Aaron Patzer, Mint.com
No. 5 (2008)

"In October 2008, we launched support for investments and loans on Mint. After this point, you could see your complete net worth: all your assets, from 401(k)s to automobiles, plus all your debts, from credit cards to second mortgages to student loans.  As a result, Mint opened up to an older demographic with more sophisticated finances, along with better serving our core 20-40 demographic. Total users more than tripled since the financial crisis began, and now exceed 1.5 million. Revenues are up eightfold year-over-year. We've grown as a company to 33 people.   "In January, we launched an iPhone application, which quickly became No. 1 in the Finance category. In May, we launched a mini version of Mint on myYahoo! In August, we revamped budgeting so that people could see, very perceptually, how every day purchases would affect their longer-term savings.  The result from this last feature alone has been a big increase in our customer satisfaction score (92 percent now satisfied or extremely satisfied with using Mint, up from about 75 percent at launch).   "All of this growth and our rapid pace of development attracted Intuit, who paid $170 million to acquire Mint. They saw us as both the team and the product that could bring personal finance to millions more people, for free, and in a way that saves them money."

Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman, College Hunks Hauling
Junk No. 19 and No. 20 (2008)

"Our vision has always been to be a national business success, not a media success, but after being named in the Inc.com 30 Under 30, we've found it difficult to evade the spotlight. In the past year, we were named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalists, the company made it to No. 156 on the Inc. 500 list, and most recently, we appeared on the new ABC reality TV series, Shark Tank.

"But it's still all about business, not just show business. We started hauling junk in a beat-up cargo van four years ago and now have built the fastest-growing and largest U.S.-based junk-removal franchise opportunity. Our company has nearly doubled its size, and we now have a total of 24 junk removal franchises operating across the country. We never thought hauling trash out of a beat-up cargo van would lead us to prime-time television, but it's still all about realizing our vision of turning College Hunks Hauling Junk into a national household brand.

"As a result of the press, we've created Twitter (www.twitter.com/collegehunks) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/collegehunks) accounts to keep in touch with our brand ambassadors. This year, the focus of our company is "sustainable hauling practices," and we've implemented our new slogan, "Making Green Look Good," by forming a partnership with a national organization called iReuse, which allows us to monitor the percentage of items that are donated or recycled and diverted away from landfills.

"Our core values as a company are building leaders, always branding, delighting clients, creating a fun company culture, and serving the environment and community."

Chaim Indig and Evan Roberts, Phreesia
No. 6 and No. 7 (2008)

"Phreesia has grown considerably since Inc. last featured us. We've expanded our clinician network to all 50 states, and doubled our workforce. Almost 2 million patients have checked-in on Phreesia -- a number that continues to grow exponentially. Phreesia raised $11.6 million in Series C funding in February with a new investment from BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners and Sandbox Industries, bringing our total investment to $25 million. We've also introduced several exciting new features to further save our practices time and money, and help them provide the best quality of care.

"Practices have responded especially well to our Automated Point-of-Care Eligibility and Benefits Verification, which helps them determine a patient's co-pay, coinsurance and deductible in real-time. This saves practice staff from having to spend time on the phone with payers and reduces insurance claim denials due to patient ineligibility.

"Soon practices will even be able to collect a patient's co-pay directly through the PhreesiaPad, via the card-swipe reader. Our plans for the future involve doing what we do best -- improving the way patients check-in at the clinician's office."

Jacquelyn Tran, Beauty Encounter (formerly Perfume Bay)
No. 4 (2006)

"When I look back on the last three years, I am amazed by the adversity we've faced, the changes that have taken place, and the goals we've accomplished -- it would make a great screenplay!

