Electronic payment processing
G 514.3% R $13.2 million E 73
David Kvederis is an electronic payments pioneer. In 14 years at Wells Fargo he was deeply involved in such innovations as direct deposit, private-label electronic check conversion, and global wire-transfer outsourcing. BankServ processes nearly $3 billion per day in wire transfers alone for more than 100 U.S. financial institutions.
IT and business consulting
G 487.6% R $2.8 million E 16
Antwanye Ford and his two co-founders met at George Washington University, launched their company in the nation's capital, and quickly lined up plenty of government business. Then September 11 shook up the federal contract scene, forcing the company to seek more clients in the commercial sector. Enlightened sponsors a business plan competition in conjunction with the Pioneer Student Leadership Academy.
Management and research consulting
G 486.7% R $2.1 million E 32
JoAnn Kauffman got her start as a lobbyist and consultant on American Indian concerns (she is herself a member of the Nez Perce tribe) while living in Washington, D.C., in the late 1980s. In 1990 she launched her company, which works with tribes, government agencies, and businesses to promote American Indian interests.
Wine importing and sales
G 486% R $29.7 million E 25
Peter Click began importing and selling wines from Australia in 1987. Long a local fixture and tastemaker in Seattle, Click Wine Group recently became half owner of Fat Bastard, the best-selling French Chardonnay and Shiraz in the United States.
Data collection and ID technology
G 464% R $18.8 million E 54
The dot-com suffix is synonymous with technology failure--one reason Jay Steinmetz dropped it from his company's name post-bubble. Today Barcoding works in some of the most lucrative high-tech areas, including radio frequency identification, wireless LANs, mobile computing, and of course those black and white stripes. The company was funded via credit card and grew on cash flow, and Steinmetz hopes for an IPO or reverse merger in the future.
College Point, New York
Electronic payment processing
G 457.5% R $21.7 million E 112
Cynergy Data handles most forms of money transfer that don't involve the actual green stuff: electronic payments, including credit and debit processing; electronic benefits transfer; gift cards; and e-commerce. Marcelo Paladini learned about business while working in his family's chain of pharmacies in Argentina. He came to the United States in 1995 and co-founded Cynergy Data the same year. The company processes $1.6 billion in payments annually.
Computer disposal and reselling
G 438% R $12.6 million E 85
RetroBox merged on the last day of 2005 with the Dallas company Intechra, and RetroBox founder Stampp Corbin now runs systems integration for the combined company. Intechra helps companies dispose of outdated computing equipment through resale, redeployment, and donation.
Systems integration and software
G 437.5% R $7.3 million E 46
Asynchrony's horizons are both global and local. Globally, the company's ACE system allows thousands of people around the world to work together as though they were under the same roof. Locally, the company is enticing employees to move into its neighborhood--in some cases subsidizing rent by as much as 50 percent--so it can take advantage of an SBA program that rewards businesses with large inner city work forces. CEO Bob Elfanbaum hopes to take the angel- and venture-backed company public.
G 413.1% R $5.2 million E 23
When he moved to Indianapolis in 1983, Bob Massie says, "People called it Indianoplace." But Massie, a minister and lecturer who was constantly on the road, wanted to settle down, and he figured he could help his new home become someplace. He founded a religious nonprofit organization, served two terms on the city-county council, and started Marketing Informatics, a marketing business whose goal is to do everything: research, creative services, list management, printing, and direct mail. (The company recently began targeting foreign governments that were drumming up tourism.) A licensed pilot, Massie loves looking out his office window as planes approach and take off from the nearby airport. But the company's also in the path of more threatening forces: In April a tornado took out a 140-foot section of wall at the company's headquarters. Local builders quickly erected a temporary wall and everyone was back to work the next morning. "The mayor called to ask what he could do," says Massie. "I said, 'You can come celebrate with us. We're up and running after losing only four hours of production, and that's reason to have a party."
Marketing and branding
G 410.1% R $3.2 million E 25
Some of the hottest events in Baltimore are orchestrated by former corporate marketing executive LaRian Finney and his crew. The company started in the diversity-marketing niche; early projects included the African American Business Forum and Jazzy Summer Nights. Today Visionary is a full-service marketing and event production company serving local and national clients.
Read more recent articles by Leigh Buchanan: