If you were to put the words "startups" and "California" in a list and asked for a city, most people would say San Francisco, or its nickname Silicon Valley. But you cannot brush off Los Angeles--the City of Angels when it comes to business.
Below are the top 10 fastest-growing, private companies in LA:
10. I.T. Source
Founded in 2002 by CEO Andy Kim, who was 19 years old at the time, I.T. Source started as a computer building and installation company. A few years after launch, the company's revenue started to decline but Kim's mother took charge and led the company to pivot its offerings and avoid failure. Instead of computers, the company sold credit card processing services to small businesses and brokering wholesale cellular minutes. Today, the company mainly provides IT infrastructure support provider that provides outsourced call center services, cloud-based hosting services and custom Web programming and graphic design services. It still operates a credit card processing unit called Unlimited Merchant Services.
With a three-year growth rate of 1,075 percent, the company, which reeled in $102.8 million in 2013, came in at number 444 on the Inc. 5000.
With its roots in the Midwest, Dope is a luxury streetwear company that makes a line of T-shirts, hats, sweats, jerseys, tanks, and accessories worn by the likes of hip-hop artists including Jay-Z, P. Diddy, and Wiz Khalifa.
Founder Matte Fields started the brand in 2007 while at Indiana University. He got his break when Lupe Fiasco bought one of Dope's t-shirts in a store in Michigan. The company's rep rose when Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz was arrested in New York City's LaGuardia Airport while trying to board a plane with one of Dope's four-finger rings in his bag. (It closely resembled brass knuckles.) The purchase hit the Internet, they opened a boutique in LA, and the rest is history.
Ranking at number 356 on the Inc. 5000, Dope's 2013 revenue ($5.4 million) grew 1,331 percent in the three-years ending in 2013.
8. Outdoor Tech
For the outdoor adventuring type, Outdoor Tech sells a line of mobile, wireless audio and electronics products for the active lifestyle. From a shock-proof and bass-bumping bluetooth-enabled speaker, Turtle Shell, to the Kodiak, a 6000 milliamp battery pack that will charge anything with a USB connection. The company also sponsors professional skateboarders, surfers, volleyball players, and even Parkour and base jumping athletes.
Founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Caro Krissman, the company's sales, which were $3 million in 2013, grew 1,419 percent in three years since. Outdoor Tech, also a 2014 Best in Class Design Awards finalist, clocked in at number 329 on the 2014 Inc. 5000.
Creative director and founder Melissa Coker, who grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, was a fashion editor and worked at Vogue and W magazines before launching her womenswear line in 2008. Today, Wren produces its women's clothing line and sells online and through retail stores worldwide. Coker's brand Wren has collaborated with Target, Minnetonka Moccasin and Clare Vivier. Wren made waves in the media for making First Kiss, a branded film where 20 strangers kissed on camera, which won the Grand Clio award in 2014 and was the most viewed branded fashion video of all time.
Coker's bragging rights don't stop there--actresses like Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron, and Reese Witherspoon wear Wren. Ranked at number 215 on the Inc. 5000, Wren's 2013 revenue of $5.2 million grew a whopping 2,092 percent in the three years prior. The company also landed the number 13 spot on Inc.'s top retail companies category.
6. Genzum Life Sciences
Genzum Life Sciences, with offices in New York City, Chicago, and headquartered in LA, develops and commercializes generic pharmaceutical drugs. The company conducts research and development, product selection and formulation, and stages clinical trials.
Founded in 2008, Genzum may still be relatively small with only 10 employees, but it has carved out a nice niche for itself in generic pharmaceuticals industry. Sitting at number 182 on the Inc. 5000, and ranking as the 18th fastest-growing company in the LA metro area, Genzum has a three-year revenue growth rate of 2,333 percent and brought in $8.6 million in 2013.
180Fusion is a search engine marketing company that uses local and national search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay per click services, and online reputation management. Founded in 2010, the company has been recognized by a Google AdWords case study for helping thousands of small- and medium-sized companies to large corporations increase sales, brand awareness, generate new leads, and expand market share.
Coming in at number 176 on the Inc. 5000, the company, which made $6.7 million in revenue in 2013, has a three-year growth rate of 2,379 percent. It has also grown its staff to 90, as of last Spring, up from five in 2010.
4. Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park
Founded in 2004, this franchise is all about having fun. With locations across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Mexico, its facilities are open for birthday parties, corporate events, and even for your 30-minute lunch break for an "open jump" session. Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park has patented it's all-trampoline--floors and walls--playing court. Patrons can jump for fun or exercise while doing flips, playing dodgeball, and even dunk a basketball.
On the Inc. 5000 at number 152, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park reported 2013 revenue of $88.2 million, which grew 2,571 percent in the three years ending in 2013. Sky Zone operates two affiliate-owned trampoline parks and the rest of the locations around the world are franchises.
The newly acquired AdColony provides a proprietary HD video advertising platform for mobile apps on iOS and Android devices. Backed by Insight Venture Partners, the mobile advertising and monetizatiion platform helps mobile publishers and advertisers reach an audience of 700 million consumers around the world.
Founded in 2008 under the name Jirbo, the company rebranded in 2011 under the AdColony name. That iteration ranks this year at number 114 on the Inc. 5000, up from number 444 in 2013. The mobile video ad company has a three-year revenue growth rate of 3,236 percent as it pulled in $52.8 million in 2013. The mobile ad company Opera purchased AdColony in June for $75 million in cash.
2. EcoSense Lighting
The advanced LED lighting system manufacturer serves architectural and commercial clients with their innovative lighting solutions. With clients as diverse as Tesla, Chipolte, Burberry, Harvard University, and Whole Foods, EcoSense Lighting was founded in 2008 and now has offices in the United Kingdom and China.
Ranking at number 59 on the Inc. 5000, EcoSense achieved a three-year revenue growth rate of 5,059 percent, grossing $15.4 million in 2013.
1. American Solar Direct
Founded in 2009 by CEO Brennan Mulcahy, American Solar Direct provides solar power-generation equipment to homeowners in California. The company will install solar panels on your roof in a range of customizable designs to help you lower your utility bill and start using a more environmentally- and cost-friendly source of electricity.
With a three-year revenue growth rate of 11,560 percent, American Solar Direct made $52.1 million in 2013. Ranked number 17 on the Inc. 5000, the company has added 411 jobs in three years--bringing its staff to 436.