"In 2007, we changed our name from Perfume Bay to Beauty Encounter and gave our website a major facelift. This was a large investment that is continuing to pay off, even during these trying economic times. We've also added new members to our team in the customer service, IT, operations and marketing departments. Each new person brings tremendous talent and a shared passion for the beauty and e-commerce industry. "Our marketing team has led us fearlessly into the social media world, which has been a fun adventure. The team is also working closely with the IT department to make further enhancements to our website functionality, look, and feel. We're also working hard to improve our customer service and deliver the best possible experience to each and every customer. We want to be known for our great product selection and customer service.

If that's not enough, we recently moved into a new warehouse, adding some much needed space for our company to grow.

"Our sales are up to $18.8 million from $9 million in 2006 and as I look to 2010, I am excited for the future of Beauty Encounter. We want to become the ultimate beauty destination online, and with each day that passes I feel us getting closer to this goal."

Noah Lehmann-Haupt, Gotham Dream Cars
No. 25 (2008)

 

"What a wild year! Thankfully, my company Gotham Dream Cars is still going strong, despite the Great Recession. This may come as a surprise, considering the market we're in -- renting luxury and exotic vehicles for people to play with -- but the fact is, things haven't been nearly as bad as they could (or should) have been. We won't be seeing any growth this year, but we'll still turn a profit and the lessons we've learned as a company have brought our team closer and made us a smarter, leaner, and more efficient business.

 

"We've seen a dramatic shift in our customer base. Many of the typical clients who used to rent (i.e. mortgage brokers, Wall Streeters, etc.) have vanished. But in their places, we've gained a whole new client base in a variety of industries relevant in 2009, such as debt collectors and discount retailers. We've learned an interesting lesson: There is always someone doing well, no matter what the economic conditions, and they still want to celebrate with a drive in a sports car.

 

"There's also been a shift toward customers who previously would have taken their $200,000 bonus check straight to the Ferrari dealership but now are bringing their $2,000 bonus check to us for a weekend spin. Less commitment, same adrenaline rush.

 

"We are taking advantage of some of the weaknesses in the market to make some expansion moves. We've picked up some new cars at nearly 50 percent of their original costs, and the slow real estate market has allowed us to move our headquarters to a newer, cleaner, and dramatically better facility for no additional cost. Those have been huge morale boosters.

 

"Personally, I've learned a ton about stress management (exercise, exercise, more exercise, and perhaps a glass of wine with dinner). So whatever I've lost in stomach ulcers, I've gained in a healthier heart. We're not out of the woods yet, but it's definitely looking brighter than last year. Here's to an even brighter 2010 for everyone."

Nick Kenner, Just Salad
No. 24 (2007)

"Over the last two years, Just Salad has gone through an amazing transformation. In 2006, we had two units in Manhattan generating over $3 million. Over the next year we expect revenue to reach over $10 million, as Just Salad now has five locations in New York City and two locations in Hong Kong.

"As unit economics have improved over the past two years, so has the brand. Last year, Just Salad launched its new website, JustSalad.com, which supplies customers with a nutritional calculator, allowing them to build and analyze the nutritional breakdown of all different types of salad combinations. The website also features a custom online ordering platform, as well as Just Salad's popular new loyalty card program that enables customers to receive 5 to 10 percent discounts every time they use their VIP card.

"In addition to its website, Just Salad continues to be a leader and innovator among quick-serve restaurants by finding new ways to be environmentally conscious. We now offer reusable bags to accompany the reusable salad bowls, and we offer customers two free toppings each time they bring back and reuse their bowls. Just Salad will also introduce biodegradable plastic bags and hopes to eliminate the use of all virgin plastic items in stores by the third quarter of 2010.

"Just Salad's chef and registered dietician, Laura Pensiero, recently published a book for Harper Collins called Hudson Valley Mediterranean. Chef Laura has been active over the past two years evolving the Just Salad menu by adding and all-natural chicken to all U.S. locations, as well as turkey bacon, sesame grilled tofu, reduced-fat cheeses and many other unique quality items.

"Just Salad continues to stay aggressive with expansion, in hopes of providing more people with healthy, quick, great tasting food."

