developing products. The co-founders came to an agreement: The Huis would put up the initial capital, help Fujioka and Mitchell with connections, and then step back and advise as needed. Mitchell would be the face of the business as CEO, while Fujioka would be president and run operations. Fuhu’s earliest products were software—a kid-safe Web browser and customizable MP3-player apps. Early on, the relationship with Foxconn would shape both Fuhu and how its co-founders ran it. In 2010, after John Hui had made introductions, Foxconn invested $10 million in Fuhu. This granted Fujioka entry into one of the most powerful Asian companies in the world. “China has relationships that go from generation to generation, and they are based on a code of conduct,” Fujioka says he learned quickly. “What you rely on is relationship and honor and ceremony.” In 2011, Fujioka spotted an opportunity to do more business with his new investor. Foxconn had a few thousand Android tablets it wanted to offload; Fujioka decided to take the tablets off its hands. The Huis had warned the Fuhu execs to stay away from hardware, a tough business with huge overhead and slim margins, but they ignored the advice. The gamble paid off: Fuhu bundled the tablets with a child-friendly user interface, a playful red bumper, and kids’ marketing. This became an early prototype for the first Nabi, which Mitchell persuaded Toys “R” Us to carry. By Christmas, the retailer had sold all of the 10,000 units it had and Fuhu was pioneering an entirely new market: mobile devices for children. Fuhu decided to go all in on kids’ tablets, and watched sales soar. In 2012, it introduced three more versions of the Nabi. Mimicking the Apple model, there was an entire Nabi universe—educational software, a specialized user interface, and an expansive line of accessories. By the end of 2012, Fuhu’s revenue had reached $118 million—more than 420 times what it had rung up as a software company. Building what they believed would be America’s next great

138 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

consumer electronics company, Fujioka and Mitchell decided to raise more cash. They sought a $65 million fundraising round at a $280 million valuation. Mitchell signed licensing deals with Disney and DreamWorks Animation, persuading the latter to invest $10 million. Fuhu added regularly catered lunches and flew some 200 employees to Las Vegas for a company retreat, where they partied in the Hard Rock Hotel’s presidential suite. As Fuhu swelled to over 300 workers in 2013, Fujioka began telling his young staffers he was going to make them rich. Sometimes, he’d award them with fat raises and lofty new titles on the spot. Working there was an adrenaline rush. “I felt like I’d landed on a gold mine,” says one former employee. Y LATE 2013, sales had rocketed to $196

million. Visions of an IPO danced in the partners’ heads. But Fuhu was hardly prepared to go public. The company’s finance department consisted of an accountant, a bookkeeper, and no formal budget. So Fujioka and Mitchell started hiring CPAs and financial analysts and began IPO discussions with Goldman Sachs. It was Fuhu’s new number crunchers who would warn of the coming trouble. They took issue with the massive revenue projections that Fujioka and Mitchell had sent to the investment bank. An early model had Fuhu going from $200 million in revenue in 2013 to as much as $800 million a year later. However, actual sales never kept pace with the company’s ambitions, and the finance department had to keep revising the forecasts downward. By July, Fujioka was telling staff to expect roughly $350 million in annual revenue. Even that felt aggressive to the bean counters. Meanwhile, the nascent children’s tablet market was getting crowded. In the coming year, Amazon launched a kids’ version of its Fire tablet. Sprout, Comcast’s children’s cable network, introduced its own tablet, which sold through Walmart. Sales of Fuhu’s two workhorse products, the Nabi 2 and the Nabi Jr., began to level off. If Fuhu was going to achieve its lofty growth targets—or even keep sales flat—it needed another hit. Fujioka tended to respond to most problems by launching new products, and he wasn’t going to get slowed down by market research. Between early 2013 and mid-2014, Fuhu rolled out a bunch of kids’ tech toys: a GoPro-style action camera, headphones, and special-edition Nabis. Then came an idea that would put the Nabi brand squarely in the center of the kids’ entertainment business, opening the door for content deals and a Netflix-like subscription service. The DreamTab, as it was called, was an upmarket tablet released in partnership with Fuhu’s new investor, DreamWorks, that would come packed with cartoons and movies. With his eye on doubling revenue, Fujioka persuaded Foxconn to manufacture more than 150,000 DreamTabs. But by the summer of 2014, instead of a hot new product,

INC.500INNOVATE


BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE INNOVATION ALLIANCE

America has been on the cutting edge of innovation for over 200 years because of a strong patent system. If Congress passes harmful patent legislation, it will devalue the system that has helped turn America’s best thinking into our nation’s #1 export. That will mean fewer new ideas brought to market, fewer jobs and a weaker economy. We can’t maintain our global competitive edge by undercutting our greatest asset.

TAKE ACTION AT SAVETHEINVENTOR.COM


what Fuhu had was a dud. Consumers shied away from the high price of $269. Reviewers criticized the cross-promotional DreamWorks marketing, calling it crass. Fuhu now had a growing tab with Foxconn and had stuck its distributor with a glut of unsold DreamTabs. Meanwhile, slowing sales scared off investors and the company raised less than half of its $65 million goal. Bankers declined to back a public offering anytime soon. Then, Fuhu was slapped with a class-action lawsuit. Allegedly, Nabi 2’s batteries were faulty—in some cases, they were literally catching fire.

“Maybe there’s such a thing as $20 million or $30 million between friends. But $100 million? I don’t think they’re friends any longer.”

HE BREWING FINANCIAL crisis would

have tested even the best-led company, but Fuhu was not that. By 2014, CEO Mitchell had slipped further into a supporting role as a one-man sales and investor-relations team, while Fujioka had become the company’s leader. And from moment to moment, employees rarely knew which version of Fujioka they would get—the nurturing mentor or the dictator. As Fujioka had done at his prior companies, at Fuhu he hired childhood pals to populate many of the company’s senior positions. He also cherry-picked a group called the Partnership, some 30 employees who committed themselves to the collective good of the company. With that honor came the promise of equity, special access to Fujioka himself, and a walkie-talkie— which Fujioka’s assistant could use to send for his staff. “It was another form of knowing he could get anybody to drop everything at a moment’s notice,” says one former senior executive. The Partnership provided a powerful incentive for employee motivation, but it also created an organizational caste system. “Just imagine you’re in a high school, and all the cool kids get to sit at this cool table,” says one former nonpartner employee. “If you’re not part of that circle, you don’t get looked at and you don’t get talked to.” In this atmosphere, rumors flew of special perks for Partnership members. Fujioka denies there was anything improper about any of the favors he doled out. “We negotiated [auto] leases, and I’m pretty sure there were times when we helped people with their payments,” says Fujioka, noting that he gave one pregnant partner three bonus months of paid maternity leave. Jealousy and gossip from nonpartners, he says, were disheartening. “Maybe what they don’t understand is that the person [who received extra maternity leave] had two miscarriages, and it’s probably because she was working 13 hours a day. Those kinds of things,” he says. “And did it ever come out of pocket? A lot. That’s why I hesitate—was that Fuhu or was that me? Because I think 80 percent of it was me.” Meanwhile, loyalty was best proved to Fujioka by selfsacrifice. He expected employees to work as doggedly for him as he had for the Huis, who, he says, once made him pull several consecutive all-nighters to write a business plan. John Hui’s exercises “were very painful,” says Fujioka. “It was really about obligation, responsibility, and servitude.” Signs of disloyalty, real or perceived, could flare Fujioka’s temper. In one instance, after

140 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

a junior staffer privately asked the head of HR when he could collect overtime and take vacation, he was dragged before Fujioka and a roomful of partners for a vote on whether he should be fired. The meeting, the staffer later alleged in a wrongful-termination suit that was settled, “was done with oppression and malice” and resulted in “depression, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress.” Employees say they eventually learned not to challenge the views of their micromanager boss. “He wasn’t listening to the smart, talented people that he had hired,” says one former staffer. “Instead, he’d listen to the group that really consisted only of yes-men.” The more frustrated Fujioka grew with Fuhu’s lagging sales, the more he’d take it out on the staff. At weekly Partnership meetings, he’d sometimes play therapist, encouraging employees to open up in the name of self-improvement. “If you look at anybody great—Steve Jobs, John Hui—they all have this incredible strength that has led to their success, but they are very aware of how that translates to weakness,” Fujioka explains. Employees’ self-described weaknesses—like “not wanting to fight with people I love for fear of losing them,” confessed one staffer—would be logged along with a behavior-improving action item, and a consequence if the desired result was not achieved. (This particular individual’s punishment: She was not allowed to wear makeup except “for days with meetings with clients/vendors, eye makeup only.”) As former Partnership members tell it, Fujioka would then surface these details when they made mistakes. “Initially, it made us feel as though he cared,” says one. “What I didn’t realize was that, because he knew our flaws, he knew exactly how to manipulate us.” MEANWHILE, Fujioka and Mitchell kept on spending despite warnings from the finance department. Fuhu grossed only $5 to $10 per tablet, which left little room for extravagance. Yet as tight as the money was, the co-founders opened a posh company gym with personal trainers. Requests for at least $5,000 in petty cash for a trip were not uncommon, according to three executives familiar with the matter. (Fujioka and Mitchell insist that all petty cash requests were appropriate.) Fujioka flew groups of employees—sometimes 10 or more—to Hong Kong for Foxconn meetings, with everyone staying in the fivestar InterContinental Hotel. “I did two meetings in 15 days,” recalls one former Fuhu manager. “My memory is lots of great meals.” When finance shared its concerns with Fujioka and Mitchell, neither could be bothered. “We didn’t really care for how they thought through the numbers,” says Fujioka. “It was kind of like, ‘Can you go do the stuff that needs to be done for the IPO, and leave us alone?’” By the summer of 2014, the company

INC.500INNOVATE


was burning through cash at an alarming rate. With time running out for an IPO, Fujioka decided to try pulling one last rabbit out of his hat. He called it the Big Tab. The vision of a gigantic mobile tablet had been simmering in Fujioka’s mind for more than a year. He and his young son had been playing with a Microsoft touchscreen coffee table, a sort of interactive television mounted on four legs. Parents had always bemoaned screens, yet here were a father and son gleefully tapping and swiping together. What if Fuhu could create a tablet big enough for the whole family to gather around? It might change how families interacted, he thought. It might change the world. With the Big Tab, Fujioka had finally conceived a more profitable tablet. Its roughly $500 price tag could push toward a 20 percent margin on every unit sold. But everything about the Big Tab was risky. Just to keep sales flat from the previous year, Fuhu would have to commit up front to another massive order. If the Big Tab didn’t sell, the company would owe Foxconn tens of millions of dollars in addition to what it already owed for the DreamTab. Fuhu’s finance team was already concerned, and expressed that to Fujioka. When they told him that their best-case projection for 2014 was $65 million in losses, he was incredulous: “There has to be something seriously wrong with your model,” Fujioka replied. The Big Tab was a double-or-nothing bet—“one of those things where it would either make us or break us,” Fujioka says. While he maintains that Fuhu’s board members likely knew about his Big Tab plans, he can’t recall whether he explicitly sought their approval. (None of Fuhu’s board members returned calls seeking comment.) Fujioka reassured his employees that Big Tab sales would take care of themselves. “Someone gave him this idea of the ‘Tech 250,’ which means that the first 250,000 of anything ‘cool’ just sells,” says a former senior executive in finance. “It was the most bizarre notion I had ever heard.” As the holiday shopping season approached, it became clear the Big Tab was flawed. The tablet was too clunky for a child to hold, and had less than an hour of battery life. Tech critics scratched their heads—“Wonderfully absurd” wrote PCMag.com. Meanwhile, retailers couldn’t figure out where to display the product. Most stores simply wouldn’t carry it, leaving Fuhu stuck selling them on its website. By Christmas, fewer than 4,000 units had been sold. “It was a disaster launch,” concedes Fujioka. By January 2015, Fuhu’s business was in free fall: Annual revenue had plunged by more than half from the year before, to less than $70 million. The finance department was a revolving door: The CFO had left, soon followed by several key finance employees. Then there were the debts. In the fall, Fuhu had stopped remitting payments to its distributor, D&H. The distributor then sued Fuhu for breach of contract, saying it owed D&H $49 million. Meanwhile, Fuhu owed Foxconn tens of millions, at least, for the DreamTabs and Big Tabs. Soon, Foxconn sent finance executives to investigate. Fujioka, confident he understood Chinese business code, in-

sisted the visit wasn’t a sign of trouble, but rather a mere formality. “They weren’t happy with us, but that didn’t mean they were going to let us die,” Fujioka says. “Apple squeezes them [Foxconn] to a point of almost nonexistence, but they still work together.” But Fuhu’s finance team didn’t buy the spin. As a former senior finance executive puts it: “Maybe there’s such a thing as $20 million or $30 million between friends. But $100 million or more? I don’t think they’re friends any longer.” As the company hemorrhaged cash, Fujioka and Mitchell went hunting for more capital. But with declining revenue, Fuhu was no longer appealing to investors. That spring, the co-founders got the $10 million loan from Tennenbaum Capital Partners, along with another $10 million loan from factoring company LSQ Funding Group. Both were secured against Fuhu’s assets, but Fujioka and Mitchell didn’t worry about the details. Tennenbaum sent over a stack of paper with lots of fine print. “The lawyers were like, ‘Do you want to read this now?’ and I was like, ‘Are you crazy?’” Fujioka says. “It

“It was kind of like taking on a credit card. You sign this huge document, you have no idea what it says inside, and you go, ‘OK.’ ”

142 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

was kind of like taking on a credit card. You sign this huge document, you have no idea what it says inside, you are looking at your lawyers, your lawyers are saying it is risky and it is expensive, and you go, ‘OK.’” Fujioka and Mitchell continued churning out products and plotting more ambitious ones, like kids’ wearables and a line of internet-of-things devices. Nothing took hold. That summer, the co-founders managed to secure a $27 million investment from LG, the Korean technology company that manufactured the glass panels for Fuhu’s tablets. But at the company’s current burn rate, the cash would be gone by year’s end. Unpaid creditors, including an autism nonprofit to which Fuhu had pledged $500,000 in 2013, continued lining up. Foxconn was running out of patience. In the fall of 2015, it ordered Fuhu to reduce operating expenses. Fuhu hired a restructuring specialist and laid off support staff. Then came that letter from Foxconn’s counsel and the abrupt trip to Hong Kong, which ended with Foxconn’s cutting off Fuhu’s supply and seizing the 522,000 Nabis in its warehouse, followed by Tennenbaum’s freezing of the assets in Fuhu’s warehouse and its clean sweep of Fuhu’s bank account. By December 2015, Fujioka and Mitchell had run out of options. They approached Mattel, which agreed to make a stalking-horse bid as part of Fuhu’s Chapter 11 filing. On January 19, after a two-day auction, Mattel emerged as the owner of the failed company with a final bid of $21.5 million. SIX MONTHS LATER, Fujioka and Mitchell sit down in Fuhu’s

conference room, now employees of Mattel. On the table is a

INC.500INNOVATE


What is Craftsmanship ? SM

To be crafted is to meet exacting standards. It’s the human touch that combines art and science to create something unique.

©2016 Chubb. Coverages underwritten by one or more subsidiary companies. Not all coverages available in all jurisdictions. Chubb®, its logo, Not just coverage. Craftsmanship.SM and Chubb. Insured.SM are protected trademarks of Chubb.

We tend to think about craftsmanship in terms of physical things: fine wine, classic cars, custom furniture and iconic structures. But what about the underwriting of insurance to craft protection for your unique and valuable things? And the service behind that coverage when you need it most — like claims and loss prevention? For your business. Your employees. Your home. The people you love. Things that need a particular kind of protection and service. The kind Chubb provides. Not just coverage. Craftsmanship.SM Not just insured.

Chubb. Insured.

SM

new.chubb.com


folder with a copy of Mitchell’s official declaration to the bankruptcy court. He needs to be careful to not stray from his official written statement. “We got read the riot act from our lawyers,” Fujioka says later. Fujioka says he wants to come clean about where he went wrong. Eventually he speaks to Inc. for eight hours over three conversations. He owns up to his tendency to cause bottlenecks by micromanaging, and to being too tough as a boss. “It’s like fatherhood,” he says. “If you come from a strict family, you’re strict.” Later, on the phone, he disputes the rumors about favoritism and overspending. But eventually he admits there was an organizational problem that stemmed from him. “There was a bankruptcy of the business, but there was also a bankruptcy of the corporate culture,” he concedes. Fujioka also blames his employees—or rather, he faults himself for not hiring different ones. “There were a lot of partners who just couldn’t fulfill what they needed to fulfill,” he says. But his self-critique doesn’t extend much further. Fuhu’s biggest failure, he believes, was being victim to bad timing. The Nabi 2 came at the perfect moment, he says, but the Big Tab was before its time, while the Nabi Pass was too late. He still believes that, were it not for Tennenbaum’s sweep of Fuhu’s bank account, his company would have

“There was a bankruptcy of the business, but there was also a bankruptcy of the corporate culture.” bounced back. “I think success is a combination of timing, humility, and timing, right?” he says with a laugh. Perhaps. But many of the sins that spurred Fuhu’s demise were timeless: Fujioka developed products in profusion and failed to find new hits, and yet he still bet his entire company on an ill-conceived product he’d never market tested. Mitchell, as CEO, failed to intervene. Together, the two ran a business with slim profit margins that couldn’t cover overhead, and a strategic plan based on little more than inherited connections, smooth talk, and misplaced hope in new products. Sitting catty-corner from Fujioka in the conference room, Mitchell is quiet, staring down at the table, his face so flush it’s almost purple. Throughout the conversation, he chimes in with an odd fact or observation—the technical advantages of the Big Tab Slim, the 2014 IPO climate—but mostly he sits silent. In the coming weeks, the forensic auditors hired by the unsecuredcreditors’ committee will pore over Fuhu’s books to find out

14 4 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

Old Dominion’s focus on premium service means every item arrives with one of the lowest claims ratios and one of the best on-time records in the industry.

Old Dominion Freight Line, the Old Dominion logo, OD Household Services and Helping The World Keep Promises are service marks or registered service marks of Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. All other trademarks and service marks identified herein are the intellectual property of their respective owners. © 2016 Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., Thomasville, N.C. All rights reserved.


where the money went. In coming months, the remaining creditors—more than 100 of them, claiming $110 million in liabilities—may go after Fujioka and Mitchell personally to get more money. Already, one IT vendor has sued Mitchell for intentional and negligent misrepresentation and fraud. Fujioka dismisses such inquiries as a witch-hunt. “Total bullshit,” he says. The experience has left Fujioka, unlike Mitchell, feeling wilier, savvier, more dangerous. He frames his company’s downfall more like a personal rite of passage than a professional disaster. All of his idols—including the Huis, he says— have gone though a major bankruptcy in their careers. “It’s a fact of life when you go into the hardware business that you are going to fail, and it’s going to be a massive fail,” he says, noting that the Huis have continued to be supportive. (Neither returned calls seeking comment.) But in El Segundo, Fujioka’s faithful circle is shrinking. More than 200 employees have left or been laid off from the company, including most of his department heads. He shrugs off the notion that partners might be justifiably angry that the equity they were promised has nearly evaporated. He says his mentors had warned him that this, too, would happen. “They said the most heartbreaking thing was watching people they thought of as family walk away,” he reflects. In fact, Fujioka says he would pursue the same strategy again—only next time, he’d do it faster. He’s not the type to

settle for a commodity hardware company or a straightforward software developer, he says. He wants it all. It’s his nature. “If you look at Apple’s history, it didn’t start as a high-margin company,” he points out. “It was 15 years in the making before Apple really hit its stride.” Fujioka is convinced he still has that Jobsian potential lurking within him. A former Fuhu senior executive credits that confidence to Fujioka’s ability to adapt himself toward anything he wants, bringing people along with him. “He sees something, and then he embodies that pursuit,” he says. “He can read how to get people to do things for him. For me, it wasn’t so much greed around money, but greed around changing the world.” By the end of the conversation, the Fuhu offices are mostly vacant. A queasy-looking Mitchell excuses himself to meet his wife and kids for dinner back in Redondo Beach. Fujioka, who has filed for divorce and is dating Fuhu’s senior marketing manager, stays behind. He has no plans to go home just yet. He has projects he must plan. Calls to Asia he must make. His glass-walled office looks out onto empty cubicle after empty cubicle. Soon, sitting there, he’ll call out for what staff and friends remain. But the office is so empty, it’s hushed. LINDSAY BLAKELY is Inc.’s Los Angeles bureau chief. BURT HELM is Inc.’s senior contributing writer.

INC.500INNOVATE

OD Domestic offers:

• More than 220 service centers nationwide • Competitive transit times and pricing • Proactive shipping solutions

For more information, visit odfl.com or call 1-800-235-5569.


COUNTERSTRIKE A chance encounter on an airliner prompted then-McAfee exec George Kurtz to launch a new cybersecurity outďŹ t with Dmitri Alperovitch and Gregg Marston. When the Democratic National Committee was hacked recently, it called CrowdStrike.

146 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


tems. Back then, it was the Wild West days and I had my first experience with hackers. I realized security was not fun and games. After I graduated from Seton Hall, I worked for Price Waterhouse, where we had one computer; we did all accounting manually. I built a mainframe program that extracted all the data from our customers’ systems. When they moved me to the security team, in 1993, I was the fifth employee for that division. IN 1999, I CO-WROTE HACKING EXPOSED, a best-

George Kurtz CrowdStrike  Three-year growth 2,428.7%  2015 revenue $27.3 million

A BETTER WAY TO DEFEND AGAINST HACKERS Co-founded by former McAfee CTO George Kurtz in Irvine, California, in 2011 and funded by the likes of Google Capital, CrowdStrike has become the go-to cybersecurity agency for Wall Street and major corporations. —As told to Will Yakowicz



selling book for network administrators who needed to protect against breaches. After that I started my first company, Foundstone, which made the Inc. 500 in 2004. It detected and managed software vulnerabilities. In 2004, McAfee acquired Foundstone for nearly $90 million. WHEN WE LAUNCHED CROWDSTRIKE, we built prevention-and-detection technology based on robust machine-learning infrastructure and artificial intelligence that looks for behavioral attack patterns and indicators of attack to identify bad actors. The old guard uses signatures, or how a file is named, to identify known viruses and hackers. There are unlimited ways a file can be named, but there are not that many ways to breach a network; if you look for that behavior, you’ll know when someone is trying to get in.

