Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Inc. magazine has revealed its fourth annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy-America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Music Web site Pandora, convenience store chain 7-Eleven, Brooklyn Brewery, and Radio Flyer, maker of the iconic children’s red wagon, are among the prominent brands featured on this year’s list.

“The leaders of the companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have figured out how to grow their businesses during the longest recession since the Great Depression,” said Inc. president Bob LaPointe. “The 2010 Inc. 5000 showcases a particularly hardy group of entrepreneurs.”

Industry Rankings

Included on the lists of both the Top 100 Companies by Revenue and Top 100 Companies by Gross Dollars of Growth were:

-Mansfield Oil Co., ranked No. 3626 overall, which manages and supplies fuel to corporations, retailers, convenience stores and government agencies in 49 states. Its 2009 revenue totaled $3 billion, and the company has seen a three-year growth of 45%.

-Atlas Oil Co., ranked No. 4146, saw $1.1 billion 2009 revenue and a three-year growth of 28%. Atlas Oil distributes petroleum products and related services in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

-Kum & Go, ranked No. 4582, saw a 2009 revenue of $1.7 billion and a 3-year growth 16%. Kum & Go operates 430 convenience stores in 12 states throughout the Midwest.

-7-Eleven, ranked No. 4929, operates 38,000 stores in 16 countries. Its 2009 revenue totaled $15.1 billion and it saw a three-year growth of 4%.

The Bigger Picture

The 2010 Inc. 5000 serves as a unique illustration of the profound changes taking place in the U.S. economy. The Government Services sector showed the biggest gain in terms of the number of companies on the list, up 33% from last year to 335 companies.

Government Services was also the second-fastest-growing sector in terms of median revenue growth, posting a 202% gain over the 2006-2009 measuring period. More than half of these companies are based in Maryland, Va., and Washington, D.C. The fastest-growing sector by median revenue growth was Real Estate, now just a tiny group of 38 young, small companies, which showed 231% median growth over the period. (There were 121 Real Estate firms on the inaugural Inc. 5000 in 2007.)

Business Products & Services is the top industry by number of companies on the list (640) and total revenue ($80.7 billion), while Health is the biggest by total employment (287,726  jobs).

Despite the fact that most of this year’s measuring period of 2006-2009 took place during the latest recession, aggregate revenue among the companies on the list actually increased to $321.6 billion, up more than 50% from last year. The effects of the recession are seen, however, in the median three-year growth rate, which dropped to 96% from last year’s 126%. This year’s Inc. 5000 employ a record 1.4 million people, up from one million on last year’s list. With unemployment remaining stubbornly high, policymakers and business leaders will do well to look to the Inc. 5000 companies for fresh ideas on achieving growth and creating jobs.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on

Hottest Regions for Fast-Growing Companies

Once again, California tops the Inc. 5000 with the most companies of any state with 684. The Golden State is followed by Texas (404), New York (353), Virginia (293), and Florida (262). All 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, are represented on this year’s list.

New York boasts 410 Inc. 5000 companies, making it the top metro area, followed by Washington, D.C. (363), Los Angeles (262), Chicago (203), and Boston (189).


The 2010 Inc. 500|5000 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 based in the United States, privately held, for profit, and independent-not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies-as of Dec.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 top 10% of companies on the list constitute the Inc. 500, now in its 29th year.






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