Kelvin and Samanta Joseph, Samanta Shoes
No. 25 and No. 26 (2006)

"In this economy, it is important to become specialized. Samanta now creates a life-changing experience for women who have trouble finding stylish shoes with comfort in their size. In addition to traditional sizes, Samanta offers large-size women's shoes in sizes 11, 12, 13, 14, and wide-width sizes. The collection is handcrafted in Brazil and retails at $125-$195 for shoes, and $250-$350 for boots. Becoming specialized helped us close deals with billion-dollar retailers like Amazon and Zappos.

"Samanta shoes can now be spotted on trendsetters like Tyra Banks, Debra Messing, Wendy Williams, Sanaa Lathan, Geena Davis, Sophia Bush, Queen Latifah, Rachel Bilson, and Rihanna. The company has also enjoyed a favorable response from the media, registering on the radars of the Oprah Magazine, the Today show, People, Marie Claire, Health, Lucky, InStyle, Essence, Latina, Black Enterprise, WSA Today, Footwear News, and Footwear Plus."

Geoff Wilson, 352 Media Group
No. 22 (2006)

"352 Media Group is still going strong! We made the Inc. 5000 list for the third straight year this year! We continue to specialize in custom Web design and development. We design websites for a vast array of clients, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. This year has been a little more rocky than normal due to the economy -- several of our larger clients drastically cut their interactive media budgets, which meant less work for us. But we also had some great new Web start-up ventures come along and ask us to develop sites for them which helped to fill the void. "One notable Web start-up that we developed this year is CampPete.com -- USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll's Online Football World for Kids. It's an online 'virtual world' for kids with football videos, games, and healthy lessons inside. Picture a place where footballs fly through air in the 'Special Teams Jungle' and spaceships blast off to the 'Penalty Planet.' It's a lot of fun and free to play for kids of all ages. So, overall, things are going great! As the economy picks back up, we hope to get back into growth mode and we hope to make the Inc. 5000 list again and again!"

Mark Spencer, Digium
No. 17 (2006)

"Since being featured in on the 30 under 30 list, Digium has grown quite a bit. We've become connected to some of the larger telecom companies, announcing major partnerships and products such as our recent 'Skype for Asterisk' software.

"We're seeing growing excitement in Asterisk, Digium's open-source telephony software, as open source has become mainstream. Asterisk was downloaded 1.5 million times in 2008 -- more than any other year in the company's history and an impressive 50 percent higher than in 2007. Despite the recession, we saw growth from Q1 to Q2 and anticipate continued growth in Q3, and our employee count is up from 50 to 134.

"In 2007, Digium welcomed Danny Windham, former president, chief operating officer and director of ADTRAN, as our new CEO. Having Danny on board has allowed me to focus on technology and some of my other interests in my new role as chief technology officer. At first, I had some concerns that I might miss being CEO, but I haven't even looked back.

"Much like Mark Smith, ADTRAN's co-founder, was my mentor, young entrepreneurs are now asking my opinion about their businesses as my own success has grown. To be on the other side is incredibly rewarding. I'm seeing more people my age and younger succeeding. It's great to see more entrepreneurship out there."

Josh Kowitt and Scott Neuberger, Collegeboxes
No. 23 and No. 24 (2006)

Kowitt: "Scott and I sold Collegeboxes to Store-to-Door, a national mobile self-storage company in 2008. I stayed on for six months and Scott stayed on for a year. Since then, Scott has moved with his wife to California and is the president of Infocore. Infocore specializes in targeted marketing and direct mailing.  I moved to Philadelphia and am pursuing my MBA at Wharton."

Neuberger: "Between 2006 and 2008, Collegeboxes continued to grow. In 2008, we served over 8,000 customers at 60 universities around the country. Though we don't disclose the financial details of the sale, it was more than $1 million. I was recruited to be the president of Infocore in January 2009 and my mission here is to grow the company by identifying new technologies and ideas that add value to our clients' marketing campaigns."