MY LIGHT-BULB MOMENT for CrowdStrike happened when I was on a plane. I noticed a passenger take out his laptop and turn it on. McAfee software popped up and started to scan the man’s machine. The guy was waiting for 15 minutes. He was waiting and waiting and I was just sitting there, the CTO of the company that makes the technology. I realized there must be a better solution.

WE HAVE A MASSIVE CLOUD that keeps track of

THAT’S WHEN DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, who was

across 176 different countries. Our security intelligence unit, over 30 people out of 400-plus employees, functions like a minigovernment. They identify the known bad guys and track those adversaries and map them back to adversary groups around the world. We track about 80 different nation-state groups and highend e-crime operators, guys making a lot of money off ransomware.

the vice president of threat research at McAfee at the time, and Gregg Marston and I decided to build a security company entirely on the cloud. CrowdStrike became the first native cloud security solution, which means that it’s lightweight and nimble and doesn’t slow down the user’s machine. EVERY YEAR, LIKE CLOCKWORK, Warburg Pincus, the private equity firm, called me to see if I was ready to start a new company, because they wanted to invest. In 2011, I finally said I was ready to leave, and I pitched them on a Saturday morning via Skype with a 25-slide deck. They gave me $25 million—essentially $1 million per slide. The joke was that I should’ve made 30 slides. I STARTED PROGRAMMING video games in

fourth grade on my Commodore. In high school, I built and ran bulletin-board sys-

all of these behaviors. We can tell if something is bad even though we’ve never seen it before. That’s the same for our machinelearning technology. We can look at the DNA features of a file and based on past known bad files, we have trained our system to know whether something is malicious. WE’RE COLLECTING 14 billion events per day

ONCE A BEHAVIOR is identified as malicious,

the behavior and the profile of the hacker are fed into the cloud and every customer becomes immune to that hack. So you operate on cloud scale, rather than with a single computer, which is how legacy security software works. We can prevent breaches, because once we ID a bad actor, everyone is protected.  Photograph by EMILY SHUR

INC.500INNOVATE


Vaseal Montgomery Favor TechConsulting  Three-year growth 948.8%  2015 revenue $19.2 million

REPAYING THE FAVOR Vaseal Montgomery, a minister and retired military officer, started Favor TechConsulting in 2007. Today, her nearly 100-person, Vienna, Virginia– based business assists Uncle Sam’s highest-profile agencies—including the Department of Veterans Affairs— with everything from cybersecurity to IT infrastructure. But it might not have happened were it not for a video game and a call from one Colonel Strand. —As told to Jill Krasny

 NEVER BE SATISFIED

 A VIDEO GAME CHANGED MY LIFE

 WHAT MAKES YOU STRONGER

Twice, when I went to meet a new commanding officer, I was told, “You’re here because of a quota.” One of them even said he found that his black officers weren’t as effective as the white ones. Who am I going to complain to when this is my first encounter with my new boss? Those are the types of things you don’t want to talk about, but you live with them. They develop you and help you get more confidence in yourself, because you’re always trying to prove that you can do your job and do it as well as anyone.

When I was a lieutenant in the military, Pac-Man came out, and I wanted to know what made Pac-Man do what it did. I mentioned I wanted to go to a systems programming course, and my senior officer said I needed to speak with a Colonel Strand. But I didn’t get in touch with him right away. Then one day, I got a call from a guy saying he heard I was interested. I said, “Yeah, but I have to call Colonel Strand.” He said, “This is Colonel Strand, and I’ve already slotted you to go on this day.” Fourteen weeks later, I knew programming.

I was chief information officer for the Army’s surgeon general. The mission of health care in the military is to get servicemen and -women back to their units as quickly as possible. I wanted to continue helping that effort, so I started my company. We need to have resources that allow our veterans, as patients, to be free of worry. We need to do things better and faster. And 13 percent of my company’s staff are veterans. Consulting for me is almost akin to counseling. The clients tell you where they are right now and where they want to be in five, 10 years, and you develop a plan to get them there. Some people are satisfied and say, “This is OK. This is all I want.” I think there’s always something more. There’s always something better. Something to look forward to.

 Photograph by SHANIQWA JARVIS

148 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500INNOVATE


SELLOUT EXPECTED! REGISTER TODAY. iconic.inc.com

One day. Thousands of ideas. An unforgettable experience. An exhilarating day to connect with fellow visionaries and provocateurs, to ignite new ideas, and to learn from todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business icons.

Jim Koch Samuel Adams

Jack Ma Alibaba

Daniel Lubetzky KIND

Julie Rice SoulCycle

Elizabeth Cutler SoulCycle

Curt Richardson OtterBox

John Jacobs The Life is Good Company

Danae Ringelmann Indiegogo

BOSTON September 22, 2016

Purchase tickets early to save $300

iCONIC.INC.COM Founding Sponsor


LOOKING FORWARD For a long time, Jake Shoff, co-founder of the Phoenix Recovery & Counseling Centers, seemed likely to become a construction mogul. The addiction and suicide of his troubled business partner took him onto a very different path.

150 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016


stigma that drug addicts are bad people—I learned, in fact, the opposite is true. The one struggling with this disease is stronger than most. I co-founded a facility in Midway, Utah, and we grew it.

Jake Shoff The Phoenix Recovery & Counseling Centers  Three-year growth 6,545%  2015 revenue $6.7 million

Rising From the Ashes Jake Shoff started a successful venture right out of college. He shut it down after a very painful loss—one that led him to an entirely different business and the thriving, Draper, Utah-based company he runs today. —As told to Noah Davis

 AFTER I GRADUATED from Brigham Young University in 2004, I started a construction company in Orem, Utah, with a good friend of mine, Josh. The first few years, things were great. Then Josh had a really bad car accident. He fell into a depression, and started to struggle with prescription pain pills. I GOT CONCERNED after the birth

of my first son, when Josh asked if he could have my wife’s pain medication. And I remember coming into the office and seeing powder on his desk. At first, I didn’t know what it was. But after seeing it many times, and noticing Josh’s dramatic mood swings—along with his being unreachable for hours at a time—everything clicked. I asked

Josh on multiple occasions if there was anything I could do. He’d say, “Yes, I need help.” BUT I DIDN’T KNOW what to do.

I didn’t know how to help him. Josh never went to rehab. He committed suicide in February 2007, 16 months after his accident. AFTER HE DIED, I fought to keep

the construction business open. But I shut it down after a few months. I found a treatment company that needed help restructuring its business. I fell in love with the individuals and families getting help. This

TWO AND A HALF years in, however, my partner and I had differences about the company—how the facilities should look and what I did. And there were issues with profits and management. I sold my interest to him, and Troy Jolley and I started our own recovery and treatment center—the Phoenix—in June 2012, with a small amount of money, a van, and some furniture. WE DON’T HAVE the big residential facilities that some of our competitors have. In most residential programs, people stay for a standard of 90 days, and then leave with little follow-up, because that’s how a facility makes the most money. All the research and data prove that’s not the way to treat this population, and ours isn’t like that. We treat people on an inpatient basis for 30 to 45 days, and then for another 60 to 75 days, Monday through Friday, while they live at home or in a sober house. Then we treat them for up to six months in our intensive outpatient program. INSURANCE COMPANIES love that

model because that’s what’s proved most effective: Treating people in that way often helps them not have to pay for it again. Building partnerships with insurance companies is one of the reasons we’ve grown like we have. We started with one center in 2012. We have six now, mostly in and around Salt Lake City. We’re opening two more in the next six months. I ABSOLUTELY, 100 PERCENT, think

a place like the Phoenix could have helped Josh.

 Photograph by MICHAEL FRIBERG

INC.500INNOVATE




IN THE DRINK

Suja Juice  Inc. 500 rank 13  Three-year growth 10,511.1%  2015 revenue $65.9 million

 Photograph by VICTOR PRADO 152 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500INNOVATE

STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

When Annie Lawless and Eric Ethans needed help in building their homemadejuice business, they turned to restaurateur and loyal customer James Brennan and his good friend, serial entrepreneur Jeff Church. But getting Church interested in a drink called Green Supreme required some effort. “I’m a Midwestern meat-and-potatoes guy,” he says, “so for me to try a kale-based drink—it took a while.” But after one sip, Church was hooked. In 2012, the four launched Suja Juice, an organic, cold-pressed beverage company. Three years and 150 flavors later (including the raspberry probiotic water pictured here), the San Diego–based company is growing like an organic, nonGMO weed. —ABIGAIL BARON


FOR KALIKA YAP, an EO Los Angeles member, her values provide the roadmap for how she navigates both business and family. Without these in place, she found it hard to make consistent business decisions. Kalika quickly realized the importance RIGHÀQLQJIXQGDPHQWDOEHOLHIVDQGVWLFNLQJWRWKHP7KHUHVXOW"6KHKDVIRXQGWKH fuel to propel her towards greatness. 7KH(QWUHSUHQHXUV·2UJDQL]DWLRQ (2 LVIXOORIH\HRSHQLQJWDOHVWKDWVKRZFDVHWKH impact of entrepreneurship. Visit growth.eonetwork.org/inc to learn more about Kalika.


GET REAL

Jason Fried ••••• will yield low-hanging fruit is almost always an admission that you have little insight about what you’re setting out to do. And any estimate of how much work it’ll take to do something you’ve never tried before is likely to be off by degrees of magnitude. What’s worse is when you load up these expectations on employees or new hires and BET YOU have muttered or heard from someone else assume they’ll meet them all, quickly. You’re in your office at least one of these suggestions: basically setting them up to fail. “We’ve never had anyone in business developWe recently found ourselves in this very ment, so there must be a ton of low-hanging fruit position. We hired someone for the first time she can go after with just a little bit of effort.” to run business development at Basecamp. We “We’ve never done any social media outreach, figured we would make a few calls, quickly line so imagine how much new traffic”—low-hanging up a few partnerships, and see the results pour fruit—“we’ll get if we just start tweeting stuff out.” in. Since we’d never had anyone focus on this “We’ve never followed up with customers area previously, we counted on there being a load who cancel to better understand why they left, so of treasure just inches beneath the surface. How I’m certain there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit to hard could it be, right? Turns out, we’ve had be had if we do those interviews.” to do quite a lot more digging than we realized to I’ll confess I’m definitely guilty of having unearth the gold. In fact, we’re still looking! thought in these terms. Why wouldn’t I? By definiThe same thing happened when we decided tion, pursuing low-hanging fruit should be a noto begin an email drip campaign—to increase conversions of Basecamp trial customers seized. Little sweat, all reward! to paying ones—which we’d never attempted The problem, as I’ve learned over time, is that the notion of before. Previously, we had been sending users low-hanging fruit is flawed. We assume that picking it will be easy an email when they signed up, and nothing only because we’ve never tried to do it before. You think you know, much after that. So we decided that sending but actually you don’t. In my mind, declaring that an unfamiliar task a few more follow-up emails over the next several days might quickly move the conversion numbers north. Low-hanging fruit, right? Wrong. Jason Fried is a co-founder Certainly, we can move the numbers. And we’ve already learned a ton from these of Basecamp (formerly new drip campaigns. But the idea that you’ll instantly move needles because you’ve never 37signals), a Chicago-based software company. tried to move them until now is, well, delusional. Sometimes you get lucky and things are as easy as you had imagined, but that’s rarely the case. Most conversion work, most business-development work, most sales work is a grind—a lot of effort for a little movement. You pile those little movements into a big one eventually, but that fruit is way up at the top of the tree. So the next time you call someone’s job easy—or tell an employee to go pick some low-hanging fruit—stop yourself. Respect the work that you’ve never done before. Remind yourself that other people’s jobs aren’t so simple. Results rarely come without effort. If momentum is on your side, what is hard can masquerade as easy, but never forget that not having done something before doesn’t make it easy. It usually makes it hard.

154 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC.500INNOVATE

JEFF SCIORTINO

The Myth of Low-Hanging Fruit Why seemingly easy rewards take hard work


2nd-largest auto insurer

97% customer satisfaction

24/7 licensed agents

Helping people since 1936 The other guy.

The choice is yours, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s simple. Why enjoy just one cookie when thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a whole stack in front of you? The same goes for car insurance. Why go with a company that offers just a low price when GEICO could save you hundreds and give you so much more? You could enjoy satisfying professional service, 24/7, from a company thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made it their business to help people since 1936. This winning combination has helped GEICO to become the 2nd-largest private passenger auto insurer in the nation.

Make the smart choice. Get your free quote from GEICO today.

JHLFRFRP_$872_/RFDO2IÄ&#x2020;FH

Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Customer satisfaction based on an independent study conducted by Alan Newman Research, 2015. GEICO is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States according to the 2014 A.M. Best market share report, published April 2015. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2016 GEICO


Which fund to pick? How can I be sure I’ll have enough money to retire?

Is now the time to sell?

Invest With Confidence. Morningstar helps simplify the endless list of investments and distill complex products to their fundamentals—how they work, whether they’re worthwhile, and what role they should play in your investment strategy. We encourage a long-term approach to investing, and the independent research on Morningstar.com helps investors discover new opportunities or dive deep into the subjects that matter to them. ©2016 Morningstar. All Rights Reserved.

Visit www.morningstar.com/ members/confidence.html for free resources and planning tools.


Growth Leaders of 2016



TINY PARTS THAT MAKE BIG THINGS WORK

STYLING BY MEGUMI EMOTO

Impact CNC manufactures small parts for big machines. Founded in 2012 by Jerry Busche and Aaron Schoon, the company creates components for the trucking, agriculture, and oil industries, among others. Impact CNC uses new, efficient computerized numerical control (CNC) machines that make preprogrammed cuts, so its products are customizable, precise, and more affordable than those of many of its competitors. The company just opened two 35,000-squarefoot facilities near its Columbia City, Indiana, headquarters and is scouting for another location. —KEVIN J. RYAN Impact CNC  Inc. 500 rank 50  Three-year growth 4,929.8%  2015 revenue $19.5 million

•••••

Photograph by VICTOR PRADO

SEPTEMBER 2016 - INC. - 157


You don’t get to be one of America’s fastest-growing private companies without tremendous sacrifice. But the rewards are sweet. Collectively, the 2016 Inc. 500 have created more than 55,000 jobs. Here, by sector, are the companies that turned sacrifice into success.

ADVERTISING + MARKETING

TRAFFIC

2012 TROY, MICH.

CEO: Jeremy Sutton, trafficdigitalagency.com Operates a full-service digital advertising agency.

Includes traditional advertising agencies and public relations firms, as well as SEO specialists, data-analysis experts, and developers of online marketing platforms

Number of companies 42  Total revenue $753.8m  Median revenue $5.4m  Median growth rate 1,288.4%  Total employment 2,589

BRANDNEX.COM

2012 HOUSTON

CEO: Akil

Kurji, brandnex.com Sells customized promotional products. 2010 SAN MATEO, CALIF. • DRAWBRIDGE Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, drawbrid.ge

184

2,021.9%

$2.5M

32

187

1,989.5%

$2.1M

20

199

1,903%

$66.1M

110

202

1,897.2%

$18.1M

96

239

1,643.3%

$4.2M

52

252

1,573.5%

$2.4M

22

259

1,534.3%

$4.1M

58

264

1,502.1%

$4.1M

7

287

1,360.4%

$7.4M

65

292

1,350.9%

$10.3M

36

314

1,225.9%

$9.8M

58

325

1,182.6%

$2.1M

25

330

1,172.8%

$8.9M

300

336

1,140.7%

$94.2M

169

CEO:

Builds technology for cross-device branding and marketing campaigns.

LOS YORK

2012 SANTA MONICA, CALIF.

MANAGING PARTNERS: Dexton

Deboree and Seth

8

14,404.6%

$15.6M

25

SPARTY VENTURES

2012 PALO ALTO, CALIF.

CEO: Adam

Foroughi, applovin.com Provides mobile marketing automation and data analytics.

TAPCLICKS

2009 SAN JOSE, CALIF.

CEO: Babak

Hedayati, tapclicks.com Provides marketing analytics products and services.

KONNECTED

2011 SHELBY TOWNSHIP, MICH.

CEO: Ken Cauley, konnected.com Provides online advertising services.

SOLAR MEDIA TEAM

2012 DEERFIELD, FLA.

CEO: Gabriel

Solomon, solarmediateam.com Sells customer leads, marketing products, consulting, and sales training to the solar power industry.

MANIFESTO AGENCY

2011 PORTLAND, ORE.

CEO: David Dyer, manifestoagency.com Operates a full-service advertising and branding agency.

POP! PROMOS

2012 PHILADELPHIA

CEO: Erin Reilly, poppromos.com Makes customized promotional products.

BOOST MARKETING GROUP

61

4,271.7%

$5.5M

5

68

4,132.5%

$234.2M

100

3,534%

$5.6M

96

91

3,477.8%

$3.9M

4

92

3,428%

$4.3M

65

124

2,769%

$8.2M

22

135

2,608.2%

$3.5M

14

Hein, pixability.com Creates video advertising for digital platforms

137

2,559.4%

$8.4M

4

2009 MADISON, WIS.

173

2,092.9%

$4.5M

140

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

158 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

Creates online marketing strategies and content for dentists.

DOUBLE A EVENTS

2012 AUSTIN

CEO: Amber

Allen, doubleaevents.com Operates a marketing agency specializing in branded marketing experiences.

ADVICE MEDIA

1998 PARK CITY, UTAH

CEO: Shawn Miele, advicemedia.com Sells customer acquisition services and digital marketing.

METAMARKETS

2010 SAN FRANCISCO

CEO: Mike Driscoll, metamarkets.com Develops real-time analytics for programmatic advertising.

PIXABILITY

2008 BOSTON

CEO: Bettina

EVOKE BRAND STRATEGIES CEO: Kelly Ehlers, ideasthatevoke.com Provides advertising and marketing services.

SIGNPOST

2011 HILO, HAWAII

2010 RENO, NEV.

CEO: Colin Receveur, smartboxwebmarketing.com

87

CEO: Robert Lilly, developing-awareness.com Operates a fundraising and donor acquisition firm servicing nonprofits.

Jones and Dan Schuessler, abuvmedia.com Develops websites.

2010 ST. LOUIS

CEO: Joshua Turner, linkedselling.com Sells LinkedIn lead-generation and marketing services.

2001 NEW ALBANY, IND.

Eilers, boostgr.com Designs online marketing campaigns.

CO-CEOs: Doug

Hall, influenceandco.com Provides executive branding and content marketing services.

SMARTBOX WEB MARKETING

2012 GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

DEVELOPING AWARENESS

2011 COLUMBIA, MO.

CEO: John

LINKEDSELLING

CEO: Steve

ABUV MEDIA

2010 NEW YORK CITY

Sharma, movableink.com Provides email marketing services and tools.

INFLUENCE & CO.

2007 SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

CEO: Derek Thurston, trafficexchangenetwork.com Provides online marketing platforms, creative, and analytics.

APPLOVIN

MOVABLE INK CEO: Vivek

Epstein, losyork.tv Creates multimedia advertising and marketing campaigns.

2010 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Stuart

Wall, signpost.com Provides customer-relationship management technology. 2003 NEW YORK CITY • KARGO Harry Kargman, kargo.com CEO:

178

2,071.4%

$5.9M

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

29

Develops ad content and technology for mobile and tablet platforms.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree


Where the Growth Lives

Where the Revenue Is The financial-services sector replaces health as the largest, by gross revenue, on the Inc. 500, more than doubling in size over last year. And despite predictions of media’s demise, gross revenue in that sector has nearly doubled since 2015.

ENGINEERING $356.3M

There are more Inc. 500 honorees in New York than in any other American city. And for the first time since 2010, San Francisco failed to make the top five Inc. 500 hometowns.

FINANCIAL SERVICES $2.6B

OVERALL

MANUFACTURING $135M

HEALTH $1.7B

SECURITY $162.8M

ENERGY $237.7M

MEDIA $96.6M

RETAIL $447.2M

CONSUMER PRODUCTS & SERVICES $1.9B

1 NEW YORK CITY 2 ATLANTA 3 LOS ANGELES 4 AUSTIN 5 IRVINE, CALIF. PER CAPITA

1 CLEARWATER, FLA. 2 IRVINE, CALIF. 3 ATLANTA 4 HOLLYWOOD, FLA. 5 ALEXANDRIA, VA. NUMBER OF COMPANIES PER STATE

BUSINESS PRODUCTS & SERVICES $1.1B TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY $115M

FOOD & BEVERAGE $1.1B

SOFTWARE $639.5M

GOVERNMENT SERVICES $305M

ADVERTISING & MARKETING $753.8M EDUCATION $320.6M

CONSTRUCTION $398.4M

HUMAN RESOURCES $132.9M

I.T. SERVICES $457M LOGISTICS & TRANSPORTATION $495.6M

REAL ESTATE $220.7M TELECOMMUNICATIONS $77.5M

INSURANCE $82.9M

TOTAL REVENUE

COMPUTER HARDWARE $50.9M

MEDIAN GROWTH

JOBS CREATED

$13.8B 1,580.5% 55,704

CALIFORNIA NEW YORK FLORIDA VIRGINIA TEXAS GEORGIA COLORADO ILLINOIS MICHIGAN UTAH ARIZONA MASSACHUSETTS WASHINGTON NEW JERSEY PENNSYLVANIA MARYLAND OHIO NORTH CAROLINA OREGON DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA INDIANA MINNESOTA MISSOURI ALABAMA LOUISIANA SOUTH CAROLINA WISCONSIN IDAHO KANSAS NEVADA OKLAHOMA TENNESSEE DELAWARE HAWAII NEBRASKA WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTICUT IOWA MAINE MONTANA NEW HAMPSHIRE NORTH DAKOTA PUERTO RICO VERMONT WYOMING

85 46 39 34 33 32 15 15 15 15 14 14 13 12 11 9 9 8 8 7 7 6 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

THE INC.500


ADVERTISING + MARKETING (CONT.) NEWSLETTER PRO 2011 BOISE, IDAHO • THEShaun Buck, thenewsletterpro.com

BUSINESS PRODUCTS + SERVICES

A broad spectrum of companies, including consultancies, that help other businesses operate smoothly and efficiently

343

1,118.8%

$3.8M

40

347

1,105.5%

$7.3M

30

Number of companies 40  Total revenue $1.1b  Median revenue $5.3m  Median growth rate 1,652.6%  Total employment 8,147

CEO:

Creates custom print newsletters.

INFLUENSTER

2010 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Aydin

Acar, influenster.com Operates a product-discovery and -review platform that connects brands with consumers.

STATUS LABS

2012 AUSTIN

CEO: Darius Fisher, statuslabs.com Provides online reputation management, public relations, and crisis management services.

