Austin may be home to powerhouses like Dell and Whole Foods Market, but it hasn't traditionally been known as a tech hub. That all changed a few years ago, with the rise of the music, film, and interactive festival South by Southwest. Launched in 1987, the festival has since grown into an international scene--where companies go both to launch and to make major announcements. In many ways, the city itself can track its progress along with that of the must-attend affair.
This year, Austin--a.k.a. Silicon Hills--ranked fourth on Inc.'s top 10 cities list, with 87 Inc. 5000 companies. If you're looking for a warm place to incubate your startup, Austin can boast two natural resources that won't run dry anytime soon: a talent pool fed by the University of Texas and its business-friendly income-tax-free status.
The 2014 Inc. 5000 tracked company performance, including the three-year revenue growth rate, between fiscal years 2010 and 2013. Below, find out which companies in Austin grew their revenue the fastest.
10. Vital Farms
This three-time Inc. 5000 company produces pasture-raised, certified organic eggs and poultry. Vital Farms does not use antibiotics. It packages eggs in 100 percent recycled pulp cartons, and sells its farm-fresh goods to the likes of Whole Foods. Matt O'Hayer, who got into the egg business in 1968 by selling cartons door-to-door, founded Vital Farms in 2009 with 20 hens. Since then, the company grew its revenue by 818 percent to bring its bottom line from $1.9 million in 2010 to $17.2 million last year. Vital Farms ranks at number 584 this year; it ranked 85th in 2013 and 51st in 2012.
9. Lone Star Bloom
Thanks to services like 1-800-Flowers and FTD, the local florist is doomed. But Lone Star Bloom is using the floral downturn to its advantage by acquiring underperforming florists and using its scale to leverage better pricing from big suppliers. Founded in 2010, the company has grown its revenue by 869 percent to bring in $2.9 million last year. Ranked at number 553, Lone Star Bloom has added 36 jobs in the same three-year period.
8. American Eagle Protective Services
Co-founders Bredgitt and Dan Walker, former members of the Texas Department of Public Safety, decided to use their experience in law enforcement to form American Eagle Protective Services in 2002. The company provides contract services to the federal government ranging from armed security services to facility maintenance and management services. Ranked number 532 on the 2014 Inc. 5000, the company has created 1,250 jobs and grew its revenue by 892 percent in three years to make $55.7 million in government contracts last year. American Eagle ranked number 619 on the list in 2013 and number 1,322 in 2012.
7. Gossett Jones Homes
The construction firm Gossett Jones Homes builds custom single-family luxury houses and multifamily condos, duplexes, and townhouses based on energy-efficient construction. With a team of award-winning architects and interior designers, the company aims to help clients create homes that fit their lifestyle and budget. Co-founded by Jared Gossett and Matt Jones in 2010, the custom homebuilding firm made the 427th slot on the list. With a 1,109 percent three-year growth rate, the company made $9.3 million in revenue last year. Gossett Jones Homes also sits at number 17 in the top construction companies category.
Going to a dentist, let alone finding a good one, is tough for a lot of people. LocalSearchForDentists.com helps dental practices up their online search, advertising, and marketing game. Founder and CEO Graig Presti is helping teeth-pullers attract more patients through local-area search engine optimization, video marketing, reputation management, Google Adwords, and press release marketing. The niche internet marketing services business, which has helped more than 10,000 dentists, is booming. With a 1,324 percent three-year growth rate, the company made $2.3 million last year. Ranked at number 357, LocalSearchForDentists.com added 18 jobs over the period.
5. Kohana Coffee
Entrepreneur Victoria Lynden founded Kohana Coffee in 2006 with a mission to ensure that farmers get better compensated, help set up clean water sources in their communities, and give a percentage of Kohana's earnings to farmers for their towns and education. Meanwhile, the company offers liquid coffee concentrate, roasted single-source beans, and a ready-to-drink coffee in a can. With a 2,417 percent three-year growth rate, Kohana made $2.8 million in sales last year and ranks number 171 on the Inc. 5000. The company ranked 6th in the fastest-growing food and beverage companies category.
Job search engine company Jobs2Careers attracts 11 million job seekers a month to its website. Founded by former Oracle software engineer Bruce Ge in 2007, the platform was launched in 2010 and operates on a pay-per-application advertising solution. The company made this year's list at number 131, with a 2,830 percent three-year growth rate and pulling in $22.4 million in revenue in 2013. Jobs2Career.com also ranked 2nd in the Inc. 5000 top human resources companies category.
For brands with big mobile strategies, companies like Cisco, NBC Sports, Jawbone, and WWE trust Phunware. The company, founded by Alan Knitowski, Luan Dang, and Alan Michael Kane, calls itself a Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS) company, meaning it's a cloud-based platform that helps brands build their own mobile apps and engage, manage, and monetize users across mobile devices. With a 4,040 percent three-year revenue growth rate, Phunware reported 2013 sales of $22.1 million. Adding 120 jobs over the period, for a total of 131 employees last spring, the two-time Inc. 5000 company made the number 82 slot for this year's list. Just for good measure, the company is 7th on the Inc. 5000's top software companies category.
2. Main Street Hub
The marketing and advertising platform has helped thousands of local businesses engage customers on social media, help protect company reputations online, and helped increase sales. Main Street Hub will set up your Facebook and Twitter profiles, manage Yelp, LinkedIn, and Foursquare pages, create unique content for those platforms written in your company's voice, and keep track of and participate in the conversations and comments about your business online. Main Street Hub, with a 4,625 percent three-year growth rate, made $9.2 million in revenue in 2013. Founded in 2010, the company added more than 165 jobs since then and ranked number 73 on the Inc. 5000.
1. Simpler Trading
The fastest-growing private company in Austin facilitates a membership-based suite of websites that teach users how to trade stocks and options and invest in real estate. Simpler Trading, which also provides financial data and tools to help users make money, ranks at number 21 with a 10,523 percent three-year revenue growth rate and $11.3 million in 2013 revenue. The four-year-old company ranks number 2 across the Inc. 5000's top financial services companies and number one fastest-growing company in the entire state of Texas.