James Messina, Messina Wildlife Management
No. 16 (2006)

"2009 has been a record year for Messina Wildlife Management! With the economic downturn transforming Americans' spending habits, more and more people are gravitating towards beautifying their homes, making the most of their property and in many cases, learning how to garden. What they may not realize is that their seemingly insignificant seed purchase for their vegetable garden may lead to thousands in dollars spent developing their new hobby! To plant the seed, you need good soil, which means fertilizers, watering products, dirt, pots, tools, etc. And if a garden pest or neighborhood animal should come along at the end of all this hard work and eat or ruin all of your hard work, it could be a disaster. So, our products have enjoyed national attention to help our established customers as well as this new customer pool. "We started the year acquiring one of our competitor's brands and integrating their products into our catalog.  As a result, we recouped the cost of that acquisition within 1 week due to our distribution network jumping at the chance to work with us.   "Our products have also been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens, and on ABC, NBC and CBS morning shows. On top of that, Messina Wildlife kicked off the Better Homes & Gardens new website as the official sponsor, giving away a brand new Toyota Prius to one lucky winner in Pennsylvania. Entries for the contest topped 1.2 million. "Our brand is growing by leaps and bounds, and our company is becoming a force in the lawn and garden market with Lowe's, Sears Hardware, Home Depot and other national retailers all offering our products to their customers. We already eclipsed all of 2008 by June 24 of this year, and we are on pace to double again in 2010!"

Michael Hyacinthe, Urban Liberty
No. 28 (2006)

"Urban Liberty has continued to maintain its No. 1 focus as the primary e-commerce retailer to the military community. Our partnership with Army & Air Force Exchange Service has continued to grow via their program Exchange Online Mall. This partnership gives us direct marketability and accessibility to millions of military families worldwide and gives us exclusive benefits over our competitors. 

"We continue to try and outcompete our competitors by offering military discounts, different payment methods, and employing veterans and spouses as sales reps on the bases. Due to the hard economic times, Urban Liberty has focused on different channels to diversify our company portfolio. We are currently working with American Apparel to make the American Apparel brand more accessible to the military and a potential U.S. Army licensing agreement is in the works. The goal is to make the current military P.T. uniform more eco-friendly and manufactured in the United States. 

We are also working with TVGOODS.COM to reach out to the military community. The last and most personal diversity opportunity is the creation of the Urban Liberty clothing brand. The Urban Liberty logo was created by an American soldier deployed in Iraq. It is a clothing brand inspired by the sacrifices made by American soldiers. The concept of this brand is similar to the very successful Join Red campaign, but benefits would support American soldiers returning home from our many conflicts around the world. 

"Urban Liberty continues to grow as a grassroots company that creates different partnerships in order to become a global brand.  It has been an extremely tough year for the American economy and we to have had some setbacks and hardships, but as an entrepreneur, I have learned that the American hustler fears no defeats and continues to progress."

Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, Box.net
No. 8 and No. 9 (2008)

"The past 12 months have been very exciting for Box.net. When we started this company, our mission was to build a service that makes it easy for people to manage, share and access their content from anywhere. Along the way, more and more businesses told us that they wanted a Box that was built for their needs, without sacrificing the simplicity and ease-of-use that put us on the map. We committed ourselves to making Box.net the best solution for businesses and it has paid off tremendously.

"Building on the momentum of an all-new Box we launched this year, we have nearly doubled our customer base, which now consists of 3 million users and 50,000 businesses like P&G, Nike, MTV, and Intel. Traffic to Box has doubled as well. We expanded our service offering with a number of partnerships and integrations with Dell, Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, FedEx, Intuit and others. We also invested in great people to take Box to the next level, hiring talent from companies like Google, Apple, Cisco, Yahoo and PayPal. Because of these efforts, Box.net's revenue has grown 300 percent, which is even more remarkable in these still-challenging times.