PALO MEDIA

2010 MARSHFIELD, MASS.

CEO: Anthony Paluzzi, palomobile.com Operates a digital marketing agency.

2008 ATLANTA • CARDLYTICS Scott Grimes, cardlytics.com

349

1,099.3%

$5.4M

29

2009 PORTLAND, ORE.

Weinert, grayboxpdx.com Operates a web design and digital marketing agency.

CORE AND MORE TECHNOLOGIES

352

1,077.9%

$2.4M

5

366

1,049.3%

$77.6M

366

370

1,038.4%

$2.1M

23

CEO: Tim Kachuriak, nextafter.com Operates a fundraising research and consulting firm.

2007 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Yoav Naveh, convertmedia.com Develops video ad management technologies for the publishing industry.

393

975.4%

$2.2M

6

422

914.1%

$2.5M

6

423

909%

$18.9M

60

75

2009 NEW YORK CITY 433

881.9%

$10.2M

100

442

867.7%

$2.5M

29

447

853%

$2M

11

CEO: Amanda Hite, btcrevolutions.com Creates digital marketing campaigns for clients’ social causes.

CREATIVE STUDIO PROMOTIONS 2012 GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

2010 MIAMI

CEO: Spencer

Kramer, sobepromos.com Sells customized promotional products. 2012 JENKS, OKLA.

CEO: Bryan Wilks, freeformagency.com Provides digital marketing, branding, and advertising services.

2009 NEW YORK CITY • LIVEINTENT Matt Keiser, liveintent.com

14

24

7,799.6%

$8.6M

8

28

7,117.2%

$18.6M

25

45

5,301.1%

$13.6M

27

53

4,895.2%

$21.6M

419

84

3,601.7%

$6.8M

57

94

3,386%

$3.6M

94

106

3,129.3%

$4.3M

10

108

3,035.8%

$5.1M

8

110

2,981.7%

$8.5M

80

118

2,843.6%

$5.6M

15

FURNITURE SOLUTIONS GROUP 2011 ANNAPOLIS, MD.

Carr, furnituresolutionsgroup.com Provides furniture, fixtures, and equipment design, as well as management and procurement services.

1993 KEW GARDENS, N.Y.

2015 REVENUE

Distributes wireless-device repair parts and accessories. 2011 LOS ANGELES

Tomar, elevateservices.com Provides outsourced business services for law firms. 2011 SAN FRANCISCO

CEO: Jared

Schrieber, infoscoutinc.com Provides consumer purchasing data and analytics.

HIREOLOGY

2010 CHICAGO

CEO: Adam Robinson, hireology.com Provides hiring management software and services.

2009 HOUSTON

PRESIDENT: R.

Michael Villarreal, fliteatm.com Sells, installs, services, manages, and processes ATM facilities for financial institutions and retailers. 2011 SAN FRANCISCO

CEO: Kishan Madamala, maxtonandcompany.com

448

851.7%

$2.2M

13

456

845.1%

$2.1M

15

490

776.2%

$60.7M

220

Consults with niche retail brands on packaging, supply chains, marketing, and merchandising.

HERMAN INTEGRATION SERVICES

CEO:

CEO: Fran Biderman-Gross, advantages.net Operates a full-service branding and marketing agency.

CEO: Richard Hammell, elementsgs.com Advises international companies on HR compliance and payroll and benefits administration.

MAXTON & COMPANY

2012 MIRAMAR, FLA. CEO: David

Wolf, herman-is.com Provides audiovisual technical and project management professionals for AV systems integrators.

GLOBO

2009 FORT WASHINGTON, PA.

CEO: Gene

Schriver, helloglobo.com Provides translation services, including onsite, telephone, and video interpretation.

Develops email marketing and advertising campaigns.

160 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

$12.4M

Moore, sbooa.com Provides financing and related consulting to small businesses.

FLITE BANKING CENTERS

CO-OWNERS: Ann Vidro and Menda Wright, creativestudiopromo.com Provides custom screen printing and embroidery for promotional items.

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

12,059.9%

2011 COLUMBUS, OHIO CEO: James

INFOSCOUT

2012 WASHINGTON, D.C,

RANK

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS OF AMERICA 11

CEO: Nicole Sahin, globalization-partners.com Sells globalization consulting, translation, and interpretation services.

CEO: Lokendra

$10.6M

BE THE CHANGE REVOLUTIONS

ADVANTAGES

15

ELEVATE SERVICES

CEO: Bobak Emamian, prolificinteractive.com Creates mobile apps for companies.

FREEFORM AGENCY

$17.7M

CEO:

889.2%

Greenberg, keplergrp.com Provides digital marketing services.

SOBE PROMOS

16,196.5%

ELECTRONICS 2007 CHICAGO • REVAMP Anant Handa, revampwholesale.com

429

2012 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Richard

PROLIFIC INTERACTIVE

6

Provides businesses with operational support services and a B2B social network.

ELEMENTS HOLDINGS GROUP & SUBSIDIARIES 2012 CHICAGO

2009 FRISCO, TEXAS

KEPLER GROUP

48

PRESIDENT: Christian

CEO: Andrew M. Young, coreandmoretechnologies.com Sells digital marketing services.

CONVERTMEDIA

$33.4M

2012 CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

2010 ASBURY PARK, N.J.

NEXTAFTER

23,486.9%

GLOBALIZATION PARTNERS

CEO:

CEO: Paul

5

CEO:

Provides consumer purchasing data and analytics to financial, retail, and consumer markets.

GRAYBOX

2009 ATLANTA • COMPANY.COM Bill Wade, company.com

494

771.1%

$5.4M

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

7

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree


RAZOR CONSULTING SOLUTIONS

145

2,425.6%

$3M

42

153

2,354.7%

$2.6M

11

2010 WATFORD CITY, N.D. CEO: Eric Mauch, gotorazor.com Creates custom software applications.

OCCAM’S PARADIGM

2012 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Anupam Satyasheel, occamsparadigm.com

EMPIRE FLIPPERS

2010 LOS ANGELES

TORRENT CONSULTING

2012 CHARLOTTE, N.C.

CO-FOUNDERS: Phil

Brabbs and Daniel McCollum, torrentconsulting.com Provides Salesforce implementation and consulting services.

CONSULTING SERVICES • BLUEPRINT 2005 BELLEVUE, WASH.

161

2,252.8%

$4.7M

21

164

2,195.6%

$2.9M

43

PARSE.LY

2009 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Sachin Kamdar, parse.ly Provides digital media analytics.

FIVE LAKES PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

166

2,162.2%

$22.3M

331

198

1,905.7%

$4.6M

31

200

1,899.6%

$2M

12

279

1,405.6%

$4M

45

286

1,364.3%

$2M

27

288

1,354.9%

$53.7M 4,900

300

1,300.3%

$5.8M

CEO:

Provides outsourced back-office support. 2011 WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.

CEO: David

Yount, licenselogix.com Assists businesses in researching, obtaining, and maintaining licenses and permits.

TOTAL TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS GROUP •• 2010 ST. CHARLES, ILL.

CORIOS

2010 PORTLAND, ORE.

ORDERMYGEAR

2007 DALLAS

CEO: Kent McKeaigg, ordermygear.com Streamlines ordering of athletic gear for schools and league teams.

CAPITAL CONSULTANTS • REGULATED 2010 ATLANTA

73

389

979.1%

$4.3M

16

398

961%

$4.4M

14

400

958.1%

$4.4M

17

411

941%

$4.6M

32

415

928.3%

$9.9M

26

460

828.6%

$10M

36

472

806.2%

$2.9M

54

480

795%

$32.4M

281

500

757.6%

$693.6M 934

CEO: Jonathan Williams, regulatedcapitalconsultants.com Provides business operations consulting services for companies in propertyintensive industries.

1997 PHOENIX

CEO: John

CEO: Nick Partridge, fivelakespro.com Consults with dental practitioners on insurance participation strategy.

LICENSELOGIX

$3.6M

Romero, centralcloseout.com Sells inventory from U.S. department store closeouts, liquidations, overstocks, and customer returns.

CULVER EQUIPMENT

2010 MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, OHIO

2008 SANTA MONICA, CALIF. • TASKUS Bryce Maddock, taskus.com

CENTRALCLOSEOUT.COM • 2010 HOLLYWOOD, FLA.

CEO: Robin Way, coriosgroup.com Provides business management, technical, and analytics consulting services.

CEO:

1999 STAFFORD, VA.

994%

CEO: Angela

Creates web and print promotional products and sells marketing strategy services.

LLB ENTERPRISES

ANTERIS MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

385

Ann Stone, anterisconsulting.com Sells management consulting services.

Neal, bpcs.com Provides business management and IT consulting services.

CEO: Lori Burke, llbenterprisesllc.com Provides conference management and construction management services.

Bhowmick, tredence.com Sells data visualization, management, and analytics services.

CEO: Lee

CEO: Ryan

2011 NORTH ATTLEBORO, MASS. • OPTAMARK Tarang Gosalia, optamarkgraphics.com

2012 SAN JOSE, CALIF.

CEO: Shub

2002 ALPHARETTA, GA.

Consults on business and financial strategies for clients in all industries. MANAGING PARTNERS: Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti, empireflippers.com Assists clients with buying, selling, and investing in websites and online businesses.

TREDENCE

32

Culver, culvereq.com Provides design, fabrication, sales, and installation of warehouse equipment and material-handling machinery.

WEGOLOOK

2009 OKLAHOMA CITY

CEO: Robin Smith, wegolook.com Sends inspectors to examine and verify products or conditions for remote or online buyers.

WHOLESALE SCREENING SOLUTIONS 2012 PURCELLVILLE, VA. CEO: D. Mark Lowers, lowersriskgroup.com Provides enterprise risk management and loss prevention services, including employment screening and data intelligence.

1980 SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. •• VIXXO Jim Reavey, vixxo.com • Provides asset management and data CEO:

303

1,286.9%

$13M

41

327

1,180.9%

$5.7M

178

328

1,175.5%

$3.2M

6

350

1,082.1%

$2.5M

50

362

1,056.6%

$4.9M

31

364

1,051.7%

$9M

43

Ward, ttsg365.com Provides printing and document-management services.

analysis.

CEO: Tim

2007 SANDY, UTAH • CLEARSOURCE Rob Goeller, clearsourcebpo.com CEO:

Sells outsourced customer services.

GENERAL MATERIALS

2010 NORCROSS, GA.

CEO: Mingde Song, generalmat.com Supplies parts and services to the HVAC industry.

RAFAEL MARRERO AND COMPANY 2008 DORAL, FLA. CEO: Rafael Marrero, rafaelmarrero.com Provides management advisory and project, vendor, and program management services.

LISTENFIRST MEDIA

2012 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Jason

Klein, listenfirstmedia.com Provides brand data analytics services.

MYRTLE CONSULTING GROUP 2012 HOUSTON CEO: Edwin Bosso, myrtlegroup.com Provides operational consulting services to food and beverage, consumer products, and life-sciences companies.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

2015 REVENUE

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

COMPUTER HARDWARE Companies that make, distribute, or sell components, microchips, semiconductors, or related hardware. Customers include consumers and technology businesses

Number of companies 3  Total revenue $50.9m  Median revenue $15.1m  Median growth rate 1,352.5%  Total employment 187

ALEPH OBJECTS

2011 LOVELAND, COLO.

CEO: Jeffrey Moe, alephobjects.com Develops and manufactures 3-D desktop printers.

POINT 2006 KENOSHA, WIS. •• VANTAGE Ryan Sorensen, vpcinnovations.com

122

2,782.3%

$15.1M

101

291

1,352.5%

$27.4M

35

431

885.9%

$8.5M

51

CEO:

Provides IT consulting and procurement services.

KING MEMORY

2009 COLUMBUS, OHIO

CEO: Chad

Crnkovich, kingmemoryusa.com Sells, recycles, and manufactures computer memory and integrates customized IT systems.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


CONSTRUCTION

2012 IRVINE, CALIF.

CEO: Dallas

Imbimbo, bigrentz.com Rents construction equipment online.

PGM

2012 FRESNO, CALIF.

CEO: Sarah

Clark, pgmpower.com Provides heavy construction services for the utility industry.

48

5,092.7%

$30.1M

95

4,842.7%

$13M

35

4,664.8%

$4.8M

9

2012 WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. PRINCIPAL: Michael

Parnell, mpcbuilders.net Provides construction management services.

2012 VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIF. • TREEIUM Moty Ginsburg, treeium.com

UHURU DESIGN

399

959.4%

$9.8M

60

2006 SCHAUMBURG, ILL. 420

916.6%

$2.9M

21

459

832.1%

$171.7M

111

467

814.9%

$9.3M

54

496

770.9%

$16M

99

2004 NEW YORK CITY

PIPE VIEW AMERICA

Mathey, pipeviewamerica.com Provides pipeline-inspection and reporting services. 2007 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Peter Serpico, omnibuild.com Performs construction and renovation services.

MOORE HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING • 2009 SANTA ROSA, CALIF. CEO: Curtis

114

2,887.9%

$33.4M

45

CEO:

Moore, moorehvac.com Sells, maintains, and repairs residential heating and air-conditioning systems. 1993 NEW ORLEANS • MAXHOME Lawrence Closs, maxhomenow.com

Sells general contracting services for green home-remodeling projects.

THE EXTERIOR COMPANY

60

CO-CEOs: Bill Hilgendorf and Jason Horvath, uhurudesign.com Designs and builds custom furniture and provides interior design for commercial, residential, and hospitality clients.

OMNIBUILD 57

MP CONSULTING SERVICES

$5M

CEO: Brian Hall, fortress.build Builds docks, seawalls, and boat lifts.

CEO: Nick

54

1,058.1%

2005 WINTER GARDEN, FLA.

Number of companies 21  Total revenue $398.4m  Median revenue $8.4m  Median growth rate 1,609.2%  Total employment 997

BIGRENTZ

361

FORTRESS MARINE CONSTRUCTION

Businesses involved in construction projects, including building homes, offices, and hotels. Also, businesses that supply construction companies

CEO:

168

2,118.7%

$8.4M

20

189

1,953.3%

$4.7M

30

Provides bathroom-remodeling services and sells home-improvement products.

2012 LANCASTER, PA. PRESIDENT: Christian

Hoke, theexteriorcompany.com Provides exterior home-renovation services.

CLIMATE CONTROL EXPERTS 2007 LAS VEGAS CEO: Christopher Roth, climatecontrolexperts.com

Companies whose products and services are sold directly to consumers. Some have a retail component, but that is not their primary means of reaching buyers

Repairs HVAC systems for residential and business customers.

SUNPRO SOLAR

2007 MANDEVILLE, LA.

CEO: Marc

Jones, gosunpro.com Plans and installs solar panels for residential and commercial customers in the South’s Gulf area.

FIRE LINE SERVICES

1992 FORT WORTH, TEXAS

CEO: Bree

Wink, firelineservices.com Installs underground utilities, including water lines, sewers, fire lines, and storm drains.

209

1,865.7%

$19.2M

50

210

1,859.1%

$15M

47

1,772.1%

$4.2M

28

STRATTON & BRATT

1,726%

$4.5M

50

243

1,609.2%

$7.7M

100

276

1,418.8%

$24.3M

23

CEO:

301

1,289.1%

$4.5M

28

2010 JACKSONVILLE, FLA.

Gonzalez, maerconstruction.com Specializes in heavy civil construction for underground utilities, roadways, and drainage. 312

1,237.4%

$6.1M

27

340

1,123%

$3.7M

5

2011 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. CEO: Ross Vierra, axisge.com Provides construction and security technology services.

CEO: Angelia Cabello, kwestent.com Provides general-contractor and homeimprovement construction services.

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

162 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

LEAFLY

2010 SEATTLE

TICKPICK

2011 NEW YORK CITY

CO-CEOs: Brett

Goldberg and Chris O’Brien,

HYPERICE

2010 IRVINE, CALIF.

IPSY

2011 SAN MATEO, CALIF.

CEO: Marcelo

Camberos, ipsy.com Sells monthly subscription boxes full of makeup samples and other beauty products.

MOSQUITO JOE

2007 MILLBROOK, ALA.

RANK

2015 REVENUE

2

36,555.3%

$55M

100

65

4,191.3%

$152.4M

180

76

3,860.7%

$8.5M

40

90

3,488.4%

$23.8M

10

96

3,366.4%

$4.5M

9

104

3,136.1%

$169.3M

100

128

2,699.6%

$8.1M

47

147

2,423.7%

$81.3M

136

Dubin, dollarshaveclub.com Sells shaving and men’s grooming products; agreed in July to be acquired by Unilever.

CEO: Jim Huether, hyperice.com Makes cold-compression wraps and other products for athletes.

CEO: Erika

KWEST ENTERPRISES

218

tickpick.com Operates an online marketplace to resell tickets to sporting, music, and theater events.

Provides construction and contracting for restaurant, retail, and office building projects.

AXIS GLOBAL ENTERPRISES

66,788.6% $116.2M

2012 MARINA DEL REY, CALIF.

Reynolds, leafly.com Operates a cannabis-focused website.

Stratton, strattonandbratt.com Designs and implements landscaping projects.

1

CEO: Michael

CEO: Drew

CEO: Zack

MAER CONSTRUCTION

2012 SOMERVILLE, MASS.

DOLLAR SHAVE CLUB 230

2011 PLEASANT GROVE, UTAH

CONSTRUCTION 2010 ATLANTA • PSGTrey Edwards, psg-construction.com

PAINT NITE

Hermann and Sean McGrail, paintnite.com Hosts painting parties led by professional artists.

Saffel, prairie-landworks.com Provides land surveys and field engineering services for the energy, manufacturing, and municipal sectors. CEO: Sean Faries, landgorilla.com Sells construction loan management software.

2012 LOS ANGELES

CO-CEOs: Daniel

CEO: Tom

2010 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.

LOOT CRATE

Davis, lootcrate.com Sells monthly subscription boxes full of gamer- and geek-related merchandise.

2012 MCPHERSON, KAN.

LAND GORILLA

Number of companies 29  Total revenue $1.9b  Median revenue $9.4m  Median growth rate 1,495.7%  Total employment 2,377

CEO: Chris

224

PRAIRIE LANDWORKS

CONSUMER PRODUCTS + SERVICES

2010 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.

CEO: Kevin

Wilson, mosquitojoe.com Provides pest-control services for ridding homes and offices of mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

TOUCH OF MODERN

2012 SAN FRANCISCO

CEO: Jerry Hum, touchofmodern.com Curates and sells fashion, accessories, and home goods.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


CONSUMER PRODUCTS + SERVICES (CONT.)

RENOGY

2010 ONTARIO, CALIF.

CEO: Yi

Li, renogy-store.com Designs and sells portable solar-energy products. POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. • GOPOLE 2011Anthony Anari, Russell Van Zile,

444

864%

$18.9M

34

453

846.5%

$9.4M

3

481

791.1%

$1B

900

483

784.9%

$10.8M

23

CO-FOUNDERS:

185

FAB GLASS AND MIRROR

2,000.3%

$2.4M

30

2012 COLUMBUS, OHIO CEO: Ahmed Mady, fabglassandmirror.com Manufactures and sells glass tabletops, shelves, and mirrors.

IDEA BUYER

2007 COLUMBUS, OHIO

CEO: Eric Corl, ideabuyer.com Operates an online marketplace to resell and license patents.

SHOP MELEE

2012 WILLOWBROOK, ILL.

CEO: Louise

Juckniess, shopmelee.com Operates online clothing consignment shops and provides estate-sale services.

SOUND RINK

2012 PORTLAND, MAINE

CEO: Cody

DeLong, soundrink.com Sells tickets and supplemental perks, including meet-and-greet packages and merchandise, to music fans.

HER HAIR COMPANY

and Ryan Vosburg, gopole.com Sells mounts and accessories for GoPro cameras.

GLOBAL 2009 LAKE MARY, FLA. • JEUNESSE Randy Ray, jeunesseglobal.com CEO:

197

1,912.2%

$2.2M

25

Makes and sells skin care products and supplements.

TECH 2010 LOS ANGELES •• OUTDOOR Caro Krissman, outdoortechnology.com CEO:

231

1,724.2%

$2.4M

35

232

1,714%

$3.3M

7

Sells audio products and accessories designed for outdoor use.

EDUCATION

Companies that provide instruction or coaching or sell educational materials, or whose primary customers are schools and universities

Number of companies 11  Total revenue $320.6m  Median revenue $7m  Median growth rate 1,991.3%  Total employment 1,159 253

1,570.2%

$4.8M

4

266

1,495.7%

$40.7M

15

270

1,479.9%

$2.6M

14

289

1,354.4%

$6.9M

8

306

1,277.3%

$110.6M

90

318

1,213.9%

$2.1M

28

353

1,075.5%

$9.7M

110

2012 INDIANAPOLIS CEO: Erick

Armstrong, herhaircompany.com Sells hair extensions and related products.

DANNY WIMMER PRESENTS

TRIBECA MARKETING GROUP

2011 LOS ANGELES CEO: Danny

Hayes, dannywimmerpresents.com Produces music festivals and other outdoor events.

CARVED

2011 ELKHART, IND.

FOUNDER: John Webber, carved.com Makes wooden cases and covers for iPhones.

2007 CHICAGO • SPIKEBALL Chris Ruder, spikeball.com

Sells equipment for Spikeball, a team game similar to volleyball.

SKYROCKET TOYS

2010 LOS ANGELES

CEO: Nelo

Lucich, skyrockettoys.com Makes and sells high-tech toys, bicycle accessories, and sporting goods.

ASHBY LAW

2012 KENNEWICK, WASH.

CEO: Scott

Ashby, pnwfamilylaw.com Provides family law services, including divorce, child custody, and adoption.

LEGACYBOX

2009 CHATTANOOGA, TENN.

CO-FOUNDERS: Adam

Boeselager and Nick Macco,

legacybox.com Digitizes photos, tapes, and other types of recordings.

GEEK 2008 JACKSON, MICH. • MAKEUP Marlena Stell, makeupgeek.com

2010 CHAPEL HILL, N.C.

CEO: Justin

Richards, youthdigital.com Runs online coding and digital-design courses for children.

ZSPACE

2007 SUNNYVALE, CALIF.

CEO: Paul

Kellenberger, zspace.com Sells virtual-reality glasses and systems to be used with its online courses.

MAGOOSH

2009 BERKELEY, CALIF.

CEO: Bhavin Parikh, magoosh.com Provides online test-prep programs and apps.

