Inc. 500: Gotta Love These Companies

7 of 10

It's developing trippy color change technology.

Performance Indicator
Lowell, Mass.

No. 231
2011 Revenue: $2.5 million
Three-Year Growth: 1,555.4%

When Daniel Smith took over Performance Indicator in January 2011, the research and development firm was languishing. Housed in a 200-year-old cotton mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, the firm had yet to create a commercially-successful product. “They were inventing lots of cool stuff but they had no one to take it to market,” Smith says. Now, Smith is focused on building products with real-world applications, like golf balls that change color when waterlogged and counterfeit-proof casino chips. Performance Indicator is also working closely with the military, t build a Kevlar vest that changes color when its tensile strength is compromised. “I come from a long background in the defense industry,” Smith says. “I’ve seen classified and unclassified technology that most people will never see in their lifetime. But I have yet to see anything so fascinating as this.”