Charlotte, North Carolina is undoubtedly a major U.S. financial center. After all, the city is home to Bank of America and the east coast headquarters of Wells Fargo, among others. But big finance isn't the only industry brewing up top-notch talent in Charlotte: Just ask these Inc. 5000 companies, which represent varied sectors such as software, manufacturing, construction, and even travel and hospitality.
With its relatively low cost of living, Charlotte is fast becoming a hotbed of entrepreneurship. And by calculating annual revenue growth rates between fiscal years 2010 and 2013, Inc. determined the fastest growing, private companies in the city's metro area, which is home to 50 total companies on the list.
Meet the top 10, private businesses reigning in 'Queen City':
10. United Global Technologies
A two-time honoree on Inc.'s list of Top 100 Services Firms, United Global Technologies makes its fourth appearance on the Inc. 5000 this year at No. 1,524. Serving both small and large companies internationally, United Global offers a variety of technological services, including engineering, IT, and cyber security. The tenth fastest growing, private company in Charlotte, UGT grew its annual revenue by 280 percent over the last three years, bringing in $9.2 million in sales in 2013 alone. Founder and CEO Elizabeth Bernstein heads up the company today.
Founded in 2005, SnapAV--a manufacturer of custom audio/video products and accessories for electronics dealers and installers--ranks as No. 1,266 on the Inc. 5000 list. From 2010 to 2013, SnapAV grew its annual revenue by 340 percent, reeling in over $134 million last year. A five-time Inc. 5000 honoree, SnapAV is headed up by co-founder and CEO Craig Craze.
8. CCS Construction Staffing
This mere six-year-old company has charted major growth over the last three years: Increasing its annual revenue by more than 395 percent during that time, CCS Construction brought in $13 million in sales in 2013. A provider for contractors in the Southeast, CCS is the No. 20 fastest-growing Human Resources company on Inc.'s list and seventh in the Charlotte metro area. Under the leadership of CEO Matthew Telmanik, CCS clocks in at No. 1,118 on the Inc. 5000.
7. The Darton Group
The Charlotte-based Darton Group makes its second appearance on the Inc. 5000, this year at No. 832. A consulting firm specializing in finance, accounting and project management for retailers, health care and technology companies nationwide, the Darton Group reeled in $7.1 million in 2013, a 548 percent uptick from 2010, when it brought in $1.1 million in sales. Headed by co-founder and managing partner Rochelle Rivas, the Darton Group is certainly one to watch in 2015.
6. Oakmont Home Builders
One of the fastest growing construction companies in the Charlotte area, Oakmont Home Builders was acquired in September by Texas-based LGI Homes for roughly $15 million. Oakmont's business model: Building affordable, eco-friendly homes for its clients. Founded back in 1996, the company experienced breakneck growth between fiscal years 2010 and 2013, landing it onto the Inc. 5000 for the very first time at No. 746. Helmed by CEO Judson Stringfellow, Oakmont Homes grew its annual revenue by 611 percent during that time, reeling in nearly $30 million in 2013.
Led by CEO and serial entrepreneur Mike Feldman, T1Visions--a creator of large-format, interactive touchscreen tables, walls, and signage--is now among the fastest growing software companies in the Charlotte metro area. The tenth fastest growing company in North Carolina overall, T1 increased its annual revenue by more than 1,000 percent between 2010 and 2013, bringing in $2.4 million in sales last year. Founded just six years ago, T1 now makes its debut appearance on the Inc. 5000 at No. 456.
4. In-Flight Crew Connections
Aptly named, In-Flight Crew Connections is the only Travel and Hospitality company to make it onto the Charlotte short list for rapid growth, and it clocks in at No. 456 on the Inc. 5000-- its first appearance to date. A staffing firm providing aviation personnel to companies and individuals operating business class jets, In-Flight increased its annual revenue by 1,065 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2013. Under the leadership of CEO Jennifer Guthrie, this 12-year-old company brought in $9.7 million in sales last year.
3. Titan Electric Company
Titan Electric has seen arguably 'titanic' growth between fiscal years 2010 and 2013, increasing its annual revenue by more than 1,200 percent. An electrical contractor for commercial, residential and industrial projects in North and South Carolina, Titan Electric brought in $11 million in sales last year, under the leadership of CEO Josiah Boling. That makes Titan the third fastest growing company in Charlotte, as well as No. 390 on the Inc. 5000.
Formerly known as Saber Solutions, Cloudbilt is a software company that sells business applications. One of its top products is MapAnything, which enables mapping and real-time location services. With CEO and serial entrepreneur John Stewart at the helm, the company reeled in $4.1 million in sales last year, a near 2,000 percent uptick from 2010. Making its inaugural appearance on the Inc. 5000 this year, Cloudbilt is the second fastest growing company in Charlotte, clocking in at No. 227.
1. Boxman Studios
The fastest growing, private company in Charlotte is Boxman Studios, which--under the leadership of CEO David Campbell--repurposes shipping containers by turning them into sustainable environments. Its credits thus far include: A traveling convenience store for Red Bull, a hangout space for Google at the TED talks, and a pop-up retail store for Samsung, among others. The company has solidly earned its rank as No. 120 on the Inc. 5000, as well as sixth fastest growing products and services company overall: It increased its annual revenue by more than 3,000 percent between 2010 and 2013, bringing in $4.3 million last year alone.