By Brittany Meiling
The San Diego Union-Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The fastest-growing company in the county is Oceanside-based Kindred Bravely, which makes bras and other apparel for breastfeeding moms. (Photo is of Deeanne Akerson-Founder of Kindred Bravely)
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Nine technology startups in San Diego are among the fastest-growing companies in America, according to a list published by Inc.
Tech companies dominated the local list, making up nine of the 13 San Diego companies on this year’s Inc. 500.
Inc. looks at the sales of privately owned companies from 2015 to 2018, and then doles out rankings depending on how fast they’ve grown.
Interestingly, the fastest-growing company in the county is Oceanside-based Kindred Bravely, which makes bras and other apparel for breastfeeding moms. Founded in 2015, the company has grown over 8,000 percent and is pulling in nearly $10 million in annual revenue. Kindred came in at No. 20 on the Inc. 500.
Local tech startups doing marketing and advertising work seemed to monopolize this list, including Cience Technologies (No. 112), Wrapify (No. 309), NextGen Leads (No. 315), SOCi (No. 417), and Proper Media (No. 419).
Here’s a quick rundown of the tech startups that caught my eye.
Scientist.com (No. 289): This is the biggest star on the list when it comes to revenue. Founded in 2007, this Solana Beach company (once named Assay Depot) has exploded in recent years. I met the founder back in 2015, when the company only employed 11 people and most of them worked remotely. But in the last few years, Scientist.com has grown 1,522 percent and is bringing in $97 million in annual revenue. The company makes an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of scientific research services.
FuelRod (No. 178): Technically, this company’s name is Tricopian, but everyone knows them by their product — FuelRod. Founded in 2011, the company makes those little charging sticks you can buy from vending machines to charge mobile devices on-the-go. You might have seen FuelRod machines at the airport, the San Diego Zoo, or the local convention center. The company grew 2,172 percent and brought in $7 million last year.
XY — The Persistent Company (No. 380): I was surprised to see this startup on the list, as the company recently announced a sizable round of layoffs. The blockchain startup laid off 40 people (half of its staff at the time) in June. Founders cited too many projects (and not enough executive focus) as its reason for downsizing. But before that, the company saw substantial growth, according to Inc. XY grew 1,210 percent of the last few years, earning nearly $22 million in 2018.
Other local tech companies that made the list include popular startups Cloudbeds (No. 323) and SOCi (No. 417). You can find the full list on the Inc. 500 site.
The city was ranked No. 2, behind Austin, Texas. Other top cities included Dallas, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Top-ranking cities scored well on things like high quality of life, major funding and safety ratings, while those on the bottom lack social infrastructure, small- business funding and Small Business Administration support. What’s the worst city for women entrepreneurs? Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Tech Coast Angels, the angel investor group founded in San Diego, is experiencing a surge in membership. The organization, whose membership has hovered around 300 for years, currently counts 400 members. TCA has outposts in Los Angeles, Orange County, and other hubs in Southern California, but San Diego is the largest chapter.
Locally, the organization grew from 126 members last year to 203 today.
“We have more than doubled both our membership and investment funding in San Diego in recent years,” said Dean Rosenberg, president of San Diego’s chapter of Tech Coast Angels. The growth has enabled TCA to invest “significantly larger funding rounds” in startups, Rosenberg said.
TCA cited local company Portfolium as one of its recent successes. TCA was an early investor in the startup, which was acquired for $43 million in March. The group announced Wednesday that it’s also invested an undisclosed amount in Grolltex, a San Diego startup developing a new way to manufacture graphene, the “miracle material” behind futuristic tech devices like flexible screens.
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