"The multibillion-dollar mobile space presents another huge opportunity for us. We just announced a new initiative called OpenBox Mobile, which will help iPhone and other mobile app developers integrate Box.net into their applications, making mobile content instantly accessible and sharable to other platforms, services and people. We think it's a game-changer and can't wait to see where it goes.

More and more businesses see Box as the right alternative to expensive and complicated offerings like Microsoft SharePoint. We will continue to expand our development, sales, marketing and operations teams to meet this demand and hopefully make the coming year our best ever."

Rob Van Etten, Brighton Cromwell
No. 15 (2008)

"Despite the economic downturn, Brighton Cromwell has done extremely well. We finished 2008 at over $16 million. We are on target to do $22 million in 2009 and have increased our staff to 40 employees. We are growing up as a company and we realize that in order to reach our goal to become a $100 million business, we must focus on our own internal processes and procedures. We must have the processes and procedures of a large business, but still have the flexibility of a small business. Our culture continues to focus on continuous improvement, systems efficiencies, and operational excellence. We want to be the Google of the defense industry and we working to develop our proprietary systems to get us there. We are very excited about our future as a company and our looking forward to growing up as a company."

Claire Chambers, Journelle
No. 10 2008

"To some extent, every entrepreneur must have the confidence (or naïveté) to believe that his or her business will survive no matter what, and I am no exception. I built Journelle, a multi-brand lingerie retailer, with a strong understanding of the market, the opportunity and the business model, and so when the economy started to head south, I focused on making the most of the opportunities a recession would bring, rather than worrying about the risks we would face. "The challenging economic environment was good for Journelle -- first and foremost because it reversed the cost structures that the boom years had put in place. It caused some of our weaker competitors to go out of business, allowed us to negotiate better terms with our suppliers, and let us sign leases in places we previously couldn't afford. We open our second store this winter and our same-store sales are already up 25 percent for the year. "Equally importantly, the recession required us to really focus on our ultimate business goal. With our angel investors backing out and credit sources drying up, our growth plans were delayed, and so we had no choice but to hunker down to selling lingerie, and selling it better than anyone else. It may take longer for us to grow, but we're positioned even better for growth now."

Brendan and John Ready, Catch a Piece of Maine
No. 3 and No. 4 (2008)

"Over the past 12 months, Catch a Piece of Maine has experienced steady growth, toppling projected sales goals and increasing our customer base. We have invested heavily in researching the changing buying behaviors of consumers due to economic conditions we are faced with today. We have expanded our employee base by 100 percent in the areas of sales/marketing and customer service. We've taken big steps in reshaping our sales and marketing plans by adjusting to the challenges that all businesses have faced over the past year.  

"We began our business with the innovative idea of selling the ownership of a Maine lobster trap and its catch for an entire year. Although this remains a huge part of our business, to grow and attract a much larger customer pool, we have expanded our products, offering customers the ability to buy one-time, custom, lobster dinners still direct from their personal lobstermen. We've introduced new products with an emphasis on lower price points as well as value added items beginning at $59.

"From the beginning, our trademark has been our customer service, and this has remained unchanged. Customers who order from us return because of the quality of the product and the care they receive with each order. This has resulted in an 80 percent customer return rate, virally growing our venture through customer referrals. Due to the success we have experienced over the past 12 months, we have outgrown our facility and are in the midst of relocating to a much larger state of the art building in preparation for future growth and expansion.

"Our community-based, direct to consumer model has served as an inspiration in the Maine lobster industry and throughout the country, and we are proud to be the leader in this movement."

Nicolas Thomley, Pinnacle Services
No. 7 (2006)

"Pinnacle Services continues to grow and has been named to the Inc. 5000 for three consecutive years. We have diversified our service offerings, which has allowed us to expand into new markets.  We are doing more work with health plans and long-term insurance carriers than we ever have. We have also continued to focus on the quality of our services, which is evident as we received our second consecutive three-year accreditation from CARF International.  

