Fastest Growing Private Companies in the U.S.
Before we get you into the Fastest Growing Private Companies in the U.S., you might want to check this article out as it appears in our March Issue of Business Review USA. For the tablet and iPad fans, it's way cooler to read this article while flipping through our user-friendly e-reader.
While 2010 showed a small inclination that America was poking its eager head out of the recession, there have been a select few companies that have found ways to beat down the negativity and show substantial growth over the last three years. From an electricity and natural gas provider, a vintage clothing online storefront, to a Southern Californian company offering language and cultural training to U.S. troops about to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, here are the top five fastest growing companies in America right now.
1. Dallas, Texas-based Ambit Energy ranks the top of the list as the fastest growing company with a three-year growth of 20,369 percent and from 2007 to 2010, the company saw a customer growth of 7916 percent. The electricity and natural gas provider was founded in 2006 at a restaurant called The Potbelly, no less. Jere Thompson and Chris Chambless met to discuss energy deregulation before aiming to build the finest and most respected retail energy company in the U.S.
The duo set up shop in the historic West End district of downtown Dallas and went to work on several $19 fold-up tables with a few other experienced team members. The company grew extraordinarily quick and in 2008 and Ambit showed revenues of nearly $200 million and nearly $325 million in 2009. Today, Ambit provides electricity and natural gas to residential and commercial customers in Texas, New York, Illinois and Maryland.
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based ModCloth saw a three-year growth of 17,190 percent. High school sweethearts Eric and Susan Gregg Koger started the vintage clothing online storefront in 2002 based on their love for vintage and retro clothing. Today, ModCloth offers clothing, accessories and décor in a fun shopping experience through social media and blog interactions with customers.
ModCloth has raised $19.8 million in funding from Accel Partners and has moved its new headquarters in San Francisco last year and opened a supply chain operation in Los Angeles. The company has grown from $90,000 to $15.5 million in a mere three years, with the help of broad retail selections, attention to detail, vivid product descriptions and customer outreach.
3. Merritt Island, Florida-based Luke & Associates saw a three-year growth of 16,636 percent. The company, which formed in 2004, provides medical and clinical services for the U.S. military and also placed No. 1 in government services for the U.S. the company saw revenue of $37.5 million in 2009.
In 2006, Luke was awarded its first bid, a 10-year, $1.9-billion contract to provide clinical support services for the U.S. Air Force at medical treatments facilities in the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. In 2009, Luke was awarded $1.27 billion in contracts to provide direct care medical services for the U.S. Army in four separate regions across the U.S.
4. El Cajon, California-based Lexicon Consulting saw a three-year growth of 14,017 percent. The provider of linguistic and cultural training to U.S. troops about to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan was founded in 2005 by Jamie Arundell-Latshaw and her husband Leroy, who both have distinguished military careers under their belts but they were green when it came to government contracting. Arundell-Latshaw says that it was word of mouth among the troops and a commitment to Lexicon's government clients that propelled the business to success.
5. San Francisco, California-based WDFA Marketing saw a three-year growth of 13,969 percent. WDMA claims to be a young and cheeky marketing agency that isn’t like their traditional competitors. Although the company’s website is a bit hush-hush when it comes to services offered, the agency, headed by CEO and Managing Partner Raj Prasad, focuses on local community environments to make for integrating marketing strategies for a more effective and memorable experience for customers. WDFA is short for “We Don’t Fool Around,” and describes the mindset of the company and its micromarketing and guerilla tactics.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”