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penna_grouppenna_groupNEW YORK, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Inc. magazine today announced its 29th annual 500 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list spotlights the risk takers whose innovative business models and formidable execution have taken their companies to the top of the heap in terms of percentage revenue growth over the past three years. Companies such as Microsoft, Zappos, Intuit, GoDaddy,Zipcar, Clif Bar, American Apparel, Oracle, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 500.

This year's fastest-growing company is Ambit Energy, a Dallas-based business that buys electricity and natural gas at wholesale prices and resells the energy to customers acquired through a direct sales channel. The company saw $325 million in revenue in 2009 and a three-year growth rate of 20,369 percent.

The largest company on the list, with $849 million in revenue, is also the oldest: Freedom Group, a manufacturer of firearms and ammunition, traces its roots back to the founding of Remington in 1816. Complete results of the Inc. 500, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found

The Advertising & Marketing sector has the most companies on this year's Inc. 500 list, with 60. This industry shows aggregate revenue of more than $1 billion and a median growth rate of 1,266 percent. These companies delve into every possible niche in the field, from guerrilla and grass-roots marketing (WDFA Marketing, No. 5), to in-text advertising in online games (Future Ads, No. 56), to face-to-face marketing in kiosks and door-to-door marketing (Deluxe Marketing, No. 85), to messages played to callers while on hold (HoldCube, No. 95). Government Services is a close second, with 59 companies, aggregate revenue of $1.3 billion, and a median growth rate of 1,389 percent. Here we find companies supporting the military with health services (Luke & Associates, No. 3) and cultural awareness training (Lexicon Consultants, No. 4), as well as the broader federal government with general contracting (PennaGroup, No. 13; Ayuda Management, No. 22) and IT services (Insignia Technology Services, No. 29), to name a few.

"Fast growth at any time is a big achievement; fast growth during the past few years is just short of miraculous," said Inc. editor Jane Berentson. "The 500 consists of these just-short-of-miraculous companies, the ones that through ingenuity and ambition have increased revenue, hired employees, and grown fast in difficult economic times."

The 500 at a Glance

Computer Hardware is by far the fastest-growing industry on this year's Inc. 500, with a total growth rate of 7,194 percent. (That's thanks to the fact that the category contains just two very fast-growing companies.) Logistics & Transportation is second, with a rate of 2,783 percent, and Security is third, with a rate of 2,299 percent.

In total, the companies on the Inc. 500 employ more than 45,000 people. Government Services is the top employer, with 7,011 jobs, followed by Business Products & Services (5,289), Consumer Products & Services (4,804), IT Services (4,355), and Advertising & Marketing (3,533).

Advertising & Marketing has the most companies on this year's Inc. 500 list, with 60, followed by Government Services (59), Business Products & Services (45), IT Services (41), and Software (36).

The top woman-run company is Lexicon Consulting (No. 4 overall), based in El Cajon, California. Lexicon creates mock Iraqi and Afghan villages used to train military personnel. The firm, founded by Jamie Arundell-Latshaw in 2005, recorded revenue of $17.9 million in 2009 and a three-year growth rate of 14,018 percent. The top minority-run company is WDFA Marketing (No. 5 overall), a San Francisco-based firm that specializes in guerrilla, grass-roots, and micro-marketing. WDFA, founded by Raj Prasad, posted revenue of $38.4 million in 2009 and a three-year growth rate of 13,350 percent.

The Inc. 500 posted aggregate revenue of $11.3 billion, down 39 percent from last year. Median three-year growth is 1,231 percent, up almost 40 percent over last year. The top five industries by total revenue are Consumer Products & Services ($1.9 billion), Government Services ($1.4 billion), Advertising & Marketing ($1 billion), Business Products & Services ($872 million), and Energy ($661 million).

The Top 10 500 Companies Ranked by Total Revenue Overall Rank Company Location Industry 2009 Revenue Madison, North Consumer Products No. 217 Freedom Group Carolina & Services $848.7 million Mission Essential Government No. 162 Personnel Columbus, Ohio Services $375.4 million No. 225 Freedom Health Tampa Insurance $374.8 million FriendFinder Boca Raton, No. 303 Networks Florida Media $327.7 million No. 1 Ambit Energy Dallas Energy $325 million Point One Anaheim, Consumer Products No. 158 Technologies California & Services $312.3 million Lake Forest, Logistics & No. 6 Coyote Logistics Illinois Transportation $249.8 million Woodland Hills, Advertising & No. 235 ReachLocal California Marketing $203.1 million Simplex Franklin, No. 186 Healthcare Tennessee Health $192.8 million Government No. 53 MicroTech Vienna, Virginia Services $185.3 million


The 2010 500 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2006 to 2009. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by June 30, 2006. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent -- not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies -- as of December 31, 2009. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2006 is $80,000; the minimum for 2009 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. The companies of the Inc. 500 represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at


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