"In 2008, we moved our corporate headquarters and increased our office space twofold to support future growth. We anticipate that our new headquarters will be LEED Gold certified this fall. We have also worked to make the culture at our organization a top priority. We really want to build a great place to work. A few of the things we have done at our new headquarters to promote the fun include having a foam pit you can jump in to from the second story, a Velcro wall, swings, arcade games, workout facility, and an office dog named 'Biggie Smalls.' 

"We will continue to work on the culture of the organization and continue to build a great place to work. Culture is becoming even more critical as we are rapidly approaching 500 employees, up from 25 in 2006, and have added approximately 50 new positions during the economic downturn. This summer, we made our first acquisition, which has fueled our growth in 2009. We are positioning our organization to make future acquisitions and to support continued organic growth.  We expect 2010 to be another great year!"

Sean Belnick, BizChair.com,
No. 2 (2007)

"BizChair.com continues to thrive and expand even in the current economic and business environment. As our company has grown over the last few years, we have focused on expanding our stocked product assortment and forming strategic partnerships with various retailers to help boost incremental revenue and product distribution.

"In addition to implementing various technologies to help streamline processes, BizChair has used numerous incentive programs with employees to better align interests. These programs have proved invaluable and have helped reduce call abandonment while increasing phone sales. We've also launched the first of many niche 'micro sites' that focus on specific categories of product. These sites provide better product insight for customers as well as focus on selling the specific category of product to the customer with more relevant information.

"Revenue has expanded to $42 million in 2008 and is on track for $48 million in 2009. BizChair.com now has over 110 employees and continues to grow."

Bo Menkiti, The Menkiti Group,
No. 3 (2007)

"The Menkiti Group has continued to grow (about 50 percent since 2007) and expand our impact on communities in this economic recession. We have taken advantage of a return to fundamentals in the real estate market, and as other development companies and real estate brokerages have closed their doors, new growth opportunities in our residential brokerage and development business have opened up.

"Through our Keller Williams Brokerage franchise, we have been able to continue to grow organically as our brand takes hold. The brokerage now has over 120 agents and recently opened a second office. The brokerage recently became the No. 1 residential Real Estate operations on Capitol Hill and was named to RIS Media's 2009 list of fast-growing companies to watch in America.

"In our sales business, we have been able to shift with the market, deepening our work with first time homebuyers and expanding our work with move-up luxury homebuyers. Our sales team has now sold over $100 million in residential real estate in the past four years.

"In our development business, we have adjusted to the challenging times by generating more fee-for-service revenue through our advisory services arm, and moving quickly to purchase and renovate inventory of foreclosed and bank-owned properties for the growing pool of first time home buyers. We've also sharpened our focus on workforce housing through our foreclosure initiative and our work with City First Homes on a condo project, as well as taking advantage of opportunities to partner with other developers on large-scale mixed-use projects.

"We have also continued to receive national recognition for our work. We have been interviewed on Tavis Smiley, and I have had the honor of serving with a number of the country's leading academics, mayors, governors, and social entrepreneurs on the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government's executive session on 'Transforming Cities Through Civic Entrepreneurship.'

David Levich, Icedoutgear.com
No. 16 (2007)

 

"This recession has proven to be a tough sea to navigate, but we are rolling along. In 2007, we decided that we needed to restructure our company to capitalize on our strengths and to keep from spreading ourselves too thin. We had two major strengths: our Web dominance, and our strong manufacturing/quality control in Asia.

 

"We winded down the promotional industry business, and concentrated on our retail online business model, as well as our wholesale business model. Our goal was to pick up large clients, such as Hot Topic, Spencer Gifts, and Target. But due to the weak retail environment, we had to hedge our retail business and build a stronger wholesale business with an emphasis on the market that will spend most money during a recession.

