Meet the 2016 Fast 50

Each year, we rank the fastest growing small businesses in the market, and this year's list shows the wide-ranging diversity of small businesses in the federal space.

From HUBZone to veteran-owned, the 2016 Washington Technology Fast 50 covers a wide-range of small businesses finding success in the federal market.

To qualify for consideration for the list, a company has to be in business at least five years as well as fall into one of the government’s small business categories. The rankings are based on revenue growth from 2011 through 2015.

The five-year growth rates range from 46.63 percent for the No. 50 company to a scorching 254.99 percent for the No. 1 company.

The companies represent the gamut of small businesses in the federal market, including HUBZone, service-disabled, veteran-owned, women-owned, 8(a), and just regular old small business with no socio-economic preference.

No. 1 on the 2016 rankings is FedBiz IT Solutions, a Leesburg, Va., company located in a HUBZone. HUBZones are historically underutilized business zones, and federal agencies are supposed to spend 3 percent of the prime contracting dollars with HUBZone business.

Unfortunately, the HUBZone goal is the toughest category for agencies to meet with only 1.8 percent of prime contracts going to these businesses in fiscal 2015, according to the Small Business Administration’s annual procurement scorecard.

The success of FedBiz IT Solutions and its five-year compound annual growth rate of 254.9 percent shows that HUBZone businesses are capable of delivering value to the government.

A key to the company’s success has been its strategy to pursue a wide range of contract vehicles and to standardize its procedures much the same way a large business does by becoming ISO 9001 certified.

“My strategy has always been: federal agencies buy from government contracts. So we will continuously go after new contracts to expand our business,” said Don Tiaga, president of FedBiz IT Solutions.

This is the second year in a row that a HUBZone company has led the Fast 50. Last year, n2grate of Greenbelt, Md., was the No. 1; this year, the company is ranked No. 2 with a five-year growth rate of 171.6 percent.

Besides the various small business categories represented on the Fast 50, the companies also represent a wide range of capabilities.

The companies are value-added resellers, consultants, professional services and IT services firms. Some of the projects they support include data centers, cybersecurity, training, data analytics and cloud computing. Many are trying to bring innovative solutions to their government customers.

For example, ApplyLogic Consulting Group (No. 26) has developed its own project management tool known as ApplyLogic Data Analytics Portfolio tool or ADAPT that tracks project budgeting, scheduling and project monitoring.

“In a day and age where the budgets are shrinking and the costs of labor is having to go down with the LPTA … we see some interest and activity in this particular proprietary tool we developed,” said Jeff Ramella, founder and company president.

Many of the companies on the list also hold spots on some of the largest task order contracts in the market such as NASA SEWP, DHS EAGLE II, Navy SeaPort-e and GSA OASIS.

There also is customer diversification across the rankings with a broad set of civilian and defense agencies.

Many are focused on just a few major customers, often near where they are headquartered, which is why you see companies based in Quantico and Stafford, Va., and Mount Pleasant, S.C., all near major military installations.

But the executives we spoke to have goals of expanding beyond their base as their companies grow. The companies do not want to stand pat.

“I think what we want to do is take our core capabilities and we will grow them outside of DISA within the DoD, and then we’d also like to expand into other federal space,” said Jacqui Sipes, co-founder and CEO of Tapestry Technologies (No. 47).

NEXT STORY: Profiles of the 2016 Fast 50