$17.5M

23

367

1,047.7%

$5.3M

100

MASTERYPREP

395

969.1%

$2.2M

4

410

941.8%

$23.2M

67

2011 BERKELEY, CALIF. 432

883.2%

$6.4M

17

2011 SOQUEL, CALIF.

CEO: Tyler Bramlett, garagewarrior.com Produces and sells workout videos and programs.

2012 AUSTIN

CEO: Keren Kang, nativecommerce.com Operates websites on topics including firearms, makeup, and finance, and provides marketing and web-design services.

CEO: Kevin Gianni, annmariegianni.com Makes and sells skin care products and makeup.

RANK

YOUTH DIGITAL

1,072%

CEO: Gene Frisco, asandaspa.com Operates a salon and spa with two New York City locations.

ANNMARIE SKIN CARE

2012 PARAMUS, N.J.

358

AVEDA SPA LOUNGE • ASANDA 2011 NEW YORK CITY

NATIVE COMMERCE

EDUFFICIENT

CEO: Thomas Ferrara, edufficient.com Provides digital marketing and other services to colleges and universities.

Neubig, capture-education.com Develops software that uses nontraditional data to let schools schedule and create programs for students.

CEO:

WARRIOR MEDIA

2012 COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, UTAH

CEO: James Carlson, zurixx.com Develops seminars for TV personalities, including Daymond John for his Launch Academy.

CAPTURE EDUCATION • 2006 NEW ALBANY, OHIO

Sells cosmetic products and provides hair and makeup tutorials through its website.

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

164 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

$8.6M

10

43

5,626.1%

$130.1M

101

58

4,579%

$39.5M

38

83

3,621.7%

$5.3M

185

143

2,450.7%

$8.7M

90

186

1,991.3%

$7M

24

188

1,971.8%

$3.3M

24

241

1,612.5%

$4.4M

100

297

1,320.2%

$3.3M

40

378

1,009.4%

$2.1M

16

475

800%

$108.4M

531

CEO: Mike

2012 BATON ROUGE, LA.

CEO: Craig

Gehring, masteryprep.com Provides test-prep materials and practice exams to schools and school districts.

NEARPOD

2012 AVENTURA, FLA.

CEO: Guido Kovalskys, nearpod.com Develops online software and lessons for teachers and schools.

CONVERGE CONSULTING

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

8,395.3%

CEO: Anthon Rolon, tribecamarketinggroup.com Provides marketing services for schools and colleges.

ZURIXX

CEO:

20

2011 HOLLYWOOD, FLA.

2011 CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA CEO: Ann

Oleson, convergeconsulting.org Provides digital marketing to colleges and universities. 2004 FARMINGTON, UTAH • PLURALSIGHT Aaron Skonnard, pluralsight.com CEO:

Provides online learning software for technology workers.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


ENERGY

ENGINEERING

Number of companies 16  Total revenue $237.7m  Median revenue $11.4m  Median growth rate 2,341%  Total employment 924

Number of companies 7  Total revenue $356.3m  Median revenue $5.4m  Median growth rate 1,384.3%  Total employment 682

Companies involved with the production, distribution, or conservation of energy, as well as businesses that provide specialized services to the energy industry

CALCOM SOLAR

2012 VISALIA, CALIF.

CEO: Dylan

Dupre, calcomsolar.com Installs solar-energy systems for agricultural customers.

LEGEND SOLAR

2010 WASHINGTON, UTAH

CO-FOUNDERS: Shaun Alldredge and Shane Perkins, legendsolar.com Sells solar-energy products.

GREENSPIRE

2012 LOS ANGELES

CEO: David Murray, greenspirehome.com Provides solar-energy programs to residential customers.

LA SOLAR GROUP

2012 LOS ANGELES

CEO: Ara

Petrosyan, la-solargroup.com Designs and installs solar-energy systems.

DISCOUNT POWER 2009

HOUSTON

CEO: Neville

Ravji, discountpowertx.com Provides energy services to residential and commercial customers in Texas.

LEAD GENESIS

2012 LAS VEGAS

CEO: James Duband, leadgenesis.com Provides marketing and lead-generation services to solar-energy companies.

HOMEWORKS ENERGY

2012 WOBURN, MASS.

CEO: Max Veggeberg, homeworksenergy.com Performs home energy assessments and provides insulation and related services.

3

29

7,101.9%

$33.5M

$13M

47

140

BLUE CANYON TECHNOLOGIES • 2008 BOULDER, COLO.

2011 FREMONT, CALIF.

CEO: Shawn

74

3,884.9%

$7M

149

Lange, L2finc.com Provides engineering consulting and designs customized manufacturing tools.

RELIATRAIN

2006 BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH.

CO-FOUNDERS: Bill

75

3,876.4%

$12M

48

80

3,733.4%

$52.7M

30

81

3,729.1%

$14.9M

24

Haughey and Jennifer TaylorHaughey, reliatrain.com Trains clients’ employees in product design and manufacturing processes.

SURVWEST

2009 DENVER

CEO: Mathew Barr, survwest.com Provides surveying and mapping services to the railroad and energy industries.

GREEN GENERATION SOLUTIONS

102

3,168.5%

$10.2M

100

TECHNOLOGY 1997 OCEAN, N.J. • AASKI Bharat Parikh, aaski.com

2,355.3%

$5.1M

6

2012 SPRINGFIELD, MO. 156

2,326.7%

$9.8M

88

182

2,031.3%

$4.3M

14

2011 BILLINGS, MONT.

FLORIDA SOLAR ONE

203

1,894.3%

$10.9M

37

261

1,524.2%

$2M

1

262

1,520.7%

$28.9M

72

282

1,385.8%

$13.5M

100

338

1,134%

$16M

60

CEO: Ray Johnson, floridasolarone.com Installs solar-power systems and provides related services.

CEO:

Installs solar-power systems and provides related services.

ENERGY TODAY •• SMART 2008 OLYMPIA, WASH. CEO: Rex

Schade, smartenergytoday.net Provides solar-energy systems.

FREEDOM SOLAR POWER

FORMULAFOLIO INVESTMENTS

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

166 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

$2M

17

283

1,384.3%

$2.7M

16

380

1,008.2%

$11M

15

426

893.6%

$289.3M 475

478

798.1%

$43.1M

116

345

1,117.8%

$3.9M

8

9,400.5%

$11.2M

35

21

8,052.9%

$17.3M

15

22

7,905.4%

$8.1M

6

25

7,754.4%

$971.1M

200

40

5,907.1%

$661.3M

37

Wenk, formulafolios.com Manages money for individual investors, nonprofits, and corporate retirement plans.

FINANCIAL SERVICES • C&H 2008 WESTCHESTER, ILL. CEO: Anthony Holder, chfs.us Provides small-business loans, merchant cash advances, and payments processing.

PAYKINGS

2011 APOLLO BEACH, FLA.

CEO: Paul Krueger, paykings.com Processes payments and provides related merchant-banking services.

MIDWEST EQUITY MORTGAGE Hansen and Pete Gabrione, midwestequity.com Sells mortgages and refinancing services to homeowners.

JM BULLION

2011 DALLAS

CEO: Michael Wittmeyer, jmbullion.com Sells gold, silver, and other precious-metal products online.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

15

2012 GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

CO-CEOs: Dave

2010 PHOENIX

1,413.2%

CEO: Jason

2006 OAKBROOK, ILL.

Biggart, freedomsolarpower.com Supplies solar-energy services. Henderson, relumination.com Provides energy-efficient lighting for commercial and industrial customers.

278

Companies that provide financing or whose products and services facilitate financial transactions. Includes lenders, mortgage brokers, and financial advisers

CEO: Bret

CEO: Daniel

23

FINANCIAL SERVICES

2007 AUSTIN

RELUMINATION

$2.8M

Number of companies 35  Total revenue $2.6b  Median revenue $12.4m  Median growth rate 1,133.8%  Total employment 2,497

2008 OAKLAND PARK, FLA.

SOLAR 2010 WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH • AURIC Jess Phillips, auricsolar.com

1972 LENEXA, KAN.

Dohnalek, pivotint.com Designs products and provides engineering and manufacturing services.

CEO: Caleb Arthur, missourisunsolar.com Designs and installs solar-energy systems.

GTUIT

1,654.2%

CEO:

CEO: Mark

CEO: Brian Cebull, gtuit.com Captures natural gas flares and provides related services at well sites.

237

Supplies technical, software, and projectmanagement services to government and commercial clients.

PIVOT INTERNATIONAL

CEO: Wes Tucker, one3led.com Installs LED lighting systems for businesses.

20

Reviews and designs commercial power systems to improve energy efficiency.

Sheikh and Michael Valenti, phoenixenergygroup.com Provides renewable energy to New York City– area businesses.

2011 CHESTERFIELD, MO.

$5.4M

CEO: Brad Dockser, greengenerationsolutions.com

2011 NEW YORK CITY

ONE3LED

2,224.3%

2011 BETHESDA, MD.

CO-FOUNDERS: Sean

MISSOURI SUN SOLAR

162

CEO: George Stafford, bluecanyontech.com Builds small spacecraft systems and components for missions in Earth orbit, to the moon, and to Mars.

L2F

152

PHOENIX ENERGY GROUP

31,633.5%

Companies that provide engineering and related services, including construction or architecture work, and that manage engineering projects for clients

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


+++++

AN UNCOMMON BLOCKBUSTER SUMMIT FOR

ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM BUILDERS

How do you build an ecosystem for entrepreneurs?

DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY

Sign up for more info at www.kauffman.org/the-eship-summit


FINANCIAL SERVICES (CONT.)

EMB

2011 LOS ANGELES

CEO: Blair

Thomas, emerchantbroker.com Processes payments and provides related services for merchants.

EDGE HOME FINANCE CORPORATION

371

1,038%

$3M

15

372

1,029.8%

$4.4M

60

375

1,024.7%

$5.9M

12

383

1,005%

$10.2M

35

401

955.5%

$8.5M

50

419

918.9%

$37.7M

250

437

876.3%

$59.6M

13

443

866.1%

$4M

49

445

854.4%

$8.6M

35

450

849%

$22.7M

18

466

815.8%

$19.2M

68

471

806.4%

$57.5M

49

487

778.9%

$39.7M

15

2011 EDINA, MINN.

SANDLAPPER CAPITAL INVESTMENTS

62

4,228.8%

$25M

16

2011 GREENVILLE, S.C. CEO: Trevor Gordon, sandlappercapital.com Invests in asset classes, including oil and gas, commercial real estate, and equipment leasing.

WEST HILLS CAPITAL

2012 WICHITA

CEO: Joe Unger, westhillscapital.com Sells precious metals and rare coins online.

CEO: Christopher

Hacker, edgehomefinance.com Brokers mortgages and provides related real estate financial services.

RAIN CITY CAPITAL

2009 KIRKLAND, WASH.

CEO: Fred

79

3,752.6%

$6.4M

5

Rea, raincitycapital.com Provides short-term loans for real estate investors. 2006 LOS ANGELES • PAYSCOUT Cleveland Brown, payscout.com CEO:

PRONEXUS

2012 PITTSFORD, N.Y.

CEO: Rafael Vidal, pronexusllc.com Provides financial and technology consulting.

ACUMEN CAPITAL

115

2,873.7%

$6.9M

44

125

2,752.2%

$12.4M

42

155

2,328.2%

$4.9M

40

2010 WASHINGTON, D.C. CEO: Abiud Zerubabel, acumencf.com Provides loans for real estate developers and investors.

Provides merchant banking services, including payment processing for online retailers. 2010 KERRVILLE, TEXAS • USTRP Harlan Hall, ustaxrp.com CEO:

Reviews clients’ accounts payable to reduce tax expenses.

STRATEGIC FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS 2007 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Geoffrey Horn, capitaladvancesolutions.com

Sasson, stratfs.com Negotiates debt settlements for delinquent borrowers.

Provides loans, cash advances, and equipment financing to small businesses.

SD BULLION

CAPITAL ADVANCE SOLUTIONS 2007 MIDDLETOWN, N.J.

PARTNERS CAPITAL • CHANNEL 2011 MAPLE GROVE, MINN.

176

2,074.2%

$2.2M

21

CEO: Brad

Peterson, channelpartnerscapital.com Makes short-term loans and provides cash advances to small businesses. 2009 ATLANTA • KABBAGE Rob Frohwein, kabbageplatform.com

CEO: Steve Thibodeau, glsllc.com Provides subprime financing for franchise auto dealerships.

PAYLINE DATA

2010 CHICAGO

CEO: Jeff

Shea, paylinedata.com Processes payments and provides related services for merchants.

ILENDINGDIRECT

2006 ENGLEWOOD, COLO.

CEO: Nancy Fitzgerald, ilendingdirect.com Refinances auto loans and provides related financial services.

TAX RELIEF 2011 SANTA ANA, CALIF. • OPTIMA Harry Langenberg, optimataxrelief.com

183

2,026.6%

$97.5M

274

195

1,926.9%

$70.7M

153

CEO: Jared Kaplan, opploans.com Provides online loans to individuals.

30

CEO: Clark Briner, reverecapital.com Invests, makes real estate loans, and provides related financing.

OPPLOANS

2010 SEATTLE

Lackland, lightercapital.com Provides financing to technology companies.

OTR CAPITAL

2011 ROSWELL, GA.

CEO: Kevin Nolan, otrcapital.com Provides factoring and related financial services to trucking companies.

CORPORATE CREDIT • MIDWEST 2011 OAKBROOK TERRACE, ILL.

208

1,866.1%

$5M

2009 DALLAS

NATIONAL MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION 2004 TEMECULA, CALIF.

284

1,382.3%

$245.4M

140

CEO: Heather Petersen, nationalmerchants.com Processes payments for small and mediumsize businesses.

SYSTEMS •• SOL 2008 WASHINGTON, D.C. 317

1,214.2%

$53.9M

376

335

1,144.2%

$4.4M

23

339

1,133.8%

$11.1M

75

344

1,118.8%

$3.7M

18

CEO: PK

Patel, midwestcorporatecredit.com Finances and provides related services to small businesses.

BRIDGE FUNDING 2011 IRVINE, CALIF. • QUICK Benjamin Gold, quickbridgefunding.com

2009 CHICAGO

REVERE CAPITAL

CEO:

CEO: BJ

2008 SAN DIEGO

Kruger, signatureanalytics.com Provides accounting and financial services to small and medium-size businesses.

Negotiates lower tax-debt payments.

LIGHTER CAPITAL

Wall, sdbullion.com Sells precious metals, bullets, and “survival food” online. PRESIDENT: Jason

Provides online loans to small businesses. 2012 ATLANTA

2011 OTTAWA LAKE, MICH.

CEO: Tyler

SIGNATURE ANALYTICS

CEO:

GLOBAL LENDING SERVICES

CEO: Ryan

CEO: Yuri

Horwitz, solsystems.com Provides solar-energy financing and investment services.

RETIREMENT ADVISORS •• AMERICAN 2001 SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. CEO: David Schaeffer, americanretire.com Provides financial planning services to people nearing or in retirement.

FOOD + BEVERAGE

Companies that manufacture, sell, or distribute food and beverages or offer related services. This year, organic, sustainable, and non-GMO are the hot categories

Number of companies 28  Total revenue $1.1b  Median revenue $7.5m  Median growth rate 1,884.7%  Total employment 12,005 346

1,113.8%

$48.9M

90

356

1,073.4%

$30.5M

49

368

1,047.1%

$51.4M

139

CEO:

Lends to small and medium-size businesses.

POINT FINANCIAL 2011 ATLANTA • ACCESS Jon Wright, accesspointfinancial.com CEO:

Provides financing to franchise- and boutiquehotel owners.

CAPITAL 2006 WILMINGTON, DEL. • SWIFT Ed Harycki, swiftcapital.com CEO:

Provides working capital financing to small and midsize businesses.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

168 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

SUJA JUICE

2012 SAN DIEGO

CEO: Jeff Church, sujajuice.com Produces organic, cold-pressed juice beverages.

THRIVE FARMERS

2011 ROSWELL, GA.

CEO: Michael Jones, thrivefarmers.com Supplies consumers, retailers, and wholesalers with coffee directly from growers.

13

10,511.1%

$65.9M

250

19

8,577.2%

$23.2M

35

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


YOUR VISION. OUR INSIGHT. No matter what you envision for the future of your company, we can help open a world of possibilities. Harris Williams & Co., trusted advisor of Inc. 5000 companies, has been executing M&A transactions for growing middle market businesses across multiple industries for 25 years. Visit harriswilliams.com to learn more and to hear from other CEOs about their experiences. With the right connections, the future is yours.

Harris Williams & Co., premier investment bank serving

companies.

Š2016. Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC conducts business.


FOOD + BEVERAGE (CONT.)

AMF 2012 NEW YORK CITY •• BOWLMOR Tom Shannon, bowlmoramf.com

275

1,422%

$565.7M 7,756

311

1,260.2%

$7.4M

95

334

1,146.3%

$36.7M

698

373

1,028.8%

$65.2M 2,140

374

1,028.1%

$3.3M

13

396

966%

$4.4M

20

409

943.2%

$15.5M

155

414

928.3%

$2.7M

23

421

914.4%

$24.4M

84

463

819.4%

$2.7M

7

CEO:

Operates bowling centers, including league and walk-in retail.

WHIM HOSPITALITY 2012 DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEXAS

36

REMARKABLE LIQUIDS

6,186.9%

$7.4M

36

2012 GUILDERLAND CENTER, N.Y.

CHICKEN SALAD CHICK

2008 AUBURN, ALA.

CHOSEN FOODS

2009 SAN DIEGO

CEO: Steve

Gallo, chosenfoods.com Supplies cooking oils, spreads, and snacks made from sustainably grown ingredients.

DOWNEAST CIDER HOUSE

CEO:

Operates a chain of juice bars. 37

6,042.7%

$9.8M

27

47

5,147.8%

$31.7M

25

63

4,215.6%

$6M

34

71

3,980.4%

$7.4M

20

123

2,774.7%

$2.9M

39

140

2,506.9%

$9M

25

2010 CHARLESTOWN, MASS. CO-OWNERS: Matt

Brockman, Ross Brockman, and Tyler Mosher, downeastcider.com Produces a line of cider-based beverages.

CHEF’S CUT REAL JERKY 2009 NEW YORK CITY CEO: Bart Silvestro, chefscutrealjerky.com Produces artisanal jerky.

MELBA’S OLD SCHOOL PO BOYS 2012 NEW ORLEANS CEO: Scott Wolfe, eatatmelbas.com Serves po’ boys and similar foods and provides laundry services.

CHAMELEON COLD BREW 2010 AUSTIN CEO: Chris Campbell, chameleoncoldbrew.com Produces cold-pressed coffee beverages and concentrates.

LIFETREE MANUFACTURING • 2011 TEMPE, ARIZ.

Hanks, whimhospitality.com Provides party rental and event-related services.

JUICE BAR 2010 SANTA ANA, CALIF. • NEKTER Steve Schulze, nekterjuicebar.com

CEO: Spencer Noakes, remarkableliquids.com Distributes beers, ciders, and meads throughout the U.S.

CEO: Scott Deviney, chickensaladchick.com Operates a chain of restaurants that specialize in chicken salad in four states.

CEO: Kimberly

MOD PIZZA

ROASTED COFFEE • FRESH 2011 SELINSGROVE, PA. CEO: Andrew

Oakes, freshroastedcoffee.com Sells coffee, tea, and related products online.

LIFEAID BEVERAGE CO. 2011 SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. CEO: Orion Melehan, lifeaidbevco.com Manufactures and sells energy and nutritional drinks.

MEAL PLAN 2011 BOCA RATON, FLA. • FRESH Marc Elkman, freshmealplan.com CEO:

Provides prepared meals that cater to different diets.

NUTRISLICE

149

2,374.9%

$10.9M

76

150

2,370.7%

$6.9M

12

163

2,210.3%

$119.9M

263

174

2,088.3%

$2.8M

9

205

1,886.6%

$9.9M

30

2012 MEDFORD, MASS. 206

1,882.9%

$2.6M

60

2011 BROOMFIELD, COLO.

CEO: Brian Crapo, nutrislice.com Promotes healthy eating in schools and institutions through menu creation and signage.

EDWARD MARC BRANDS

1914 PITTSBURGH

CO-CEOs: Chris

Edwards and Dana Edwards Manatos, snapperssnack.com Makes chocolates and chocolate-based snacks.

ALTALENA

Brooks, lifetreemfg.com Manufactures private-label food and nutrition products.

2008 BELLEVUE, WASH.

CEO: Scott Svenson, modpizza.com Operates a chain of fast-casual pizza restaurants.

2010 LOS ANGELES

CEO: Roni Gloger, altalenawholesale.com Wholesales nuts, seeds, and superfood ingredients.

CEO: Matthew

HANDSOME BROOK FARM • 2007 FRANKLIN, N.Y. CEO: Betsy Babcock, handsomebrookfarm.com Sells eggs from pasture-raised chickens.

HAMILTON, N.J. •• BAIBen2009Weiss, drinkbai.com CEO:

Produces drinks infused with coffee fruit.

HOOSIER HILL FARM

2012 FORT WAYNE, IND.

CEO: Peter Roesner, hoosierhillfarm.com Supplies grocery items and baking and cooking ingredients.

HEALTH WARRIOR

2010 RICHMOND, VA.

CEO: Shane Emmett, healthwarrior.com Sells a line of chia-seed-based food products.

CHICKEN & RICE GUYS

225

1,767.2%

$7.5M

27

2009 BEND, ORE.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

170 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

$25.9M

9

35

6,402.5%

$43.4M

31

INTERACTIVE GOVERNMENT HOLDINGS 49

5,057.9%

$7.2M

138

3,945.9%

$10M

57

N2GRATE

2010 GREENBELT, MD.

CEO: Michael

233

1,691.7%

$6.1M

10

Sanders, interactivegov.com Provides program and grant management and HR-related services to the government and the armed forces.

ALI’I CONSULTING 2003 HONOLULU •• NACariann Ah Loo, na-alii.com

CEO: Skyler Weekes, rockymountainbarrelcompany.com Sells used wine-and-spirit barrels and products made from those barrels.

Danek, hummkombucha.com Brews and sells kombucha drinks.

12,620.6%

Tiaga, fedbizit.com Supplies computer hardware and provides IT consulting services to government clients.

2006 SPRINGFIELD, VA.

2010 WHEAT RIDGE, COLO.

CEO: Jamie

10

2011 LEESBURG, VA. CEO: Nina

Halligan, n2grate.com Provides data-center and cloud-related services to government clients.

