San Antonio's biggest tourist attractions might be the historic Alamo Mission and the shops and dining on River Walk, but visitors should also know that this quickly growing city (population 1.5 million) is home to an impressive slate of fast-growing companies too.
Nineteen San Antonio-area businesses made it to this year's Inc. 5000--that is, Inc.'s annual tally of the fastest-growing, private companies in the country. (Inc. measures the speed of companies' revenue growth, spread out over three years.) Austin and Houston dominate the 2016 Inc. 5000 by hosting the most fast-growing companies in the state. But you shouldn't underestimate the Texas hub, which is also home to the 2016 Inc. 5000 conference. That main event kicks off on Tuesday, with a powerful list of speakers including business coach Tony Robbins and Shark Tank judge Robert Herjavec.
Need more proof? Here's a look at five of the brightest lone stars in San Antonio:
1. Silotech Group
2015 Revenue: $5.6 million
3-year growth: 367%
Silotech Group (No. 1,065), an IT services firm that offers training and system upgrades and integration, is the fastest growing company in San Antonio. Since 2012 when the staff was only five people, the company has hired 59 more employees and its revenue has grown 370 percent to nearly $6 million in 2015.
2. Alta Moda Salon
2015 Revenue: $2.9 million
3-year growth: 332%
Cynthia Garza founded Alta Moda Salon (No. 1,171)--now the second fastest growing company in San Antonio--in 2000. It brought in nearly $3 million in revenue in 2015, up from under $700,000 in 2012. Garza says the secret to success in a business like hers is the ability to adapt to change and continually develop the skills of her 15 employees. "I have to create an unfillable role," she says of managing a business in the crowded market of hair salons. To do this, Garza brings in top stylists from across the country for training events. In turn, she and her staff pass skills and tips along to clients to ensure they leave the salon feeling confident--and eager to come back.
3. Spirit Monkey
2015 Revenue: $3.8 million
3-year growth: 309%
Confidence and pride are a central part of Lisa deBonoPaula's businesses as well. Small embroidered patches made by her company Spirit Monkey are used by San Antonio schools as awards for students' good behavior. The third fastest growing business in the city and No. 1,249 on the 2016 Inc. 5000 was born from a 2011 mandate that schools were no longer allowed to use food as rewards. (Think, no more pizza parties or ice cream socials for kids on the honor roll.) DeBonoPaula, a PTA mom at the time, got the idea to make patches, similar to those her husband received in the military, to be used instead. Her first patches featured a coyote (the school's mascot). Today, 3,000 school across the country--as well as NASA, which orders the patches to adorn astronauts' jumpsuits--are customers. In 2015, Spirit Monkey's revenue reached nearly $4 million, up from less than $1 million in 2012.
4. Rock Solid Internet & Telephone
2015 Revenue: $4 million
3-year growth: 250%
The founder and CEO of telecom company Rock Solid Internet & Telephone (No. 1,515) Shane Mitchell travels 20 days each month while managing one of the fastest growing companies in America. When he founded the company in 2006, Mitchell was determined to have the ability to work from anywhere. Since the Rock Solid employs contract labor from Europe, Asia and a call center in Utah, the CEOs location is flexible. In 2015, Rock Solid's revenue hit $4 million from $1 million in 2012.
5. KFW Engineers & Surveying
2015 Revenue: $11.1 million
3-year growth: 200%
This 10-year-old engineering firm (No. 1,612) brought in $11 million in revenue in 2015, over 200 percent more than the $3.3 million three years prior. KFW Engineers & Surveying is run by friends and cofounders Steven Krauskopf, Craig Fletcher and George Weron, and employs 94 people--up from 39 in 2012.