 

"We concentrated on the 9- to 23-year-old age demographic, realizing that even in a recession, they will still be inclined to spend the most. We realized that in order to do this, we had to either build our own brand, or start manufacturing private label or licensed goods.

 

"We took out loans and started to build our portfolio of licenses. We are creating items for Family Guy, Cadillac, Insane Clown Posse, Pink Panther, and many others. Some of our categories of products include fashion sunglasses, jewelry, scarves, and headwear. Due to this and other improvements, we have capitalized from the slow economy and are forecasting a record year in sales and profitability."

Rahim Fazal, Involver
No. 29 (2008)

"Involver has grown tremendously in the last year. Customer demand has soared, and our marketing platform for social networks is now serving millions of pieces of rich content and multimedia every month. We know that we've established a unique footing in the digital marketing world, as more and more companies realize the value of identifying and engaging massive (and largely untapped) audiences on sites like Facebook.

"When Inc. profiled Involver last September, we were busy building custom video marketing campaigns for brands like Puma and Nissan. Since then, we've expanded our technology platform significantly: in late April 2009, Involver launched a huge suite of brandable apps for Facebook pages, which includes the Twitter, YouTube, poll, quiz, and coupon apps in addition to more than a dozen others.

"Less than five months after this launch, Involver's Facebook marketing suite has already attracted tens of thousands of customers. We're happy to say that the Involver family is as diverse as it is large: Britney Spears (2.2+ million Page fans) is a member, but so are Us Weekly (250,000+ Page fans) and the industry-leading P&G brand. We think that this great across-the-board response is due, in part, to Involver's unique combination of technology and services: on top of our Facebook applications, we offer comprehensive analytics, end-to-end account management, guaranteed fan page growth, and more.

"What's next for us? As far as our bottom line goes, we're now profitable. We want to keep the momentum going, and we certainly need to keep up with demand, so we're looking to add some rock stars to our San Francisco-based team. We welcome anyone to get in touch!"

Katie Kerrigan, Kathryn Kerrigan
No. 5 (2007)

"Since being featured in 2007, Kathryn Kerrigam, has grown into an international brand, developed a cult-like following, and increased market share. Sales on the company's website, KathrynKerrigan.com, have jumped 350 percent in Q1 and 325 percent in Q2 of 2009, as compared with same quarters of 2008. International Web sales have increased by 400 percent overall and is now a substantial part of the business, with many orders being delivered to small countries like Dubai, Serbia, and Croatia.

"We are also experiencing positive growth with retail locations. In October, the first store to operate outside of the U.S. will be opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The year 2010 will bring additional Canadian stores, as well as more stores throughout the U.S. Wholesale distribution has also increased, and now Kathryn's shoes can be found on Endless.com, a fashion-savvy subsidiary of Amazon.

"With the strong increase in sales, we have been able to develop new styles in new colors. In the fashion world, it doesn't get any better than seeing our shoes being gracefully walked down the runway during New York Fashion Week in February 2009. In addition, many national magazines and television shows have followed suit by publishing stories about our collection of shoes.

"We continue to raise eyebrows with each season's launch of beautiful, comfortable, classy shoes and boots for tall women."

Brian Taylor, Kernel Season's
No. 13 (2007)

"Kernel Season's popcorn seasoning has continued to 'pop' over the past few years with sales revenue growing at about 50 percent each year. Over 70 percent of grocery stores and 60 percent of movie theatres in the United States now carry our products.

"Flavors have grown too. White cheddar, nacho cheddar, and butter are still the top selling popcorn flavors, but we have added chile lime, salt & vinegar, and dill pickle to the mix. Kernel Season's also launched three new popcorn products, including a one-pound pouch of raw popping corn, movie theatre butter-flavored Popping and Topping Oil and a 'popcorn spritzer.' The spritzer adds natural butter flavor to popcorn and helps our seasonings stick. We believe these products will help consumers enjoy our core products even more.