Manufactures and sells packaged coffee and coffee-based beverages.

HUMM KOMBUCHA

Number of companies 27  Total revenue $305m  Median revenue $6m  Median growth rate 1,590.8%  Total employment 1,969

CEO: Steve

CEO:

ROCKY MOUNTAIN BARREL COMPANY

Companies that provide consulting services—especially IT, health care, and procurement—used primarily by government entities

FEDBIZ IT SOLUTIONS

CEO: Ian So, cnrguys.com Operates food trucks, a restaurant, and a catering business in and around Boston.

COFFEE 2006 AUSTIN •• KOHANA Victoria Lynden, kohanacoffee.com

GOVERNMENT SERVICES

CEO:

238

1,644.5%

$4.1M

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

36

Consults with government clients on environmental, operational, and facilitymanagement issues.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree

72


77

ECOLOGY MIR GROUP

3,855.8%

$4M

9

DAVIS DEFENSE GROUP

2012 MANASSAS, VA.

2002 STAFFORD, VA.

CEO: Adham Yusupov, ecomirgroup.com Consults with government clients on IT, management, transport, and logistics issues.

CEO: Lisa Davis, davisdefense.com Consults on a range of defense-related issues for government service clients.

1997 TUCKER, GA. •• CATMEDIA Catherine Downey, catmedia.com

98

3,323.1%

$17.4M

28

PERFECTA FEDERAL

CEO:

2008 SPRINGFIELD, VA.

Provides program management, HR, communications, and creative services to government clients.

CEO: George

INOVENTURES

2008 MCLEAN, VA.

CEO: Meena

Krishnan, inoventures.com Consults with federal and corporate clients on IT, management, and business-analytics issues.

BAHFED

2011 PORTLAND, ORE.

PRESIDENT: Ken

Paul, bahfed.com Provides IT services and related equipment to government clients.

ADVANCED PROJECT CONSULTING

100

3,254.9%

$3.9M

42

111

2,963.4%

$13.8M

10

159

2,290.9%

$6.5M

96

172

2,093.2%

$2.5M

40

212

1,847.5%

$4.1M

22

215

1,827.3%

$5.2M

30

PRESIDENT: Iris

Critten, advproj.com Provides defense contracting services.

2011 YONKERS, N.Y. CEO: Albert Cruz, clasonpointpartners.com Consults on IT and other business-related services to government and business clients.

DARKBLADE SYSTEMS 2010 STAFFORD, VA. CEO: Fred Starkey, darkbladesystems.com Provides IT and project-management-related services to government clients.

PRETING CONSULTING 2011 ALEXANDRIA, VA.

$30.9M

508

394

972.1%

$6M

18

SEQUOIA HOLDINGS

2012 RESTON, VA.

CEO: T.

Richard Stroupe Jr., sequoiainc.com Provides cybersecurity and related IT services to government and commercial clients.

451

847.5%

$5.6M

28

JANZ

1999 REYNOLDSBURG, OHIO

CEO: Richard Finsterbusch, janzcorporation.com Sells medical equipment and related services to government clients.

454

846.3%

$5.9M

9

TOTALLY JOINED FOR ACHIEVING COLLABORATIVE TECHNIQUES 1999 ATLANTA

470

810.5%

$4.2M

90

477

798.4%

$24M

80

486

779.2%

$9.8M

140

CEO: Terrence

Evans, tjfact.com Provides IT, program management, and health care–related services to government clients.

SEKON ENTERPRISE

1996 HERNDON, VA.

CEO: Angela

Wilson, sekon.com Consults with government agencies on financial, IT, HR, and management issues. 2011 FAIRFAX, VA. •• METRONOME Jennifer Virga, metronomeusa.com CEO:

Provides IT and intelligence services to the federal government.

HEALTH

Companies involved in providing health care, including insurance, IT, biotechnology, and nutrition

CEO: Beth

Inglis, preting.com Consults with government and business clients on management, training, and defense contracting services.

CORPS 2002 CHANTILLY, VA. • AEGIS Maricarmen Acuna, aegiscorps.net

1,101.7%

Zoulias, perfectafederal.com Designs communications systems and consults on IT issues for government clients.

2010 WARNER ROBINS, GA.

CLASON POINT PARTNERS

348

223

1,794%

$4.3M

42

247

1,590.8%

$9.1M

86

254

1,557.3%

$3.4M

49

Number of companies 54  Total revenue $1.7b  Median revenue $10.9m  Median growth rate 1,523.9%  Total employment 6,217

CEO:

Provides accounting, management, and administrative services.

AND ASSOCIATES • TENICA 2008 ALEXANDRIA, VA. CEO: Terry Scherling, tenica.biz Consults with government and business clients on cyber- and national security issues.

HOSTED RECORDS

2010 SPRINGFIELD, VA.

CEO: Yazmin Zurita, hostedrecords.com Provides IT, cloud, and data- and recordsmanagement services to government clients.

VOR TECHNOLOGY

2012 COLUMBIA, MD.

CEO: Anthony

Lawrence, vor-tech.com Provides cybersecurity and other consulting services to government and intelligence agency clients.

MEDICAL GROUP • VIGHTER 2005 WINONA, MINN.

296

1,320.8%

$2.5M

37

2011 MCLEAN, VA.

KARNA

2008 ATLANTA

CEO: Ambica Yadav, karna.com Consults on health, science, and business issues with government clients.

SOLUTIONS 2006 BELTSVILLE, MD. • EDIFICE Lisa London, edificesolutions.com

1,266.6%

$4M

326

1,182.2%

$5.1M

333

1,146.6%

$15M

2015 REVENUE

27

7,546.1%

$9.7M

30

33

6,889.2%

$8M

67

34

6,545%

$6.7M

45

42

5,882.2%

$49.1M

302

46

5,229.5%

$24.5M

40

52

4,897.5%

$10.3M

68

CEO: Gordon Vanscoy, pantherspecialty.com Provides clinical services and specialty pharmaceuticals for transplant recipients and patients suffering from dermatological and chronic conditions.

BLACKSTONE LABS

2012 BOCA RATON, FLA.

Braun, blackstonelabs.com Sells bodybuilding and weight-loss supplements to consumers.

INSPIRE MEDICAL SYSTEMS

92

26

Herbert, inspiresleep.com Manufactures medical equipment for sufferers of sleep apnea.

THE PHOENIX RECOVERY & COUNSELING CENTERS 2012

DRAPER, UTAH

CEO: Jake Shoff, thephoenixrc.com Rehabilitates substance abusers via inpatient and outpatient treatment at several locations in Utah.

MEDICAL 2010 SMYRNA, GA. • CASTLE Scott Damron, castlemedical.com

170

Performs a range of medical testing and diagnostic services.

ATLAS MEDSTAFF

2012 OMAHA

CEO: Steve

342

1,120.9%

$31.4M

CEO:

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

39

CEO:

Provides architectural, design, and environmental services to government and institutional clients.

RANK

$42.4M

2007 MAPLE GROVE, MINN.

310

Johnson, oasysic.com Provides IT and project-management-related services.

13,380.9%

CEO: Timothy

Lee, vighter.com Provides medical support services for government agencies and commercial clients in the U.S. and abroad. CEO: Tony

9

2011 PITTSBURGH

CEO: PJ

CEO: Jeffrey

OASYS

PANTHERX SPECIALTY PHARMACY

82

Ryan, atlasmedstaff.com Recruits and places traveling nurses at locations across the U.S. 2010 IRVINE, CALIF. • PRESCRIBEWELLNESS Al Babbington, prescribewellness.com CEO:

Provides specialized software to health care professionals.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


HEALTH (CONT.)

PRIMAL HEALTH

Gray, primalhealthlp.com Provides supplements and healthy-living education to consumers. 59

PRIME TIME HEALTHCARE

4,396.2%

$25.7M

38

2012 OMAHA

4,308.4%

$47.1M

93

CEO: David Long, orangetheoryfitness.com Operates a chain of workout studios across the U.S.

NEUROSTRUCTURES

2012 IRVINE, CALIF.

MEDICAL SYSTEMS • COGNITIVE 2010 SAN DIEGO

64

2009 FRANKLIN, TENN.

EVOKE NEUROSCIENCE

2009 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: David

Hagedorn, evokeneuroscience.com Develops and markets software and hardware products to improve cognitive function.

ORGANIFI

2011 SAN DIEGO

CEO: Andrew Canole, organifishop.com Sells green juice and a range of nutritional supplements.

HOSPICELINK

2011 BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

CEO: Chad

Trull, hospicelink.com Provides software and consulting services to hospice agencies.

FAMILY OF COMPANIES • ALLIANCE 2006 IRVING, TEXAS

4,208.6%

$4.7M

10

2,997%

$13M

54

130

2,644.7%

$11.6M

30

2009 SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

Delano, servrx.com Provides IT systems to pharmacies for processing prescription-related workers’ compensation claims.

HEALTHSPARQ

2012 PORTLAND, ORE.

CEO: Scott

Decker, healthsparq.com Develops software pertaining to health care options for employers and health plans.

TERGUS PHARMA

1994 DURHAM, N.C.

CEO: Vijendra Nalamothu, terguspharma.com Provides topical-pharmaceutical research, analysis, and manufacturing services.

NATIONAL MEDTRANS NETWORK

131

2,637.8%

$3.1M

20

134

2,609.1%

$5.6M

30

160

2,275.4%

$41.7M

33

177

2,072.7%

$28.1M

184

181

2,038.9%

$11.7M

18

194

1,929%

$47.3M

52

$7M

201

255

1,555.2%

$5.7M

11

268

1,492.5%

$26.7M

6

2011 MARIETTA, GA.

269

1,490%

$2.2M

15

FLOWONIX MEDICAL

2006 MOUNT OLIVE, N.J.

277

1,417.3%

$9.6M

60

SMARTYPANTS VITAMINS • 2010 MARINA DEL REY, CALIF.

294

1,339.4%

$11.9M

14

2007 DENVER • WELLTOK Jeff Margolis, welltok.com

304

1,284.9%

$26.2M

346

ENOVACHEM

2009 TORRANCE, CALIF.

CEO: Robert

Nickell, enovachem.us.com Manufactures pharmaceutical products and health care–related kits.

319

1,209.4%

$21.2M

25

WELLBE

2009 MADISON, WIS.

CEO: James Dias, wellbe.me Provides an online platform to guide consumers through health care choices.

322

1,200.6%

$2.2M

23

2009 IRVINE, CALIF.

CEO: Brian Meshkin, proove.com Performs genetic testing to assess how patients can best use medications.

323

1,194.8%

$17.8M

205

EASSIST DENTAL SOLUTIONS

337

1,137.7%

$4.1M

15

359

1,062.6%

$54.9M

35

381

1,007.8%

$4.8M

23

382

1,005.4%

$6M

55

384

998.3%

$41M

404

386

990%

$42.1M

675

2012 CHEYENNE, WYO. CEO: James Anderson, dentalbilling.com Handles billing and insurance claims for dentists and hospitals.

196

1,914.3%

$20.3M

190

STAR FINANCIAL SERVICES •• MORNING 2006 GOLDEN VALLEY, MINN. CEO: Nicolas

219

1,805.3%

$9.4M

62

Thomley, morningstarfs.com Provides financial and social services to disabled and chronically ill persons and seniors throughout the South and Midwest.

ST. JOHN’S MEDICAL

2002 JACKSONVILLE, FLA.

CEO: John

226

1,764.6%

$73.7M

169

Blosser, stjohnsmedicalgroup.com Provides orthopedic devices to Medicare-eligible seniors and assists with related Medicare issues.

MEDBRIDGE

2010 SEATTLE

CEO: Justin Kowalchuk, medbridgeeducation.com

Operates a website providing online continuing education for certain health care professionals. 1,675%

$3.6M

96

HEALTH CATALYST

2008 SALT LAKE CITY

CEO: Dan Burton, healthcatalyst.com Provides data warehousing and analytic services for hospital clients.

CEO: Steve

Woody, avadimtechnologies.com Researches and develops topically applied remedies and solutions. 240

1,615.8%

$8.9M

CEO:

Provides genomics, genetics, and biobanking services.

174 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

1,590.2%

CEO: Doug Saltel, edgemontpharma.com Develops, acquires, and markets new and improved versions of psychiatric drugs.

PROOVE BIOSCIENCES

234

2015 REVENUE

248

Provides a health care platform for consumers.

2007 ASHEVILLE, N.C.

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

120

CEO:

Winakor, natmedtrans.com Provides and manages nonemergency medical transport services.

RANK

$8.8M

Nichols Gould, smartypantsvitamins.com Produces a line of gummy vitamins.

2005 RONKONKOMA, N.Y.

2010 NORCROSS, GA. • AKESOGEN Robert Boisjoli, akesogen.com

1,598.2%

CEO: Courtney

CEO: Andrew

AVADIM TECHNOLOGIES

EDGEMONT PHARMACEUTICALS

CEO: Steve Adler, flowonix.com Sells drug-delivery devices.

CEO:

CEO: Todd

2009 MCKINNEY, TEXAS • FRESHBENIES Reid Rasmussen, freshbenies.com

SYNARTIS HEALTH

Sells health supplements online.

SERVRX

2011 EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.

CEO: Joe Gossman, kpghealthcare.com Places health care professionals in jobs across the U.S.

CEO: Chris Johnston, synartis.net Provides a platform for health insurance claims and management.

CEO: Justin Magnuson, afcompanies.com Operates facilities that diagnose sleep and neurological disorders.

HEALTH 2011 BELLINGHAM, WASH. • SEEKING Ben Lynch, seekinghealth.com

245

2008 AUSTIN

109

Axe, draxe.com Operates a natural health website and provides related medical advice and services.

25

CEO:

Fry, cognitivemedicine.com Develops and markets specialized software for medical professionals. CEO: Josh

$11.6M

Provides members with medical benefits assistance and discounts and other services.

CEO: Emory

AXE WELLNESS

1,611.8%

CEO:

KPG HEALTHCARE 60

CEO: John Stephani, neurostructures.com Designs, manufactures, and sells proprietary medical devices.

HEALTHCARE 2009 LOS ANGELES • STABILITY Jason Casani, stabilityhealthcare.com

242

Places traveling nurses in jobs across the U.S.

CEO: Ron Spencer, primetimehealthcare.com Recruits and places nurses and other health care professionals at medical and correctional facilities throughout the U.S.

FITNESS •• ORANGETHEORY 2010 FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

2012 ALLEN, TEXAS

CEO: Steve

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

20

ARROHEALTH

1991 HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.

CEO: Glen

Moller, arrohealth.com Provides risk adjustment and related services to health plans and physicians.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


HEALTH (CONT.) ADVANCED SPECIALTY PHARMACY ••• TNH 2009 VAN NUYS, CALIF. Avetis Minasyan, tnhpharmacy.com

ENGAGE PEO

Starkman, engagepeo.com Provides HR-related and risk-management services to small and midsize businesses. 391

976%

$404.2M

107

2012 PHOENIX

Prendergast, healthiestyou.com Operates an app that provides members with access to doctors and related services. 2008 SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. •• 9ROUND Shannon Hudson, 9round.com

397

965.4%

$9.7M

26

413

933.4%

$7.9M

13

CEO:

2004 WEST BABYLON, N.Y.

CEO: Clifford

Morgan, gfuel.com Makes customizable energy drinks.

85

157

2,306.2%

$3.2M

18

180

2,055.1%

$2.6M

1,000

320

1,205.5%

$78.5M

14

324

1,194%

$12M

125

424

906.1%

$7.6M

65

2010 HOLLYWOOD, FLA.

A.M. STAFFING GROUP

2011 ELGIN, ILL.

CEO: Nicole

Macchione, amstaffinggroup.com Places workers in light-industrial, administrative, manufacturing, and warehouse jobs.

1 SOURCE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS CEO: Robert

416

926.1%

$8M

20

Beck, 1sourcebusiness.com Provides HR-management services to businesses.

SSI

1983 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.

CEO: Mike

HEALTHCARE 2010 TAMPA • HARMONY Christopher Brown, harmony.solutions

$14.3M

2011 MIDVALE, UTAH

Operates a chain of gyms that offer boxingand kickboxing-based workouts.

GAMMA LABS

2,743.5%

Green, greenlightstaff.com Places temporary staffers in a variety of industries.

CEO:

CEO: Jim

GREENLIGHT STAFFING GROUP

127

CEO: Ron

Provides specialized pharmaceuticals and related health services.

HEALTHIEST YOU

2011 HOLLYWOOD, FLA.

CEO: Jay

418

922.3%

$40.2M

580

Kreider, supersystemsinc.com Provides staffing in the health care, IT, and government services sectors.

CEO:

Provides temporary staffing and other business services.

FDA GROUP 2011 WESTBOROUGH, MASS. • THENicholas Capman, thefdagroup.com

GQR GLOBAL MARKETS 2009 NEW YORK CITY

427

892.8%

$5.1M

4

435

880.3%

$6.7M

26

CEO:

Provides high-level business consulting services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostics companies. 2011 BAY SHORE, N.Y. • CENTERSPAN Kathleen Finnegan, centerspanmedical.com CEO:

Sells and installs ramps, lifts, and similar aids for home mobility.

NEIGHBORS EMERGENCY CENTERS

436

877.5%

441

868.3%

$250.7M 566

CEO: Setul Patel, nec24.com Operates always-open medical clinics.

LIVIONEX

2009 LOS GATOS, CALIF.

REDWOOD SCIENTIFIC TECHNOLOGIES

$2.9M

2007 REDMOND, WASH.

White, adurolife.com Creates wellness programs for employers.

SUNNY DAYS IN-HOME CARE

CHELSEA FINANCIAL GROUP 469

813.8%

$5.1M

32

5,961.1%

$12.2M

5

113

2,908.8%

$15.6M

81

117

2,849.3%

$7.5M

30

191

1,941.7%

$2.1M

34

214

1,838.5%

$3.4M

14

388

986.7%

$5.3M

18

462

820.1%

$36.9M

367

CEO: Anthony

482

789.6%

$16.3M

89

489

776.5%

$5.2M

250

Solazzo, e-telequote.com Sells health insurance, with a focus on Medicare-related products.

HONOR CAPITAL

2011 MCMURRAY, PA.

Ellenwood, sunnydaysinhomecare.com Provides in-home health care services to seniors and disabled individuals.

2012 SPRINGFIELD, MASS.

CEO: Joseph

Cambi, honorcapitalcorp.com Lends money to consumers and businesses to pay for insurance.

CONNECT ASSISTANCE 2011 SAN JUAN, P.R.

491

774.3%

$99.3M

550

2012 JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLA. CEO: Eugene

Scheurer, optimumhit.com Provides health care IT staffing, training, and consulting services.

CEO: Antonio J. Ortiz Marti, cra.pr Provides roadside and homeowner assistance services in Puerto Rico.

C3 GROUP

2012 CASTLE ROCK, COLO.

CEO: Michael Lindhurst, c3adjusters.com Provides consulting services in several areas to help property owners with insurance claims.

HUMAN RESOURCES

HEALTHCARE.COM

Smedsrud, healthcare.com Operates a search engine with which individuals can shop for health insurance.

Number of companies 7  Total revenue $132.9m  Median revenue $12m  Median growth rate 2,055.1%  Total employment 1,527

88

3,498.7%

2007 MIAMI

CEO: Jeffrey

Staffing, recruiting, and executive-search firms

SYSTEMS 2006 ATLANTA •• FUTUREWAVE Raj Prabhu, futurewavesystems.com

39

CEO: Pavel Kapelnikov, chelseapremium.com Provides funding services to businesses.

E-TELEQUOTE INSURANCE • 2011 CLEARWATER, FLA.

PRESIDENT: David

OPTIMUM HEALTHCARE IT

Number of companies 7  Total revenue $82.9m  Median revenue $7.5m  Median growth rate 1,941.7%  Total employment 549

2011 MANALAPAN, N.J.

CEO: Jason Cardiff, redwoodscientific.co Develops and sells over-the-counter drugs ingested via dissolvable mouth strips.

CEO: Darren

INSURANCE

6

2012 CLAREMONT, CALIF.

ADURO

Sugden and Steven Talbot, gqrgm.com Recruits and places executives in positions in several industries.

Companies that sell any kind of insurance or help the insurance industry— increasingly, those that focus on digital product delivery

2008 PEARLAND, TEXAS

CEO: Amit Goswamy, livionex.com Manufactures and sells a proprietary dental gel.

CO-CEOs: Hugo

$14.8M

THE HILB GROUP

2009 RICHMOND, VA.

CEO: Robert

Hilb, hilbgroup.com Develops insurance programs and acquires insurance companies.

220

CEO:

Provides IT staffing, software and mobile-app development, and other tech-related services.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

176 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


My American vodka beats the giant imports every day. Try American! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better.


I.T. SERVICES

2009 MINNEAPOLIS • LEADPAGES Clay Collins, leadpages.net

Number of companies 47  Total revenue $457m  Median revenue $5.9m  Median growth rate 1,598.2%  Total employment 3,601

2010 CHARLOTTE, N.C.

CEO: Richard Manoogian, planitgroup.com Consults with government agencies and health care and commercial industries about technological innovation and productivity.

EXUSIA

2012 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Trevor Silver, exusia.com Provides big-data, analytics, and cloudcomputing solutions.

HAYSTACKID

2011 BOSTON

CEO: Kevin Glass, haystackid.com Develops investigative, forensic, and compliance services for corporate and legal customers.

MACSTADIUM

2011 ATLANTA

CEO: Gregory

McGraw, macstadium.com Provides data centers that specialize in hosting Mac users.

BYTECUBED

2011 ARLINGTON, VA.

CEO: Ahmad Ishaq, bytecubed.com Consults with companies and governments on software development and technology.

TALTEAM

2011 HERNDON, VA.

CEO: Reggie Mathew, talteam.com Provides application development, user experience, big data, CRM, and other services to large companies and government customers.

12

11,525.4%

$11.5M

52

2003 SOMERSET, N.J.

CEO: Nag Karaka, pcbapps.com Provides JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Enterprise World services for corporate clients.

18

8,803.3%

$14.9M

185

38

5,962.3%

$6.5M

68

CEO: Michael Hollander, modmc.net Sells co-location and cloud services to companies in select regions.

44

5,341.2%

$5.9M

15

CEO: Tony Hadzi, opteamix.com Develops IT applications and technology products for global clients.

