Azavea (formerly Avencia)

Founded: 2000
Employees: 24
2009 revenue: $2.2 million

Azavea designs and develops GIS software for government, nonprofits, and universities.

Azavea employees are given 10 percent of their time to pursue independent research interests, a policy which is intended to let employees hone a wider variety of skills. The company also offers paid paternity leave, late-night meals for staff members burning the midnight oil, and the ability to purchase additional vacation days using their raises or bonuses.