"For the first time ever, Kernel Season's will be advertising on television. Our commercials will begin airing this fall in various markets across the country. We believe that there are still a lot of popcorn lovers that need to discover Kernel Season's. This is an exciting opportunity to take the brand to the next level.

"Kernel Season's now has over 50 employees. We operate three production lines at our company headquarters in Elk Grove Village, Ill. Our distribution has expanded internationally to over 30 countries including Canada, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Philippines, Jordan, and Israel.

"Over the next few years, we look forward to continuing to grow the Kernel Season's brand. We are also excited to launch new products and discover totally new product categories."

Hayden Hamilton, GreenPrint
No. 26 (2007)

"The last two years have been an incredibly exciting time at GreenPrint. We have grown geometrically both in terms of sales and staff, and have been lucky enough to bring on board some remarkably talented people.

"This summer we launched v2, or version 2, which has been entirely redesigned with large organizations in mind and offers a whole host of new cost-saving and print management functionality. The new version allows the average user to save $100 per year in printing costs, and in some cases we've saved companies as much as $860 per user per year (an ROI of 13 days), as well as providing a quantifiable environmental savings. We have a long list of Fortune 500 clients who have been waiting to roll out the new version and we closed a 50,000 license deal with one of the largest companies in Asia before the product had even gone to market. We also expanded our OEM licensing partnership with Xerox to provide unlimited licenses to their entire line of eco-friendly Xerox Solid Ink printers.

"Our new version of GreenPrint World is downloaded by more than 1,000 people a day, and we continue to get outstanding media coverage in everything from local blogs to a recent profile in The New York Times. We expect to sustain our exponential growth over the next few years both nationally and internationally (v2 has already been localized into 21 languages), with home users as well as the largest multinational corporations -- a very exciting road ahead."

Miles Munz and Randy Bitting, InterviewStream
No. 14 and No. 15 (2007)

"InterviewStream is on track to maintain our early role as an industry innovator and to continue to set the market pace for cost-effective and climate-friendly recruiting best practices.     "In fact, since being included on the 30 Under 30 list in 2007, we have also been featured by two of our local papers as market trailblazers: The Philadelphia Business Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer. We have since expanded our product offerings to include employer 'Green Interviews,' video practice interviews, virtual career fairs, and online roleplay sales training. We also launched GreenInterview.com, a Web-based interviewing service for employers, which allows them to screen candidates online along with tracking travel costs, mileage, and CO2 emissions saved using an online 'green calculator'. This product was also featured in Inc. in April 2009 as well as The Wall Street Journal in May 2009. With marquee customers in place, core products available for sale and a right-sized operating structure, InterviewStream is focused on additional growth in the employer, outplacement, and university markets.   "Finally, the tremendous wave of online video adoption in the workplace and the fact that online video interviews and roleplays have become best practice among organizations is proof that, since our launch in 2004, InterviewStream has changed the way companies recruit and how candidates interview -- all while driving costs down for clients via the digital interviewing marketplace."

Scott Hill, CIK Enterprises
No. 18 (2006)

"We have 44 employees and our revenue will be right around $20 million this year. Due to falling revenue from our automotive division, Tri-Auto, the past two years have involved scaling back expenses, but at the same preparing for future success. We have developed a new technology and software called MarketVision that allows us to effectively measure foot-traffic response from all forms of advertising. You can't improve something unless you can measure it, and most retail establishments are dependent upon their advertising producing foot traffic into their store, which has always been difficult to easily measure and compare. We have been working on this for three years and it has been a big part of keeping Tri-Auto alive during these difficult times. By introducing MarketVision into our automotive advertising, we were able to almost triple response and increase the ROI for our dealer clients. We are now in the process of moving MarketVision into new retail categories beginning with the furniture industry."

Published on: Oct 1, 2009