55

4,767.7%

$11.6M

70

70

4,053.3%

$5.1M

46

MOD MISSION CRITICAL

OPTEAMIX

2012 CENTENNIAL, COLO.

PRO-SPHERE TEK

MS3

2009 RANSON, W.VA.

APPROYO

2012 MUSKEGO, WIS.

CEO: Christopher

Carter, approyo.com Provides SAP HANA and big-data services.

CAMBAY CONSULTING

2012 KATY, TEXAS

CEO: Zafar

Shaikh, cambaycs.com Consults with companies on IT issues, including software and customized web development.

NORTHSTARGROUP

2011 GAITHERSBURG, MD.

CEO: Vijai

Anand, nstargroupinc.com Consults with organizations on IT areas, integrating strategy, innovation, analytics, and process.

NETVIOUS

2012 GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS

CEO: Geoff

Green, netvious.com Integrates consulting with hardware and software solutions for companies and organizations.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

178 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

150

211

1,855.1%

$4.4M

43

216

1,816%

$2.9M

3

217

1,809%

$7.2M

183

222

1,794.7%

$45.7M

245

227

1,744.1%

$3.4M

49

246

1,598.2%

$7.7M

45

249

1,588%

$9.6M

51

258

1,541.3%

$4.5M

55

260

1,531.1%

$5.9M

39

265

1,499.9%

$4.5M

10

267

1,492.7%

$2.7M

15

307

1,276.7%

$6.1M

30

309

1,269.5%

$2.4M

12

332

1,153.8%

$8.1M

35

CEO: Rodger Blevins, pro-spheretek.com Plans and manages enterprise and IT support service programs for companies and government.

SOPHUS IT SOLUTIONS

3,930.7%

$7.2M

55

Sundar, sophusinfo.com Provides IT consulting and product development for corporate clients.

78

3,802.2%

$14.5M

26

2004 HAGERSTOWN, MD.

Bearden, b-dconsulting.com Provides engineering, security services, and solutions for government organizations and companies. 2009 WASHINGTON, D.C. •• ANALYTICA Mariano Lopez, analytica.net CEO:

85

3,566.1%

$12.4M

80

Provides IT services to government and business clients. 2005 SANFORD, FLA.

CEO: Senthil

CEO: Aaron Weikle, ms3-inc.com Provides solution engineering and software integration for commercial and federal customers.

$14.7M

2006 ALEXANDRIA, VA.

APPLIED THOUGHT

2012 ROSWELL, GA.

2,187%

2010 ISSAQUAH, WASH.

Hensley, go-impact.com Recruits IT talent for companies. Bassett, arrowcoregroup.com Provides consulting services, including business management, systems integration, and analytics, for companies and government agencies.

165

2011 GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO.

2012 PHOENIX

CEO: Brent

225

CEO: Suba

CEO: Curt

ARROWCORE GROUP

$43.4M

Reddy, nextgenfed.com Provides technology and support to space, intelligence, and electronic-warfare domains.

CEO: Jeff

IMPACT TECHNOLOGY RECRUITING

2,346.2%

2009 MORGANTOWN, W.VA.

B&D CONSULTING

2009 WASHINGTON, D.C.

154

CEO: Jay

CEO: Shay Houser, gogreencloud.com Provides cloud data storage for companies.

SJ TECHNOLOGIES

154

Provides and consults on cloud computing, security, and CRM-related services.

2011 GREENVILLE, S.C.

CEO: Karen Lawton, sjtechcorp.com Consults with federal agencies and companies on process and technology solutions.

$16.2M

CEO:

NEXTGEN FEDERAL SYSTEMS

73

GREEN CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES

2,392%

Designs websites and mobile apps for businesses.

PARTNERS 2009 DALLAS •• CPSG Rohit Mehrotra, cpsgpartners.com

PCB APPS PLANIT GROUP

148

CEO:

Companies involved in information technology support and consulting, web hosting companies, software resellers, web design firms, and internet service providers

99

3,307.2%

$4.8M

42

Manian, theappliedthought.com Sells recruiting, outsourcing, and IT consulting services.

ORION

2012 ATLANTA

CEO: Matthew

112

2,946.3%

$3.4M

35

Singley, oriontech.com Provides full-service tech capabilities specializing in cloud, security, professional, and managed services for global clients.

CLOUDSMARTZ

2012 ROCHESTER, N.Y.

CEO: Dan Wagner, cloudsmartz.com Provides IT services for companies in the communications industry.

120

2,795.4%

$3.1M

107

121

2,790.5%

$4.2M

80

CRM SCIENCE

2011 DEVAULT, PA.

CEO: Ami

Assayag, crmscience.com Builds CRM and native Force.com applications as a full-service Salesforce consultancy.

ASPIRENT CONSULTING

2012 ATLANTA

CEO: Andrew

Wells, aspirent.com Provides management consulting services. 126

2,744.4%

$3.5M

38

138

2,537.2%

$4M

5

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

PANTHERA TECHNOLOGIES 2012 OWINGS MILLS, MD. CEO: Todd Jennings, pantheratech.com Provides business strategy and technology consulting services.

WASHINGTON, D.C. • NGCISaif2006 Rehman, ngciglobal.com CEO:

Provides consulting, technology, and resale services to commercial and government clients.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


I.T. SERVICES (CONT.) SOORYEN TECHNOLOGIES

2012 ORADELL, N.J.

CEO: Ram Ganesan, sooryen.com Develops cloud-based mobile apps that are integrated with social networks.

CLOUD SOFTWARE

2010 TEMPE, ARIZ.

CEO: David Watson, cloudsoftwarellc.com Provides end-to-end Salesforce.com app development and organization customization services.

ASSURITY STAFFING GROUP

355

1,073.8%

LOGISTICS + TRANSPORTATION

$4M

50

Number of companies 14  Total revenue $495.6m  Median revenue $8.3m  Median growth rate 1,328%  Total employment 1,104 357

1,072.1%

$2.1M

27

365

1,050.7%

$2.6M

22

369

1,045.8%

$6.2M

32

392

975.9%

$5.5M

75

HIGHLAND PROJECT LOGISTICS

2012 POWDER SPRINGS, GA. CEO: Jeremy

Joiner, assuritystaffing.com Partners with companies to provide IT recruiting services.

TRIGENT SOLUTIONS 2009 CHANTILLY, VA. CEO: Vinita Negi, trigentsolutions.com Consults with clients on areas ranging from data analysis and software design to IT support.

OPEN SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGIES 1996 GAINESVILLE, VA.

Truitt, ostcorp.net Provides staffing services for the health care, IT, financial, and digital marketing industries. 948.8%

$19.2M

77

EAURAC CORPORATION CEO: Kambiz

AVERTRA

NEXTNET PARTNERS

2011 TEMPE, ARIZ.

CEO: Phil Calzadilla, nextnetpartners.com Delivers next-generation network core, converged infrastructure, and collaboration solutions, along with IT consulting.

JCS CONSULTING GROUP

2007 WALKER, MICH.

2009 SEASIDE, CALIF. ••• VETSJohnETC. Nash, vetsetc.com Provides logistics and consulting services and

946.9%

$5.1M

45

408

944.2%

$8.8M

180

440

869.2%

$21.6M

22

CEO: Snigdha Budhiraja, cynetsystems.com Provides staffing and recruiting services for IT-related positions.

ISSQUARED

2010 NEWBURY PARK, CALIF.

CEO: Balasubramanian Ramaiah, issquaredinc.com Provides IT services, including consulting, managed infrastructure, and cloud hosting, along with product and hardware solutions.

GROUP 2009 ALPHARETTA, GA. • S2 ITSrinivas Muddasani, s2itgroup.com

Rekhter, doublemap.com Designs intelligent transportation systems for public-transit companies and universities. 2010 ROYAL OAK, MICH.

CEO: Barry Spilman, loadrpm.com Provides freight and transport services.

RUBY HAS FULFILLMENT

2012 TAMPA

CEO: Richard Nelson II, thefulfillmentlab.com Designs a fulfillment system for companies that includes supply-chain management, manufacturing, and sales management.

837.9%

$3M

10

AERO 2009 WINTER GARDEN, FLA. • TAGMyles Thomas, tag.aero

180 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

$4.3M

7

93

3,415.2%

$3.6M

39

207

1,873.5%

$26.4M

42

218

1,808.6%

$19.2M

261

272

1,457.6%

$3.3M

70

285

1,374.7%

$8.5M

38

305

1,281.3%

$3.8M

143

360

1,059.3%

$7.9M

6

363

1,054.7%

$107.9M

174

390

978.9%

$2.8M

38

417

924.7%

$42.8M

64

455

846.1%

$60.7M

82

461

824%

$196.3M

135

CEO:

474

804.5%

$2.4M

12

Supplies materials to the commercial aviation industry. 2011 FRISCO, TEXAS • J.W.JimLOGISTICS Wicker, jwlogistics.com CEO:

476

798.7%

$34.1M

124

Provides same-day shipping and other logistics services.

IMAGINEAIR

2008 LAWRENCEVILLE, GA.

CEO: Benjamin

Hamilton, imagineair.com Provides personal air-taxi services. 479

796.8%

$31.4M

565

495

771%

$4.9M

58

2007 MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. •• JEARMarkLOGISTICS Neumeyer, jearlogistics.com CEO:

Provides third-party transportation of products throughout the U.S. and Canada. 2007 LEWIS CENTER, OHIO •• MESHiten Shah, mesinc.net CEO:

Provides global manufacturing and supplychain management services.

NOLAN TRANSPORTATION GROUP 2006 ROSWELL, GA. CEO: Kevin

497

770.4%

$3.7M

CEO:

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

3,638.6%

CEO: Justin Rison, transit4u.com Manages paratransit services for agencies and provides consulting services.

54

Nolan, ntgfreight.com Operates third-party logistical services for customers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Recruits IT staffers for companies.

RANK

82

CEO: Rafael Zakinov, rubyhas.com Provides fulfillment services, from inventory management support to international e-commerce fulfillment.

COMMUTE SOLUTIONS • TRANSITIONS 2010 WINTER GARDEN, FLA.

business process engineering, among other services, to government and commercial organizations. 2010 ASHBURN, VA.

2011 INDIANAPOLIS

CEO: Ilya

THE FULFILLMENT LAB

CEO:

CYNET SYSTEMS

Wagner, tfminternational.com Provides air, ocean, and inland transportation services to and from the U.S., globally.

2011 BAY SHORE, N.Y.

CEO: John Cloyd, jcsconsulting.com Designs, builds, and operates cloud and hybrid systems.

OWL COMPUTING

2010 PITTSBURGH

CEO: Michael

Granado, defenselogisticshq.com Provides logistical operations worldwide for military and civilian organizations.

2012 DEL MAR, CALIF. 457

CEO: Ryan Smallegan, owlcomputing.com Develops and markets secure network communications for every major agency in U.S. intelligence.

5

2009 EL PASO

2009 MARIETTA, GA. 407

2007 HERNDON, VA.

$8M

CEO: David

Khadem, eaurac.com Provides strategic, organizational, projectmanagement, and management consulting services. CEO: Bashir Bseirani, avertra.com Consults and provides services to organizations in the energy and utility industries.

TFM TRUCKLOAD

DA DEFENSE LOGISTICS HQ

CEO: Vaseal Montgomery, ftc-llc.com Consults with commercial firms and government agencies on IT services, ranging from management to cloud architecture.

7,903.6%

CEO: Radek Maly, highlandprojectlogistics.com Provides oversize and project cargo transport for industries including energy, mining, and desalination.

RPM 405

23

2011 LONDONDERRY, N.H.

DOUBLEMAP

CEO: Thomas

FAVOR TECHCONSULTING • 2007 VIENNA, VA.

Freight shippers, truckers, and other companies that move products and people; as well as brokers of those companies’ services, logistics companies, and providers of services to the industry

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree


MANUFACTURING

DIGITAL MEDIA SOLUTIONS

434

881.2%

$54.2M

80

446

853.6%

$13.7M

25

2010 CLEARWATER, FLA.

Companies that make things for other businesses, primarily components for those businesses’ finished goods. Includes suppliers of raw materials

CEO: Joe Marinucci, thedmsgrp.com Provides digital media services, including customer acquisition and social influence marketing.

Number of companies 7  Total revenue $135m  Median revenue $19.5m  Median growth rate 1,662.4%  Total employment 344

2010 IRVINE, CALIF. • RANT Brett Rosin, rant-inc.com CEO:

BERKLEY

2012 CARSON, CALIF.

CEO: Jeff Berkley, goberkley.com Designs and manufactures molded fiber and other custom packaging.

IMPACT CNC

2012 COLUMBIA CITY, IND.

CEO: Jerry Busche, impactcnc.net Utilizes state-of-the-art CNC equipment to produce parts for the automotive, heavy truck, off-highway, and oil and gas industries.

GREEN CREATIVE

2010 SAN BRUNO, CALIF.

CEO: Cole

Zucker, greencreative.com Manufactures LED lighting products for the commercial market.

SUPERCRITICAL • APEKS 2001 JOHNSTOWN, OHIO

17

9,249.3%

$11.4M

15

50

4,929.8%

$19.5M

100

213

1,842.5%

$39.6M

45

236

1,662.4%

$12.1M

30

1,397.3%

$21M

65

CEO: Will

Oliver, privatelabelsk.in Develops, manufactures, and packages premium skin care products. 425

905.4%

$29M

65

458

832.4%

$2.4M

24

$28.8M

105

26

7,612.7%

$19M

16

56

4,693.7%

$34.4M

4

89

3,493.2%

$5.1M

13

103

3,153.9%

$9.6M

62

116

2,869%

$10M

8

142

2,461.4%

$3.1M

12

170

2,100.9%

$2.6M

148

190

1,953.1%

$10.6M

478

244

1,604.4%

$29.6M

20

315

1,223.4%

$5.6M

48

354

1,075.4%

$2M

18

CEO: Bryan Bowles, worthclark.com Provides full-service real estate brokerage services in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri.

REDEFY REAL ESTATE

2011 AURORA, COLO.

K COMPANY REALTY • THE 2009 POMPANO BEACH, FLA. CEO: Nathan

Klutznick, kcorealty.com Delivers real estate brokerage services in Florida and Colorado.

YOURPARK.COM

Number of companies 7  Total revenue $96.6m  Median revenue $7.5m  Median growth rate 1,288.2%  Total employment 181

32

THE PENNY HOARDER

6,934.2%

$7.5M

Edel, yourpark.com Develops low-income housing communities in Texas, Illinois, and Missouri.

17

2012 ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.

Taylor, thepennyhoarder.com Provides personal finance advice through an editorial website. 2011 LOS ANGELES

CEO: Vic Belonogoff, rndr.com Publishes data-driven digital content for its four media brands, which include America Now and Watch This.

2012 LOS GATOS, CALIF.

CEO: Chris

Clark, lexicondmg.com Publishes digital health and wellness content for its four media brands.

MARIJUANA BUSINESS DAILY

101

3,238.1%

$7.6M

22

CEO: Marc

Schoen, fpmoves.com Provides real estate brokerage services in Palm Beach County, Florida.

MY HOME GROUP REAL ESTATE • 2005 TEMPE, ARIZ. CEO: Mark Hutchins, myhomegroup.com Provides real estate services in Arizona.

CEO:

129

2,675.6%

$3.5M

8

302

1,288.2%

$7M

17

Provides real estate brokerage services for properties across the South, the Southwest, and the Atlantic Seaboard.

THE RIAN GROUP REAL ESTATE

2011 DENVER

2008 WALLINGFORD, CONN.

FLORIDA PREMIER REALTY OF THE PALM BEACHES 2012 LAKE WORTH, FLA.

REALTY 2009 MCKINNEY, TEXAS •• FATHOM Josh Harley, fathomrealty.com

CEO: Cassandra Farrington, mjbizdaily.com Provides business intelligence for the emerging cannabis industry through its publication, website, reports, and conferences.

CEO: Rich Mavrogeanes, discovervideo.com

2012 AUSTIN

CEO: Stathis

CEO: Kyle

DISCOVER VIDEO

WORTH CLARK REALTY

CEO: Jordan Connett, redefy.com Provides flat-fee real estate brokerage services.

Companies whose primary business is creating or distributing content in any kind of media to consumers and other businesses

LEXICON HEALTH

GROUP 2011 ARLINGTON, VA. • EXCEL Shoham Amin, excelgp.com

9,645.7%

2009 ST. CHARLES, MO.

MEDIA

RENDER MEDIA

2012 SAN DIEGO

CEO: Sam Khorramian, bigblockrealty.com Provides real estate brokerage services in California.

14

Provides asset management services for hospitality real estate in high-growth markets.

CEO:

2011 TUSTIN, CALIF.

Everett, s2cp.com Acquires and renovates multifamily properties for investment opportunities.

CEO:

Creates security and communcations equipment for mass-transit systems.

FLEXFIRE LEDS

2012 ADDISON, TEXAS

PRINCIPAL: Scott

BIG BLOCK REALTY 281

CEO: Brenton Mauriello, flexfireleds.com Designs, manufactures, and distributes architectural LED strip lights.

Residential and commercial developers, investment firms, brokers, and companies that provide services to banks, brokers, buyers, and sellers

S2 CAPITAL

2012 ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.

TECHNOLOGIES 2007 NEW YORK CITY • BOYCE Charles Boyce, boycetechnologies.com

REAL ESTATE

Number of companies 15  Total revenue $220.7m  Median revenue $10m  Median growth rate 2,100.9%  Total employment 1,012

CEO: Andy Joseph, apekssupercritical.com Designs and manufactures botanicaloil-extraction systems used by the an cannabis industry.

PRIVATE LABEL SKIN

Creates digital content for verticals, including sports, lifestyle, and entertainment.

2007 PORTLAND, ORE. CEO: Aaron

Rian, theriangroup.com Delivers exclusive luxury property real estate listings in Oregon and Washington State.

REAL ESTATE EXPERT ADVISORS 2011 SUWANEE, GA.

428

892.5%

$3M

12

CEO: Tracy Cousineau, tracycousineau.com Provides real estate services in the Atlanta metro area.

Develops customizable enterprise video streaming solutions for customers.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

2015 REVENUE

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


REAL ESTATE (CONT.) EZ HOMES

1999 PHOENIX

CEO: Aaron

Zeese, ezhomesinc.com Acquires real estate below market value to remodel and resell.

439

2,111.7%

$3.1M

33

171

2,095%

$6.1M

60

193

1,932.9%

$3.7M

40

235

1,671.7%

$3M

2

263

1,510.1%

$83.8M

62

274

1,426.1%

$9.6M

12

280

1,400.1%

$6.5M

1

295

1,336.7%

$16.6M

18

313

1,232.9%

$17.3M

23

316

1,220.9%

$70.4M

117

329

1,173.2%

$11.3M

54

331

1,165.2%

$5.6M

50

376

1,023.4%

$13.1M

230

406

947.9%

$2.2M

38

473

806%

$2.9M

15

498

767.6%

$13.9M

18

499

758.2%

$4.3M

18

CEO: Mark Daniel Walsh, purebacco.com Sells vaping equipment and flavored vape liquids.

$44.7M

12

STANDARD 2011 NEW YORK CITY • KNOT John Ballay, knotstandard.com CEO:

850%

$3.5M

23

2004 TEMECULA, CALIF.

COMMODORE LEASING

2011 NASHVILLE

PRESIDENT: Paul Huffman, commodoreleasing.com

CEO: Goran

Forss, teamforss.com Provides residential real estate services in California.

MULTIFAMILY UTILITY COMPANY •• 2007 SAN DIEGO

169

2011 GAYLORD, MICH.

Tailors and e-tails custom-made men’s clothing at value prices. 449

TEAM FORSS REALTY GROUP

873%

AKSTON HUGHES INTERNATIONAL

Operates Aaron’s rent-to-own and LifeLine fix-it franchises. 464

817.9%

$11.8M

45

CEO: Brian Stone, multifamilyutility.com Provides utility submetering and billing services for residential, commercial, and military housing.

LONECONE.COM

2012 BOISE, IDAHO

CEO: Ken

Johnson, lonecone.com Curates and e-tails outdoor and camping gear aimed at families. 2011 LEHI, UTAH •• JANE.COM Mike McEwan, jane.com CEO:

Aggregates boutique clothing designers and home-décor sellers.

RETAIL

Companies that sell products or services directly to consumers—online via mail order, at brick-and-mortar stores, or both

Number of companies 28  Total revenue $447.2m  Median revenue $9.5m  Median growth rate 1,802.3%  Total employment 1,278

VETINTERNETCO.COM 2009 UNION GROVE, ALA. CEO: Richard

N. Esneault, vetinternetco.com Supplies veterinary medications and other pet care products.

AMERICAN PILLOWCASE 2006 RICHMOND, VA. 2009 EVANSVILLE, IND. • ELUXURYSUPPLY.COM Paul Saunders, eluxurysupply.com

4

23,619.7%

$30.7M

82

CEO:

POTOMAC RIVER HOLDINGS • 2011 ALEXANDRIA, VA.

Purveys a line of high-end bed, bath, home, and garden goods.

TALDEPOT.COM

2012 CEDARHURST, N.Y.

CEO: Jeremy

Reichmann, taldepot.com E-vends snacks and beverages, featuring a massive assortment.

NINE LINE APPAREL

2012 SAVANNAH, GA.

CEO: Tyler

Merritt, ninelineapparel.com Sells tactical gear, apparel, and patriotic merchandise; founded by ex–Army officers.

MAN CRATES

2011 REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.

CEO: Jonathan Beekman, mancrates.com Equips weekend adventurers with gift boxes featuring whiskey, grilling gear, and tools.

UNITED COMMERCE GROUP

30

6,988.3%

$14.9M

72

31

6,961.9%

$9.4M

105

51

4,900.2%

$21.6M

32

67

4,164%

$8.5M

20

97

3,341.1%

$37.8M

33

2011 CHARLESTOWN, MASS.

2012 IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO

CEO: Eric Browning, finfunmermaid.com Sells monofins, otherwise known as mermaid tails, and other kids’ swim accessories.

PROJECT REPAT

2012 BOSTON

CEO: Ross Lohr, projectrepat.com Recycles your old T-shirts and reweaves them into decorative quilts.

SLIDEBELTS

2007 EL DORADO HILLS, CALIF.

CEO: Brig Taylor, slidebelts.com Sells slide belts, which close with a ratchet device instead of prongs and punched holes.

