Successful companies exist across the U.S. However, some states have a greater concentration of them. Thanks to talent pipelines and proximity to bustling metropolises, this year's Inc. 5000--that is, a tally of the nation's fastest-growing private companies--chose their home bases wisely.
This Buckeye State boasts five major cities and a powerful talent pipeline with Ohio State, the third-largest university in America, and technical powerhouse Case Western. The state's top company is "ruff" to beat: No. 39 Trupet sells dog treats and booked more than $8.5 million in 2017 revenue.
9. New Jersey
Everyone loves an underdog. New Jersey is the only state on this list that didn't make it to the top 10 last year, climbing from No. 11 on Inc.'s 2017 list. New Jersey is the home to Fortune 500 companies such as Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Prudential Financial. It also boasts proximity to New York City and Philadelphia. Metuchen-based Momentum Solar claimed No. 58 on the Inc. 5000 with a growth rate of 4,617 percent and more than $107 million in 2017 revenue
The Keystone State is home to 179 of this year's Inc. 5000. This isn't surprising given the status of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh enjoy as growing entrepreneurship centers and the plethora of talent pipelines, notably UPenn's Wharton School and Penn State (the No. 2 school for CEOs). Businesses to watch include the Pittsburgh's Pantherx Speciality Pharmacy (No. 49) and NEU (No. 85), a Philadelphia company that sells branded products.
The Peach State is a pretty safe pick if you want to start a business. This Southern seat of innovation hosts 217 Inc. 5000 companies. The state's capital is particularly vibrant: Atlanta is the No. 4 city for fastest-growing companies and was ranked one of the most enterprising cities in America. Aeronux Airways, a private jet broker, is the state's fastest-growing company and No. 6 in the nation, capitalizing on Georgia's aviation prowess.
In the Prairie State, entrepreneurs can find an open field for success--just ask the 240 Inc. 5000 companies who call this Midwest state home. Chicago has long been a startup hub--boosted by its diverse economy, plentiful VC funding, and plethora of tech talent. In fact, the Windy City is home to two of the top 10 fastest-growing private companies in America: meal-kit service Home Chef and staffing company GForce Life Sciences.
Home to 298 Inc. 5000 companies, the state boasts proximity to the nation's capital, which explains why Virginia's top five companies are in the government services industry. The talent pipeline is also strong: Virginia is one of the 10 most educated states in the U.S. and boasts several top-tier public universities.
4. New York
The Empire State hosts 314 Inc. 5000 companies, and New York City is the metropolis with the most fast-growing companies. The proximity to giants in the financial, media, and advertising industries helps startups gain access to capital and clients. New York's No. 1 startup is NYC-based Thinx, which makes absorbent underwear for women, and is emblematic of the city's boundary-breaking nature.
Not only is it on WalletHub's top 10 best states to start a business, the Sunshine State also boasts 370 Inc. 5000 companies. The state's lack of an income tax, its low cost of living, and its diversity have made it a hub of entrepreneurship, especially in the South Florida region. Just ask Boca Raton-based reCommerce, which helps businesses optimize their Amazon presence. It grew 4,546 percent from 2014 to 2017, making it No. 61 on the list of fastest-growing private businesses in America.
Everything's bigger in Texas, and growth is no exception. With cities such as Dallas, Houston, and Austin, the Lone Start state boasts 421 Inc. 5000 companies. Notable companies include the Irving-based Monkedia--which provides social media marketing services for major brands including Disney and Nissan--and energy company Case Energy Partners.
California dominates the competition for most Inc. 5000 companies: the Golden State is home to 743 fast-growing companies, 322 ahead of the runner up. California's large population and dominance in venture capital make it an ideal place to startup. While Silicon Valley is the quintessential hub of startup culture, this year, Los Angeles houses more Inc. 5000 companies. California standouts include shipping company Flexport and scientific testing marketplace, Scientist.com, which both cracked the top 10.