Fast 50 companies bring innovation, specialization to government market

Our annual Fast 50 recognizes the fastest growing small businesses in the federal market but it also highlights how important innovation and specialization is to success.

The government market has entered an era where innovation commands a premium. You see it in large businesses that are making acquisitions to add new capabilities, forming alliances with emerging tech companies and creating practices around in-demand technologies.

The trend is also on display among the market’s most successful and fastest growing small companies on the 2017 Washington Technology Fast 50.

Each year, we rank the 50 fastest growing small businesses according to five years of revenue growth. The companies nominate themselves and submit their revenue numbers. This year we collected data for the years 2012 through 2016. We calculate a five-year compound annual growth and rank the companies accordingly.

FedBizIT Solutions is making its second consecutive appearance as the No. 1 company on the Fast 50. It posted a compound annual growth rate of 255.9 percent. It describes itself as a provider of hardware, software and related services.

But that probably oversimplifies things. The company has a plethora of relationships with some of the leading tech players from the commercial market including well-known names as Akamai and Dell as well as relative newcomers such as Fidelis Cybersecurity and the video platform company VBrick.

Counting FedBiz, there are 24 companies on the 2017 Fast 50 that also appeared on the rankings last year.

At No. 2 this year, IT Consulting Inc. was ranked No. 3 last year. Their particular focus is on intelligent communication systems, IT infrastructure and cybersecurity. Their five-year compound annual growth rate is 174.3 percent. The company touts its status as a Premier Cisco Partner as a differentiator.

But the 26 newcomers to the list also exhibit the importance of specialization and critical technologies needed in today’s government market.

At No. 5, Spear Inc. is one of the youngest companies on the Fast 50. It was founded in 2012 and had $790,590 in revenue that year. By 2016, its revenue reached $18.5 million, for a compound annual growth rate of 124.4 percent.

Its focus has been cybersecurity, data analytics, infrastructure solutions and management consulting. Among its customers are the Army, Education Department, U.S. courts and the FBI. It has cultivated a close partnership with Splunk and has implemented the data analytics platform for several agencies and other government contractors.

Spear’s relationship with Splunk is just one example from the Fast 50 of a company leveraging its knowledge of government customers so it can be a platform to bring a commercial technology solution into the public sector market.

In addition to being vehicles for new technologies, the Fast 50 also illustrates the importance that small business programs play in fostering new, successful companies. Only 12 companies on the list carry just the small business designation based on size or number of employees. All of the others also carry an additional small business designation such as 8(a), woman-owned or service disabled, veteran owned small businesses.

The 8(a) program is the most common small business designation on the Fast 50 with 21, followed by women-owned with 14. Even the HUBZone program, which has been the toughest small business goal for agencies to achieve, has eight companies with that designation.

Many companies have multiple designations. For example, No. 13 FavorTech Consulting is an 8(a), woman-owned and service-disabled, veteran owned company.

The capabilities on display among the Fast 50 companies also illustrate the breadth of customer needs. There are companies selling traditional IT services but also big data analytics, cloud computing, geospatial services, mobile app development, cybersecurity, health IT and life sciences.

If nothing else, the Fast 50 celebrates the strength and vibrancy of small businesses in the government market.