STOP EQUINE SHOP 2007 GLENVIEW, ILL. • ONEAlexander Lans, onestopequineshop.com

105

3,132.9%

$16.4M

54

119

2,799.6%

$19.5M

62

182 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

2009 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Amanda

Hesser, food52.com Collects and distributes recipes for foodies; sells ingredients and cookware to make them. 2012 DRAPER, UTAH CEO: Danielle Barker, modernvintageboutique.com

132

2,637.2%

$4M

3

151

2,365.3%

$2.7M

14

158

2,295.6%

$8.5M

10

CEO: Brett

Beveridge, trocglobal.com Outsources retail services, such as POS technology; consults on startups and sales.

KOUPON MEDIA

2011 ADDISON, TEXAS

CEO: Bill

Ogle, kouponmedia.com Distributes e-coupons and other sales boosters for retailers.

STARDUST MEMORIALS

CEO:

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

FOOD52

THE RETAIL OUTSOURCE • 2011 CORAL GABLES, FLA.

Sells equestrian apparel and riding equipment—everything equine short of the horse. RANK

2010 NEW YORK CITY • SAATVA Ron Ruzdin, saatvamattress.com

Sells trendy, affordable women’s apparel.

Morales, cambridgeselect.com E-tailer of shoes, apparel, and accessories founded by quants from MIT and Tufts.

FIN FUN

2011 TUCSON

MODERN VINTAGE BOUTIQUE

CEO: Alfredo

2011 LOS ANGELES

GROWERSHOUSE.COM

Constructs and sells luxury mattresses.

Owns a portfolio of e-businesses and provides business brokerage and support services.

MEUNDIES

McAfee, potomacriverholdings.com Manages a portfolio of sports and wellness companies, including Bois Blanc Sports and Casual Adventure.

CEO:

CEO: Jason Guerrettaz, unitedcommercegroup.com

CEO: Bryan Lalezarian, meundies.com Designs and sells fanciful underwear made from carbon-neutral beechwood fabric.

PRESIDENT: Ethan

CEO: Nate Lipton, growershouse.com Operates a hydroponics supply and indoor gardening center in Tucson and online.

2011 ORLANDO

CAMBRIDGE SELECT

CEO: Russell Basch, americanpillowcase.com E-vends sheets and towels, wholesale and retail.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

2010 TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. CEO: Jordan Lindberg, stardust-memorials.com Creates decorative cremation urns and jewelry.

2009 TAMPA • CABINETS.COM Chris Larsen, cabinets.com CEO:

Builds and sells semi-custom wooden kitchen cabinets online. 2010 NEW YORK CITY • LEOTA Sarah Carson, leota.com CEO:

Sells designer women’s clothing in 500 stores globally.

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


SECURITY

NETWORK OPTIX

Number of companies 6  Total revenue $162.8m  Median revenue $9.4m  Median growth rate 1,508.4%  Total employment 626

KNOWBE4

2010 CLEARWATER, FLA.

CEO: Stu

Sjouwerman, knowbe4.com Supplies human and internet security awareness and fraud prevention.

CROWDSTRIKE

2011 IRVINE, CALIF.

CEO: George Kurtz, crowdstrike.com Runs a cloud-based malware and internetsecurity service.

CONSUMER FIRE PRODUCTS

139

2,528.1%

$6.8M

75

144

2,428.7%

$27.3M

303

229

1,740.9%

$2M

10

308

1,275.9%

$111.1M

139

1998 EUGENE, ORE. CEO: Irene Rhodes, consumerfireproducts.com Protects homes from wildfires with an automatically released firefighting foam.

GUIDEPOINT SECURITY 2011 HERNDON, VA.

2012 ENGLEWOOD, COLO.

CEO: James Broome, directdefense.com Devises network and physical security defenses and other security services.

LYNX TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS • 2009 NEW YORK CITY

341

1,121.3%

$3.6M

19

492

773%

$11.9M

80

2010 NEW YORK CITY

2012 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Alex

Vratskides, persado.com Uses cognitive language algorithms to create more-compelling online offers and campaigns. 2011 IRVINE, CALIF.

CEO: Ryan Huff, cirrusinsight.com Connects Gmail and Outlook with the Salesforce app to increase sales productivity.

2009 SAN JOSE, CALIF.

CEO: Dheeraj

Pandey, nutanix.com Integrates computational, sorting, and virtualization functions in data centers using a cloud-based platform. 2012 AUSTIN • OUTBOUNDENGINE Branndon Stewart, outboundengine.com

Sutton, cireson.com Optimizes Microsoft cloud apps in areas such as asset and service management.

APTO

2012 DENVER

CEO: Tanner

McGraw, apto.com Sells a suite of commercial real estate apps to manage deals and customer relationships. 2010 OGDEN, UTAH

CEO: Scott Brandley, shopperapproved.com Solicits and aggregates product and merchant reviews for distribution across the internet.

2010 MENLO PARK, CALIF.

CEO: Sriram Iyer, trantorinc.com Develops software for e-commerce and mobile phone apps for iOS and Android platforms.

2010 NEW YORK CITY

Oriola, pipedrive.com Operates a sales-management tool designed for small sales teams. 2012 WILMINGTON, N.C.

Naude, ncino.com Hosts bank operating systems for small financial institutions.

27

141

2,480.2%

$10M

80

146

2,423.9%

$5.3M

220

167

2,152.2%

$12.1M

58

175

2,079.4%

$2.3M

52

192

1,938.9%

$2.7M

8

201

1,899.5%

$10M

350

204

1,894%

$9M

125

220

1,804.6%

$13.1M

185

221

1,794.9%

$57.8M

136

228

1,741.9%

$5M

11

250

1,585.8%

$2.6M

23

251

1,575.3%

$2.4M

11

256

1,550.6%

$5.5M

40

257

1,545%

$3.7M

12

271

1,470.4%

$13.6M

40

2011 ATLANTA

273

1,429.4%

$5.3M

8

CEO: Andy Powell, callrail.com Records phone calls, and tracks and analyzes calls for sales and marketing organizations.

2015 REVENUE

Processes payments for platforms such as GoFundMe, Meetup, and Care.com.

CALLTRACKINGMETRICS 2012 SEVERNA PARK, MD. CO-FOUNDERS: Laure

and Todd Fisher, calltrackingmetrics.com Tracks phone calls to identify the advertising, website, and keywords that prompt them.

RIGHTBRAIN NETWORKS

7

14,574.7%

$15.7M

130

16

9,389.8%

$17.4M

171

41

5,903.2%

$6.6M

56

86

3,565.8%

95

3,377.5%

$9.7M

200

CEO: Sathvik Tantry, formswift.com Creates free personal, legal, business, and tax documents with e-signatures.

107

3,069.6%

$6.2M

34

CEO: Elad Inbar, robotlab.com Makes educational K–12 robots for math and science, and customer service bots for stores.

$241.4M 1,368

2009 ANN ARBOR, MICH. CEO: Jamie

Begin, rightbrainnetworks.com Codes software for Amazon and other cloudbased networks; consults on cloud strategy.

CASINO CASH TRAC

Williams, casinocashtrac.com Traces cash flows for the casino industry.

TRESATA

2011 CHARLOTTE, N.C.

CEO: Abhishek

Mehta, tresata.com Collects and analyzes customer data for marketers.

CHIROFUSION

2012 WILMINGTON, DEL.

CEO: Damon Cozamanis, chirofusionsoftware.com

Installs and maintains a cloud-based software suite for chiropractic practices.

ROBOTLAB

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

2012 TULSA

CEO: Kurt

FORMSWIFT

CEO:

184 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2012 SAN DIEGO

CEO: Paul

CEO: Pierre

Designs and automates content, email, and social media marketing for small businesses.

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

$3.5M

CEO:

Urban, bounceexchange.com Applies behavioral automation software for clients to increase internet sales.

RANK

CIRESON

2008 REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. • WEPAY Bill Clerico, wepay.com

CEO: Ryan

CALLRAIL

2,592.1%

CEO:

NCINO

Number of companies 40  Total revenue $639.5m  Median revenue $5.8m  Median growth rate 1,547.8%  Total employment 4,603

NUTANIX

136

Creates intelligent software, Web and mobile apps, and cybersecurity systems.

CEO: Steve

Companies that create applications, development tools, Web platforms, or utilities, or provide custom development services for businesses and individuals

CIRRUSPATH

2001 ST. GEORGE, UTAH

2011 OREM, UTAH • LANCERA Chad Bennett, lancera.com

PIPEDRIVE

SOFTWARE

PERSADO

PRINTERLOGIC

CEO: Ryan Wedig, printerlogic.com Manages printers centrally to eliminate servers and reduce waste.

TRANTOR

CEO: Rich Hlavka, lynxgrc.com Helps highly regulated companies improve their IT security, maintain compliance, and reduce risk.

BOUNCE EXCHANGE

Fei, networkoptix.com Installs and manages complex video surveillance systems.

SHOPPER APPROVED

CEO: Michael Volk, guidepointsecurity.com Conducts multifaceted intrusion-detection and data-protection programs.

DIRECTDEFENSE

2010 BURBANK, CALIF.

CEO: Richard

Companies that provide security and surveillance systems, training, personnel, and related products and services, as well as data-security services and technologies

2012 SAN FRANCISCO

2010 SAN FRANCISCO

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


SOFTWARE (CONT.) ARCWEB TECHNOLOGIES

2011 PHILADELPHIA

CEO: Chris Cera, arcwebtechnologies.com

290

PNEURON

Moss, pneuron.com Employs a distributed processing network that allows companies to access remote information quickly. 1,354.3%

$3.9M

293

1,345%

$14.1M

50

2009 ROCHESTER, MICH.

2011 MIAMI

CEO: Andres

Focil, webmetech.com Hosts websites for the Arkansas Razorbacks and other college teams, and retail and service companies.

PAGERDUTY

2009 SAN FRANCISCO

CEO: Alex Solomon, pagerduty.com Operates an incident-resolution platform for IT networks.

AMBASSADOR

2010 ROYAL OAK, MICH.

CEO: Jeff Epstein, getambassador.com Makes referral marketing software that automates enrollment and tracking of customers.

WINDSOR CIRCLE

2011 DURHAM, N.C.

CEO: Matthew

Williamson, windsorcircle.com Sells predictive customer life-cycle and retention marketing software and services. 2011 MARIETTA, GA. • SOCIAL123 Aaron Biddar, social123.com

298

1,317.9%

$2.1M

TANGO CARD

2009 SEATTLE

CEO: David Leeds, tangocard.com Distributes digital gift cards and other incentives for retail customers.

2009 BOSTON • VMTURBO Ben Nye, vmturbo.com

299

1,303.3%

$28.1M

186

321

1,201.7%

$3.3M

42

351

1,080.5%

$3.4M

72

377

1,013.5%

$2.8M

30

CEO: Charles Ramsey, saucelabs.com Accelerates software development and application testing through automation.

1ON1 DEVELOPMENT

2011 LAKEWOOD, N.J.

PRESIDENT: Ephraim

Arnstein, 1on1development.com Designs websites, mobile apps, marketplaces, and other business software.

2010 BETHLEHEM, PA. • LIVEHELPNOW Michael Kansky, livehelpnow.net

379

1,008.3%

$29.1M

130

387

989.7%

$3.1M

26

2011 PENSACOLA, FLA.

$11.6M

111

179

2,071.2%

$15.5M

122

452

847.1%

$50.4M

227

TRAVEL + HOSPITALITY

Number of companies 6  Total revenue $115m  Median revenue $15.5m  Median growth rate 875.7%  Total employment 669

ARTIST TRAVEL CONSULTANTS 402

954.9%

$6.2M

42

69

4,120.6%

$6.3M

5

133

2,623.3%

$41.8M

500

412

933.7%

$3M

12

465

817.7%

$17.9M

16

468

814%

$13.1M

59

488

778%

$32.9M

77

CEO: Iris Derke, artisttravels.com Arranges travel for performance tours for school, amateur, and other musical groups.

HERMITAGE INN REAL ESTATE HOLDING COMPANY 2007 WILMINGTON, VT. 403

953.6%

$44.6M

420

404

952.4%

$14.3M

106

CEO: James

Barnes, hermitageclub.com Operates a membership resort and real estate development company in Vermont.

AMERICAN PASSPORT & VISA INTERNATIONAL 2003 WASHINGTON, D.C. CEO: Karim Benni, apviexpress.com Expedites passport processing for consumers and corporate voyagers.

430

886.4%

$2.6M

36

ULTIMATE JET VACATIONS 2007 AVENTURA, FLA. CEO: Steven

Kadoch, ultimatejetvacations.com Packager of five-star vacation trips to luxe resorts worldwide. 438

873.5%

$2.4M

8

STAY ALFRED VACATION RENTALS 2011 SPOKANE, WASH.

484

783%

$9.8M

6

CEO: Jordan Allen, stayalfred.com Manages and rents furnished condos for short-term stays in major cities,

SOR TECHNOLOGY

2004 CARLSBAD, CALIF.

CEO: Kevin Schneider, sortechnology.com Develops proprietary software for the travel industry, including reward programs.

485

HG DATA COMPANY

4,190.1%

2010 NEW YORK CITY

Runs a call center and customer service platform connecting customers to live operators.

PAY SELL CO.

2010 ENGLEWOOD, COLO.

CEO: Kristi Alford, e2optics.com Engineers data and communication systems for commercial and government clients.

66

Travel agencies, tour operators, hotel companies, concierge services, jet brokers, vacation property management firms, and other businesses in travel and tourism

CEO:

CEO: Jibril Sulaiman, paysell.co Runs a payment system for fundraising, niche markets like rap, and ethnic-based enterprises.

2009 SAN JOSE, CALIF.

CEO: Jia-Ru Li, lileesystems.com Enables a continuous mobile broadband connection on trains and other moving vehicles.

E2 OPTICS

Applies a “common data” model to a cloudbased, shared IT network. 2008 SAN FRANCISCO

Fetterolf, stratusvideo.com Delivers interpretation services remotely over video and audio and across platforms.

LILEE SYSTEMS

CEO:

SAUCE LABS

2011 CLEARWATER, FLA.

PRESIDENT: David

CEO:

2010 HOUSTON

Companies that transmit voice, video, or data, or that provide equipment, services, or supporting technologies to the telecommunications industry

STRATUS VIDEO

Collects and distributes consumer-marketing data on a real-time basis.

ONIT

20

15

CEO:

CEO: Eric Elfman, onit.com Hosts a suite of integrated apps, including e-billing, for corporate legal departments.

$3.4M

Number of companies 3  Total revenue $77.5m  Median revenue $15.5m  Median growth rate 2,071.2%  Total employment 460

Maintains marketing contact databases to provide better B2B sales leads. 2010 CHICAGO • SIGNAL Mike Sands, signal.co

771.7%

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

CEO: Thomas Shea, onestreamsoftware.com Implements and supports corporate performance-management software.

WEBME TECHNOLOGIES/WMT

493

25

Develops and designs Web and mobile technologies for the financial and health care industries.

ONESTREAM SOFTWARE

2010 NEW YORK CITY

CEO: Simon

779.5%

$5M

44

2010 SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. CEO: Craig Harris, hgdata.com Analyzes installed technologies to mine them for business intelligence.

RANK

THREE-YEAR GROWTH

186 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

2015 REVENUE

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

•Past honoree ••Two-time past honoree •••Three-time past honoree THE INC.500


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Franchising and Business Growth Go Hand-in-Hand by Mark Henricks

Business growth wouldn’t be the same without franchising. During the last fi ve years, according to the International Franchising Association (IFA), franchises have expanded their employment by an annual average of 2.6 percent. That’s 20 percent higher than all businesses across the economy, according to the Washington, D.C.-based industry group.

Steele Smiley, chief development officer and chief marketing officer for parent company Lift Brands, says one of the reasons Snap Fitness has done so well in assisting franchisees is that the umbrella franchising organization includes fi ve brands. That gives the franchisers the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds, Smiley says.

Snap Fitness is one of the concepts contributing significantly to franchise industry growth. The Chanhassen, Minnesota, fi tness franchise was founded in 2003 to offer a fresh combination of value, convenience, and quality in the health club space. Consumers quickly engaged with the promise of handy locations, no contracts, and 24/7 hours of operation.

“This diverse community of franchisees benefit from our proven concept, turnkey system, and simple process, which are already in place,” Smiley adds. “Prospects are also encouraged by our low startup costs, as well as the expert assistance that comes with opening a new club. Finally, franchisees are inspired by the endless possibilities provided by Snap Fitness to positively affect their community.”


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Snap Fitness has 2,000 locations open or in development in 18 countries. Smiley says the plan is to open 200 more clubs both domestically and internationally during 2016. The company is targeting a wide range of markets for its next phase of expansion. “Snap Fitness is a unique franchise with the ability to open clubs in a variety of diverse markets,” Smiley says.

Franchisees of Orlando-based uBreakiFix own and operate businesses that repair smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and other electronic devices. These gadgets have become ubiquitous and indispensable, but they still have a tendency to break, and when that happens, frustrated business and consumer users turn to uBreakiFix. Founder Justin Wetherill says that they have developed a fan base among customers by using quality parts and providing a superior in-store experience. Franchise investors are drawn to the concept because it serves a vast market with a well-developed business model, and it supports franchisees comprehensively.

The Goddard School is a franchise business that offers parents and their children between the ages of six weeks to six years a proven, play-based educational approach that encourages them to have fun while learning. The company’s curriculum has been developed by experts and is based on the latest research in order to help kids gain skills they need to succeed in school and in life. By addressing students’ emotional, academic, social, creative, and physical skills, The Goddard School ensures a well-rounded experience. Franchisees of the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based parent company are attracted by the chance to do meaningful work helping families, while enjoying the flexibility of a dual-management system, says Jim DiRugeris, vice president of franchise development.

“uBreakiFix takes a very hands-on approach to management of the brand and support of the franchisees in order to enhance their likelihood of success,” Wetherill says. The company has developed advanced systems for point-of-sale, ordering, inventory management, payroll, and other functions. That makes it possible for franchise owners to concentrate on making sure customers receive excellent service. “The managers of our stores are not worried about where they’re getting their parts tomorrow or where their payroll is,” Wetherill says. “We’ve automated the running of the stores to such an extent that managers can focus on the experience in the stores. That’s a big part of what’s made us successful in this space.”

“Every school is co-led by an on-site owner and an education director who work together to make sure every family enjoys a warm, nurturing experience,” DiRugeris says. “Many of our franchisees are not educators and come from varied backgrounds, which works well when paired with a qualified education director as part of the dual-management approach.” The Goddard School currently has 453 locations up and running. “We plan to have more than 460 operational locations by the end of 2016,” DiRugeris says. “We have a few key areas that we want to grow this year, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Manhattan, Long Island, San Antonio, Boston, Florida, and Illinois.”

There are 212 uBreakiFix locations in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. “The goal for this year is 275; the goal for next year is just north of 400,” Wetherill says. “And we’re really focusing on the U.S. and Canada.” Retro Fitness is focused on providing franchisees with predictable monthly income from membership fees, additional revenue from a juice bar, and personal training and group fitness services. Jason Mattes, chief development officer of the Colts Neck, New Jerseybased franchiser says the model also offers a flexible, manager-run business featuring a simple, streamlined set of operations.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

The concept also has plenty of appeal to consumers. For a $19.99 monthly fee, club members get access to a one-stop fitness facility with cardio, weight training, group classes, child sitting, and more. “People are watching their pocketbooks and waistlines today more than ever,” Mattes adds. “That’s ideal for a high-value, low-cost gym concept like Retro Fitness.”

particularly for Dallas-based HomeVestors of America, which franchises businesses that invest in residential real estate properties. “What really attracts people to our model is our trademark: ‘We Buy Ugly Houses,’” says Co-president David Hicks. “The advertising around that trademark generates a consistent flow of leads to houses that fit the investors’ model for rental property or properties they can fix up and sell.” HomeVestors franchises are fixing up properties in more than 720 locations in 44 states. Within a year, Hicks says, the system should top 800 from growth in existing metro areas as well as expansion into smaller markets.

At the moment there are 145 franchised Retro Fitness locations open in 16 states. Most are in the Mid-Atlantic, but the company also has units operating in several New England, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southern, and Western states. By the end of 2016, Mattes says, the plan is to have more than 175 Retro Fitness clubs up and running. In addition to expanding in their core geography of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the company anticipates adding several new locations in emerging markets including California, Arizona, Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. Fantastic Sams Hair Salons, the first nationally franchised salon concept with services for the entire family, offers those looking for franchise opportunities in the salon and beauty segment a time-tested business model in an attractive market. “The salon segment of franchising is known for its stability, even during periods of recession, and within the salon segment, value-priced salons are the most attractive,” says President and CEO Linda Chadwick. In addition to the internal financing options and multiple revenue streams Fantastic Sams offers, one of the biggest draws for prospective franchisees is the new, sleek salon design and updated logo. “We hear nothing but good things, and we know that’s going to continue as the dozens of new franchises we now have in the pipeline get up and running in the coming months,” says Chadwick. Today Fantastic Sams has nearly 1,100 locations throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada and is poised to develop 100 new locations within the next 12 months. Real estate has received increased attention in recent years from investors seeking stability and improved returns. That’s good for all real estate investors, but

Hair salons aren’t vulnerable to internet competitors, and they resist recessions, require modest investment, and lend themselves to multi-unit franchising. And Great Clips stands out as the largest and fastest-growing salon, with nearly 4,000 North American units, including 1,000 new salons in the last five years. “We’ve achieved 47 straight quarters of same-store sales growth, and salon-level profits have increased roughly 50 percent in the last six years,” adds Rob Goggins, chief operating officer of Minneapolis-based Great Clips. As an all-franchise concept, the parent’s management can focus entirely on franchisee needs, he adds. “In 12 months we’ll have roughly 4,175 salons open,” Goggins says. “We are growing rapidly in the Northeast, Southeast, Texas, California, and Toronto, and we’ll soon be opening salons in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.” While nobody likes mosquitoes, franchisees adore Mosquito Joe, a Virginia Beach-based chain of mosquito-control businesses. “We use a lot of fun in our branding and positioning,” explains CEO Kevin Wilson. “That gets people interested initially. And they like the work we do for the community and believe the service we provide is valuable.” Mosquito Joe has 169 locations in 27 states, and Wilson anticipates having 240 open within a year or so. With franchises operating from Florida to Colorado and Minnesota to Texas, Mosquito Joe has ample room for expansion. “Every state in the country has mosquitoes,” Wilson says. “And wherever there are mosquitoes, there should be a Mosquito Joe.” Wherever there is pavement, it must be maintained. Sandusky, Ohio-based franchiser SealMaster is the


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

pavement maintenance industry’s one-stop source for materials, equipment, and tools. “The emphasis on pavement preservation and extending useful life of paved assets has never been greater,” says Rick Simon, franchise operations director.

