Top Asian Entrepreneurs of the 2012 Inc. 500
Neil Dufva, Founder and CEO Rose Cook & Lynn Faughey, Co-FoundersDavid Chen, Founder and CEO Byron Hsu, Founder and CEO Andy Kim, Founder and CEO Kenneth Lin, Founder and CEO Pradeep Goel, Founder and CEOKrish Patel, Founder and CEO Zia Islam, Founder and CEO David Tam, Founder and CEO
These 10 entrepreneurs have immigrant roots in Asia and India, but they have built some of the fastest-growing, private companies--many in technology--here in the United States. Asians now make up 12% of the Inc. 500 list. Click through to find out who's in charge of the quickest-growing among them. --Abigail Tracy
2011 Revenue: $2.1 million
Three-Year Growth: 1,881%
Neil Dufva led several entrepreneurial ventures before founding Crunchy Logistics in 2008. The tech firm expanded very rapidly since its inception, focusing on the deployment and support of highly secure control systems, content distribution networks, and natural user-interface advancements. "Our motto here is 'plug it in and change the world'," says Dufva.
The FlexPro Group
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
2011 Revenue: $3.7 million
Three-Year Growth: 2,958%
Though identical twins Rose and Lynn Cook do not come from an entrepreneurial family, they are no strangers to risk-taking. They started the FlexPro Group in 2008 during the Great Recession. The company offers supply chain consulting to the pharmaceutical industry; it focuses on project management, procurement, and package and process engineering.
2011 Revenue: $20.4 million
Three-year Growth: 3,154%
A serial entrepreneur out of Babson College’s hatchery, David Chen launched NextWorth in 2005. "I remember selling 5 ¼-inch floppy discs to prep school kids when I was in eighth grade," says Chen. "I’ve come a long way since then." NextWorth helps consumers as well as national retailers like Target recycle old electronics.
Xenon Project International
El Monte, Calif.
2011 Revenue: $4.4 million
Three-Year Growth: 3,586%
Byron Hsu’s parents wanted him to get a Ph.D., but Hsu had other plans. In 2008, he founded Xenon Project, to sell remote control cars on eBay. Today Xenon Project distributes remote control and nitro-fueled toys and some other goods, like kitchenware and sports equipment. "I think for me personally, I just want to be the best I can be," says Hsu.
2011 Revenue: $24.8 million
Three-Year Growth: 4,756%
Started in 2002, I.T. Source, which fell from No. 26 on 2011’s Inc. 5000 list, offers companies of all sizes tech support with credit card processing and telecommunications. Founder Andy Kim believes that his engineering background helps him see flaws as opportunities for improvement, which is reflected in his company. "Through growth, through innovation, through hard work--we can make change," says Kim.
2011 Revenue: $5.7 million
Three-Year Growth: 5,279%
Frustrated that he had to pay to find out his credit score, Kenneth Lin came up with a way to give consumers a better offer. In 2007, he founded Credit Karma, which allows consumers to check their credit scores online for free. Credit Karma, which instead makes money through advertising, also informs users about credit scores and ways to save money. "One of the motivating factors is that we are building a service that helps a lot of consumers," says Lin.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
2011 Revenue: $13.2 million
Three-Year Growth: 5,855%
Pradeep Goel’s Consumer Health Technologies develops software to help employees manage their own health benefits. Used by third-party administrators, insurance payers, and financial institutions, Consumer Health Technologies, which was founded in 2007, strives to make consumers active buyers of insurance policies rather than passive recipients. "Its very important that we don’t let our customers down," says Goel.
2011 Revenue: $22.9 million
Three-Year Growth: 6,581%
At a young age, Krish Patel became an entrepreneur by filling houses. In 2008, he founded Wireless Communications, which owns and operates 32 Verizon Wireless retail locations in Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and West Virginia. "We are always trying to implement strategies around how to make customer experiences better," says Patel.
Zantech IT Services
2011 Revenue: $17.8 million
Three-Year Growth: 7,331%
Zia Islam founded Zantech IT Services in 2007 to offer enterprise technology systems to the federal government. He was inspired by his brother's success building his own company. "The customer is always our No. 1 priority," says Islam. "Everyday we face challenges but when you win a contract or have a satisfied customer—all the work is worth it."
2011 Revenue: $15.5 million
Three-Year Growth: 8,593%
After graduating from UCLA, David Tam was prepping for law school when a part-time job with an online ad agency changed his plan. Today, he wears many hats as CEO of RateSpecial, an interactive advertising and marketing agency. Tam is motivated by being able to introduce companies to new online marketing strategies. "We are always learning because we want to know more than the companies we represent," says Tam. "It never gets boring."