PhillyInc: Phila. holds its own with quick-growth firms

Posted: August 28, 2012

The Philadelphia region turned in a decent showing on the 2012 Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies, released last week.

With 17 companies on the list, the region tied with Boston and Miami for seventh among metro areas with the most Inc. 500 firms.

Ahead of that trio for fast-growing firms were Washington (54), New York City (40), Los Angeles (32), Chicago and San Francisco (both with 21) and Dallas (20).

Last year, the nine-county Philadelphia region placed 18 companies on the list, which ranks firms by three-year revenue growth rate.

Companies sporting four-digit growth rates tend to be start-ups, such as Center City's Leadnomics, which recorded a 6,429 percent increase in revenues between 2011 and 2008. Ranked by Inc. magazine at No. 26 nationally, the online marketing company generated 2011 revenue of $11.3 million with a workforce of 23.

But not all of the companies are necessarily small.

For example, New Penn Financial (No. 310), a Plymouth Meeting mortgage lender begun during the housing downturn in 2008, produced revenue of $47.6 million in 2011. Its head count reached 512 last year, exceeding the 500-employee cutoff the federal Small Business Administration uses to define what enterprises are "small."

Pacific Global (No. 318), based in the decidedly Atlantic region of Wilmington, employs 439 involved in the outsourcing of medical transcription, coding and billing for the health-care industry. Much of the work is done in India.

Another health-care company, Accolade, placed No. 33 nationally with a three-year growth rate of 5,866 percent. Founded in 2007, the Plymouth Meeting company helps large employers simplify their health plans. Sounds like a lot of work, and that probably explains why it hired 135 people between 2008 and 2011.

The local company with the smallest workforce to make the Inc. 500 was Macro Energy (No. 380), a Montgomeryville retrofitter of lighting systems to make them more energy-efficient. With just eight employees, the company generated $2.9 million in 2011 revenues.

Besides Leadnomics, the only other Philadelphia-area company to repeat on the Inc. 500 list was Mount Laurel-based Free For All (No. 316). Begun in 2007, the company develops and administers discount prescription plans and medical benefit plans. It may have a discount strategy, but it's produced rapid growth, with revenues increasing 1,187 percent between 2008 and 2011.

Contact Mike Armstrong

at 215-854-2980 or, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at

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