SealMaster franchisees have protected territories as large as entire states. Average 2015 sales for those in business five or more years was $5.3 million. Only about 15 territories remain and are available in upper Central and Western states, New England, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. “We plan to sell out the rest of the U.S. within four years,” says Simon. Franchisees in 33 occupied territories currently operate around 100 locations nationwide. As a national and international franchiser of hair salons targeting the male market, Sport Clips Haircuts occupies a special position. Remarkably, just six of the Georgetown, Texas-based franchiser’s locations have closed since 2010, for a continuity rate in excess of 99 percent, notes Founder and CEO Gordon Logan. The salons are designed for multi-unit operation. Although the concept employs a semi-absentee manager-run model, Sports Clips connects to communities it serves by supporting many different causes. There are more than 1,550 Sports Clips in 50 states and in Canada, and Logan plans to add 160 in the next 12 months. “We anticipate that we will continue to open a lot of stores in the Northeast, where we still have a relatively low ratio of stores to population,” he says. A polished, casual image and menu of modern Mexican cuisine distinguish Cantina Laredo, a concept from Consolidated Restaurants of Dallas that began in 1984. “The original location in Addison, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, is still operating today, which is a testament to the timelessness and relevance of Cantina Laredo,” says Chairman and CEO John D. Harkey, Jr. Cantina Laredo has 38 locations and anticipates adding 10 in the next 12 months.

Cruise Planners is a home-based business model that appeals to people who have a passion for travel. “You don’t need to have travel industry experience to be a successful Cruise Planners franchise owner, because we truly are a business in a box,” says CEO Michelle Fee. Coral Springs, Florida-based Cruise Planners has 1,400 franchises in all 50 states and is constantly growing, she adds. The constant all Kolache Factory franchisees share, after moving from Houston, is nostalgia for the company’s baked treats, says Dawn Nielsen, copresident of the Katy, Texas, parent. “They want to bring the Kolache Factory to their home town, and they know it will be a success,” Nielsen says. So far, Kolache Factory is in 53 locations, with plans to open six to 10 in the next 12 months. The Interface Financial Group franchisees provide growing small businesses short-term financing through accounts receivable factoring. “We look for mature individuals who have a solid business track record of their own and now seek the world of entrepreneurship,” says President David Banfield. The Bethesda, Maryland, franchiser operates in eight countries, including approximately 70 U.S. franchises. Within a year, Banfield plans to add 10 to 12 U.S. units. Kansas City-based Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery offers investors the opportunity to open a unit of the popular dessert retailer for a modest investment. “The biggest attraction is the cost,” says CEO Jeff Martin. “For $100,000 or less you can get one of these things open.” Smallcakes has 150 mostly Midwest and Southern locations and plans to expand by 30 in 2016. Chairs of C12 Group of San Antonio, Texas, facilitate gatherings of Christian chief executives and business owners for monthly peer advisory groups. “Members report off-the-charts satisfaction with the significance of the work they engage in with C12,” says President and CEO Mike Sharrow, stressing that C12 is not a networking group. C12 operates in 90 mostly Southeastern and Central cities and anticipates topping 100 within a year. While these franchises apply a variety of business models to a wide range of industries, all share the fact that they participate in a franchising field poised for continued strong growth. Forecasts from the International Franchise Association indicate franchise businesses should grow faster than non-franchised businesses in their sectors in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


FRANCHISE

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FRANCHISE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


MARKETPLACE

CLASSIFIEDS

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

AGENTS WANTED

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

BUSINESSES FOR SALE

EDUCATION/INSTRUCTION

SEEKING PERSON TO license/market/sell my new umbrella patent to manufacturer. 781-595-0094.

MAILORDER PROFITS!! Make $500/order! Free details. Cashflow, 43-I Tennyson, Reading, MA 01867.

PROFITABLE BUSINESSES with owner financing. All types, sizes, locations. Bizsale.com & efranchisesale.com 1-800617-4204.

MASTER OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEGREE AACSB accredited and 100% online. Coursework focused on your business, taught by real entrepreneurs. Visit meblog.wcu.edu

AUTOMOTIVE

MASSIVE WEALTH I made 1.4 million in 18 months. Will train professional business minded people only. Call 877-923-7446, 24 hours.

LUXURY–SPORTS–CLASSIC Autos & Hi End RVs - by owners. www.cacars.com Buyers/ Sellers 800-546-8457.

BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS

PODCAST INCOME – Without equipment, setup, or hosting fees. 410-558-4500. www.homebusinessprofiles.com

BUSINESS FITS: How to Find the Right Business for You! by Terry Oliver Lee. Available on Amazon.

www.GetGoldEagleCoins.com Code 72 Earn fulltime Income. $100 to start.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES HOMEBASED TRAVEL BUSINESS Excellent income. Affordable opportunity. Includes travel website. Visit www.TheTicketCounter.com WORK FROM HOME. Make $200 an hour, credit related, no selling, no investment, risk free, no scam. Takes 1 minute to qualify, 5 minute training, start today. 708-717-2398. M&A PROFESSIONALS Entrepreneurs interested in $400,000+/ year contact: denny@chapman-usa.com www.chapman-usa.com $30K IN 30 DAYS. Unlimited potential. Time freedom. DailyCashAbundance.com Call 1-800-931-7137. MARKETING HEALTHY CHOCOLATE – Established Company, Unlimited Income. Call Now! 1-855-200-0595. Place Your Business Opportunity Ad Here!

SELLING YOUR BUSINESS! Highest multiples now! Tecacq.com Contact Rob Baker 888-639-6776.

COMPUTERS POINTOFSALE.COM Offers independent advice, thousands of articles, how-to guides and case studies. Find discount coupons from POS companies at www.PointofSale.com/coupons.html

BUSINESS SERVICES PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS from Identity Theft. Get BizTrac Today! All 50 states. 855417-1700. www.capitaloversight.com MANHATTAN VIRTUAL OFFICE - Meeting room and workspace membership options available. www.barworks.nyc or call 917806-7731. The most affordable co-working space in Manhattan. $4/HOUR OUTSOURCED EMPLOYEES for any small business. 48-hour set up. Dedicated manager included. 4DollarOutsourcing.com HIRE COMMISSION ONLY SALES REPS. Hire qualified commission sales reps in 2 days $399. 800-572-0908. Offer: A3B timetohire.com/inc INSTANT REGISTERED AGENT SERVICE! Northwest Registered Agent offers fast, secure business formation and registered agent services in every state. www.northwestregisteredagent.com

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 • WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM

FINANCIAL TURN YOUR INVOICES Into immediate cash. We buy your account receivables. www.advantagefunding.com Call: 800-241-2274.

FRANCHISES FRANCHISE YOUR BUSINESS 30 years experience. National Franchise Associates, Inc. 706-356-5637.

EDUCATION/INSTRUCTION THE UNIVERSITY OF PROFESSIONAL Studies - JD, MBA, DBA, PhD Degrees. Accelerated/accredited. 202-379-2840. www.fpstudies.org

TRAVEL “EXPEDIA QUOTED $3,365.46” during peak travel season, I paid $799. www.Cheap5StarTravel.com

Get Results in the Classified Section! The classified rates are $13.95 per word for one issue or $13.25 per word for three prepaid issues or more, twelve-word minimum. Classified display rates are $975 per column inch for one issue or $825 per column inch for three prepaid issues or more. The paid circulation is 665,000, readership exceeds 2 million. Inc. publishes ten times per year. All classified advertising must be prepaid by either check or credit card. Make checks payable to RPI Classifieds. Visa, MasterCard and American Express only. The next available issues are the November issue which closes September 1st and the December/January issue which closes October 1st. For additional information visit our website at www.rpiclassifieds.com

RPI Classifieds, PO Box 570, Clearwater, FL 33757 727.507.7505 • info@rpiclassifieds.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

MARKETPLACE

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT 800.938.4660 â&#x20AC;¢ WWW.DIRECTACTIONMEDIA.COM


A Aaski Technology 166 Abuv Media 158 Access Point Financial 168 Acumen Capital 168 Aduro 176 Advanced Project Consulting 171 Advantages 160 Advice Media 158 Aegis Corps 171 AkesoGen 174 Akston Hughes International 113, 182 Aleph Objects 161 Alliance Family of Companies 174 Altalena 170 Ambassador 186 American Passport & Visa International 186 American Pillowcase 114, 182 American Retirement Advisors 168 A.M. Staffing Group 176 Analytica 178 Annmarie Skin Care 164 Anteris Management Consulting 161 Apeks Supercritical 181 Applied Thought 178 AppLovin 158 Approyo 178 Apto 184 Arcweb Technologies 113, 186 ArroHealth 174 ArrowCore Group 178 Artist Travel Consultants 56, 186 Asanda Aveda Spa Lounge 164 Ashby Law 164 Aspirent Consulting 178 Assurity Staffing Group 180 Atlas MedStaff 171 Auric Solar 166 Avadim Technologies 174 Avertra 180 Axe Wellness 174 Axis Global Enterprises 162

B

BahFed 171 Bai 170 B&D Consulting 178 Berkley 181 Be the Change Revolutions 160 Big Block Realty 181 BigRentz 162 Blackstone Labs 171 Blue Canyon Technologies 166 Blueprint Consulting Services 161 Boost Marketing Group 158 Bounce Exchange 184 Bowlmor AMF 170 Boyce Technologies 181 BrandNex.com 158 ByteCubed 110, 178

C

Cabinets.com 182 CalCom Solar 166 CallRail 184 CallTrackingMetrics 126, 184 Cambay Consulting 178 Cambridge Select 182 C&H Financial Services 166 Capital Advance Solutions 168 Capture Education 164 Cardlytics 160 Carved 94, 113, 164 Casino Cash Trac 184 Castle Medical 171 Catmedia 171 Centerspan 176 Central Closeout 73, 161 Chameleon Cold Brew 170 Channel Partners Capital 168 Chef’s Cut Real Jerky 170 Chelsea Financial Group 176 Chicken & Rice Guys 29, 170 Chicken Salad Chick 29, 170 ChiroFusion 184 Chosen Foods 170 Cireson 184 Cirruspath 184 Clason Point Partners 171 ClearSource 161 Climate Control Experts 162 CloudSmartz 178 Cloud Software 180

Cognitive Medical Systems 174 Commodore Leasing 182 Company.com 160 Connect Assistance 176 Consumer Fire Products 50, 60, 184

Converge Consulting 164 ConvertMedia 160 Core and More Technologies 160 Corios 161 CPSG Partners 178 Creative Studio Promotions 160 CRM Science 178 CrowdStrike 146, 184 C3 Group 176 Culver Equipment 161 Cynet Systems 180

D

DA Defense Logistics HQ 180 Danny Wimmer Presents 164 Darkblade Systems 171 Davis Defense Group 171 Developing Awareness 158 Digital Media Solutions 181 DirectDefense 184 Discount Power 166 Discover Video 181 Dollar Shave Club 29, 162 Double A Events 158 DoubleMap 180 Downeast Cider House 170 Drawbridge 158

E

eAssist Dental Solutions 174 Eaurac 180 Ecology Mir Group 171 Edge Home Finance Corporation 168 Edgemont Pharmaceuticals 174 Edifice Solutions 171 Edufficient 164 Edward Marc Brands 29, 84, 170 Elements Holdings Group & Subsidiaries 160 Elevate Services 160 eLuxurySupply.com 182 EMB 168 Empire Flippers 161 Engage PEO 176 Enovachem 174 E-Telequote Insurance 176 E2 Optics 186 Evoke Brand Strategies 158 Evoke Neuroscience 174 Excel Group 181 Exterior Company, The 162 Exusia 178 EZ Homes 182

F

Fab Glass and Mirror 164 Fathom Realty 181 Favor TechConsulting 6, 148, 180

FDA Group, The 176 FedBiz IT Solutions 170 Fin Fun 182 Fire Line Services 162 Five Lakes Professional Services 114, 161 Flexfire LEDs 181 Flite Banking Centers 160 Florida Premier Realty of the Palm Beaches 181 Florida Solar One 166 Flowonix Medical 174 Food52 182 FormSwift 184 FormulaFolio Investments 166 Fortress Marine Construction 54, 162 Freedom Solar Power 166 FreeForm Agency 160 Freshbenies 174 Fresh Meal Plan 170 Fresh Roasted Coffee 170 Fulfillment Lab, The 180 Furniture Solutions Group 113, 160

Futurewave Systems 176

G

Gamma Labs 176 General Materials 161 Globalization Partners 160 Global Lending Services 168

Globo 160 GoPole 164 GQR Global Markets 176 Graybox 160 Green Cloud Technologies 178 Green Creative 8, 109, 181 Green Generation Solutions 166 Greenlight Staffing Group 176 Greenspire 166 GrowersHouse.com 182 Gtuit 166 GuidePoint Security 184

H

Handsome Brook Farm 170 Harmony Healthcare 176 HaystackID 178 HealthCare.com 176 Health Catalyst 174 Healthiest You 176 HealthSparq 174 Health Warrior 170 Her Hair Company 164 Herman Integration Services 160 Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company 186 HG Data Company 186 Highland Project Logistics 78, 180

Hilb Group, The 176 Hireology 160 HomeWorks Energy 166 Honor Capital 176 Hoosier Hill Farm 170 Hospicelink 174 Hosted Records 171 Humm Kombucha 112, 170 Hyperice 162

I

Idea Buyer 164 iLendingDirect 168 ImagineAir 29, 180 Impact CNC 157, 181 Impact Technology Recruiting 178 Influence & Co. 158 Influenster 160 InfoScout 113, 160 Inoventures 171 Inspire Medical Systems 171 Interactive Government Holdings 170 Ipsy 29, 162 ISSquared 180

J

Jane.com 182 Janz 171 JCS Consulting Group 180 Jear Logistics 180 Jeunesse Global 164 JM Bullion 166 J.W. Logistics 180

K

Kabbage 29, 168 Kargo 158 Karna 171 K Company Realty, The 181 Kepler Group 160 King Memory 161 Knot Standard 182 KnowBe4 184 Kohana Coffee 170 Konnected 158 Koupon Media 182 KPG Healthcare 174 Kwest Enterprises 162

L

Lancera 184 Land Gorilla 162 LA Solar Group 166 Lead Genesis 166 Leadpages 178 Leafly 162 Legacybox 164 Legend Solar 166 Leota 182 Lexicon Health 181 LicenseLogix 161 LifeAid Beverage Co. 170 LifeTree Manufacturing 170 Lighter Capital 168 Lilee Systems 186 LinkedSelling 158 ListenFirst Media 161

LiveHelpNow 186 LiveIntent 160 Livionex 29, 176 LLB Enterprises 161 Lonecone.com 182 Loot Crate 25, 113, 162 Los York 158 L2F 27, 166 Lynx Technology Partners 184

M

MacStadium 178 Maer Construction 162 Magoosh 38, 164 Makeup Geek 164 Man Crates 182 Manifesto Agency 158 Marijuana Business Daily 64, 181

MasteryPrep 164 MaxHome 162 Maxton & Company 160 MedBridge 174 Melba's Old School Po Boys 29, 90, 170

MES 180 Metamarkets 158 Metronome 171 MeUndies 182 Midwest Corporate Credit 168 Midwest Equity Mortgage 166 Missouri Sun Solar 24, 166 Modern Vintage Boutique 182 Mod Mission Critical 178 Mod Pizza 29, 69, 170 Moore Heating & Air Conditioning 162 Morning Star Financial Services 174 Mosquito Joe 162 Movable Ink 158 MP Consulting Services 162 MS3 178 Multifamily Utility Company 182 My Home Group Real Estate 181 Myrtle Consulting Group 161

P PagerDuty 186 Paint Nite 114, 162 Palo Media 160 Panthera Technologies 178 Pantherx Specialty Pharmacy 171 Parse.ly 161 Paykings 166 Payline Data 168 Payscout 168 Pay Sell 186 PCB Apps 178 Penny Hoarder, The 181 Perfecta Federal 171 Persado 184 PGM 162 Phoenix Energy Group 166 Phoenix Recovery & Counseling Centers, The 150, 171 Pipedrive 184 Pipe View America 162 Pivot International 166 Pixability 158 Planit Group 178 Pluralsight 164 Pneuron 186 Pop! Promos 158 Potomac River Holdings 182 Prairie Landworks 162 PrescribeWellness 171 Preting Consulting 16, 171 Primal Health 174 Prime Time Healthcare 174 PrinterLogic 184 Private Label Skin 181 Project Repat 182 Prolific Interactive 160 ProNexus 168 Proove Biosciences 174 Pro-Sphere Tek 178 PSG Construction 162

N

Q Quick Bridge Funding 168 R

Na Ali’i Consulting 170 National Medtrans Network 174 National Merchants Association 168 Native Commerce 164 nCino 184 Nearpod 5, 70, 164 Neighbors Emergency Centers 176 Nekter Juice Bar 170 Netvious 178 Network Optix 184 NeuroStructures 174 Newsletter Pro, The 160 NextAfter 160 NextGen Federal Systems 178 NextNet Partners 180 NGCI 178 Nine Line Apparel 182 9Round 176 Nolan Transportation Group 180 Northstargroup 178 N2grate 170 Nutanix 76, 184 Nutrislice 170

Rafael Marrero and Company 161 Rain City Capital 114, 168 Rant 181 Razor Consulting Solutions 161 Real Estate Expert Advisors 181 Redefy Real Estate 181 Redwood Scientific Technologies 176 Regulated Capital Consultants 161 ReliaTrain 166 Relumination 166 Remarkable Liquids 170 Render Media 181 Renogy 114, 164 Retail Outsource, The 182 ReVamp Electronics 160 Revere Capital 168 Rian Group Real Estate, The 181 RightBrain Networks 184 RobotLab 114, 184 Rocky Mountain Barrel Company 170 RPM 180 Ruby Has Fulfillment 180

Oasys 171 Occam’s Paradigm 161 Omnibuild 162 1on1 Development 186 1 Source Business Solutions 176 One Stop Equine Shop 182 OneStream Software 186 One3LED 113, 166 Onit 186 Open Systems Technologies 180 OppLoans 168 Optamark 161 Opteamix 178 Optima Tax Relief 168 Optimum Healthcare IT 176 Orangetheory Fitness 174 OrderMyGear 161 Organifi 174 Orion 178 OTR Capital 168 OutboundEngine 184 Outdoor Tech 164 Owl Computing 180

Saatva 182 Sandlapper Capital Investments 168 Sauce Labs 186 SD Bullion 168 Seeking Health 174 Sekon Enterprise 171 Sequoia Holdings 171 ServRx 174 Shop Melee 164 Shopper Approved 184 Signal 186 Signature Analytics 168 Signpost 158 SJ Technologies 178 Skyrocket Toys 117, 164 SlideBelts 182 Small Business Owners of America 160 SmartBox Web Marketing 158 Smart Energy Today 166 SmartyPants Vitamins 174

O

S

SoBe Promos 160 Social123 186 Solar Media Team 158 Sol Systems 168 Sooryen Technologies 180 Sophus IT Solutions 178 SOR Technology 186 Sound Rink 164 Sparty Ventures 158 Spikeball 164 SSi 176 Stability Healthcare 174 Stardust Memorials 182 Status Labs 160 Stay Alfred Vacation Rentals 186 St. John’s Medical 174 Strategic Financial Solutions 168 Stratton & Bratt 162 Stratus Video 186 S2 Capital 112, 181 S2 IT Group 180 Suja Juice 152, 168 Sunny Days In-Home Care 176 Sunpro Solar 162 Survwest 166 Swift Capital 168 Synartis Health 174

T

TAG Aero 37, 180 Taldepot.com 182 Talteam 178 Tango Card 186 TapClicks 80, 158 TaskUs 161 Team Forss Realty Group 182 Tenica and Associates 171 Tergus Pharma 174 TFM Truckload 180 Thrive Farmers 58, 168 TickPick 124, 162 TNH Advanced Specialty Pharmacy 176 Torrent Consulting 161 Totally Joined for Achieving Collaborative Techniques 171 Total Technology Solutions Group 161 Touch of Modern 29, 162 Traffic 158 Transitions Commute Solutions 180 Trantor 184 Tredence 161 Treeium 162 Tresata 114, 184 Tribeca Marketing Group 164 Trigent Solutions 70, 180

U

Uhuru Design 133, 162 Ultimate Jet Vacations 186 United Commerce Group 182 USTRP 168

V

Vantage Point 161 VetInternetCo.com 182 Vets Etc. 180 Vighter Medical Group 171 Vixxo 161 VMTurbo 186 VOR Technology 171

W

Warrior Media 164 WebME Technologies/ WMT 186 WeGoLook 161 Wellbe 174 Welltok 174 WePay 184 West Hills Capital 168 Whim Hospitality 88, 170 Wholesale Screening Solutions 161 Windsor Circle 186 Worth Clark Realty 181

Y

YourPark.com 181 Youth Digital 164

Z

zSpace 164 Zurixx 164

PRINTED IN THE USA. COPYRIGHT ©2016 BY MANSUETO VENTURES LLC. All rights reserved. INC. (ISSN 0162-8968) is published monthly, except for combined July/August and December/January issues, by Mansueto Ventures LLC, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007-2195. Subscription rate for U.S. and Possessions, $19 per year. Address all subscription correspondence to Inc. magazine, P.O. Box 3136, Harlan, IA 51593-0202; 800-234-0999; icmcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com (U.S., Canada, International). Please allow at least six weeks for change of address. Include your old address as well as new, and enclose if possible an address label from a recent issue. Single-copy requests: 800-234-0999. Periodical postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Canadian GST registration number is R123245250. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Inc. magazine, P.O. Box 3136, Harlan, IA 51593-0202. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. Requests for permission should be directed to permissions@inc.com. Reprint requests should be directed to The YGS Group at 800-290-5460, ext. 128. Inc. is a registered trademark of Mansueto Ventures LLC. SEPTEMBER 2016 VOL. 38 NO. 7

204 - INC. - SEPTEMBER 2016

INC. 500 INDEX


START PUTTING

THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS

BACK INTO YOUR BUSINESS.

UNLIMITED 2% CASH BACK ON ALL YOUR BUSINESS PURCHASING With the Spark ® Cash Card, every expense could be an opportunity to boost your bottom line and put thousands back into your business. Earn cash back on equipment, inventory, advertising and everything in between.

CapitalOne.com/SmallBusiness

Credit approval required. Offered by Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. © 2016 Capital One


Inc september 2016  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you