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Houston, the Forefront for Innovation

by | Nov 16, 2007 | Community Circle, Tecknowledgy

As we prepare our program for the seventh year of the Fast Tech 50 Awards Luncheon, I again have a chance to reflect and comment on an outstanding group of entrepreneurs and business leaders that make the Houston Metropolitan area one of the best places to live and work in the country. The Class of 2007 will be known as “The Youngsters”. In comparing this year’s group of winners, it’s clear that they represent a much younger and still developing group of early stage companies. They will have an impact on our local and national economy for many years to come, and they will add to the legacy of what makes Houston the top city in the country to start a business. The youth of many of our new emerging companies is evident with the threshold to make the list holding steady at 29% for 2007! The average growth rate for this year’s group is a staggering 149%. You always know that you have arrived on the scene when several “national entrepreneurial magazines” are now mentioning many of our Fast Tech 50 companies as organizations to invest in, or watch. Thanks for the publicity guys, but the Houston Business Journal and our Fast Tech 50 program, already scooped you! We’ve been blowing the horn of these entrepreneurs for over 7 years!

During this past year we had 354 companies express an interest in becoming a member of this exclusive club. The Fast Tech 50 class of 2007 continues Houston’s tradition of technology excellence. And they also bring to the forefront new and different stories of entrepreneurial success. This year’s list of honorees includes; 19 first-time honorees, 15 two-time honorees, 6 three-time honorees, 6 four-time, and 4 five-time honoree. Our five time honorees include: Knowledge Systems, Merrick Systems, Salvage Sale, and Triad Resources. What staying power!

During the past year we saw many successful technology events throughout the city. The Houston Technology Center, the Rice Alliance (including the highly success Rice Business Plan competition), held many forums for the start up community.   The Houston based Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC) is doing very well in its second year. We continue to hear from the State’s oversight group is that the plans submitted from the Houston area are some of the most well received.

Qualifications

Let’s review the nomination and listing process. To qualify for the Fast Tech 50, a company’s headquarters, or a foreign company’s US headquarters must be located in Houston SMSA region. A minimum of 51% of the company’s consolidated net revenues must be involved in the original manufacture, design or development of technology products or delivery of services. A nominee must have minimum net revenues of more than $200,000 in both years. Rankings were determined on the revenue growth percentage from fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2006.

The nominees were asked to submit the following information: nomination form; audited, reviewed or compiled financial statements or tax returns for 2005 and 2006; an overview letter; and background information on the company, its products and/or services. Representatives from PKF Texas validated the information on the nomination form from the information packet. The percentage of revenue growth was computed by comparing net revenues from 2005 to 2006. During the past year we received 354 nominations for the Fast Tech 50.   The organizations that made the top 50 places were then listed. 

Overview of the 2007 Fast Tech 50

Our Fast Tech 50 represents a wide variety of industries. The industries represented by our award winners, and the number of entries by their area are as follows: Medical Devices 3, Software 25, Hardware 1, Technical/Consulting Services 8, eCommerce/Business Portals 8, Technology Products 3, and Communications 2. 

One honoree was started in the 1970s. Six of our honorees were started in the 1980s. Fourteen honorees were started in the 1990s. Finally, twenty nine honorees were started since 2000.   This group of honorees is by far, our youngest group of companies ever. Hang on Houston; we’ve got some growing to do!

This year’s Number 1 ranked Fast Tech 50 honoree is Vuico, LLC. You will find a profile on this company later inside this special section of the Houston Business Journal. They grew a remarkable 267% during the past year! Congratulations to Vui Lee and his team. It’s a great story of entrepreneur collaboration. In addition, three companies started in 2004 made the Fast Tech 50 2007 Top 10. They are: eCardio Diagnostics, Quantum Solutions for Business, and Techcess Group. Talk about fast starts! The single largest revenue contributor from the Fast Tech 50 to our local economy is PreCash at $30.1 million. As we noted earlier, the cutoff this year to make the Fast Tech 50 was approximately 29% year over year growth.  

The local economic impact made by this year’s Fast Tech 50 is phenomenal! When reviewing the entire 50 companies, an impressive overview quickly emerges. These organizations are responsible for creating almost 3,250 jobs and over $387 million in revenues to our local economy. No one industry dominates the Houston business climate anymore. Our businesses are as diverse as our people and our cultures.

Nominations will be accepted for next year’s Fast Tech 50 listing by contacting the Houston Business Journal, PKF Texas, or any of the additional sponsors. Organizations that are nominated will receive additional information and application packets during the spring of 2008. Congratulations to all of our honorees! We look forward to seeing you in next year’s listing.

Houston is your home for innovation. So what will you do to add to our legacy?

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