Thirty-five area companies make latest Inc. 5000 list

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Yesterday was a good news day for fast growing companies in our region.

Thirty-five of those based in East Tennessee or Cookeville, including 19 from the Knoxville area, made the latest listing of Inc. magazine’s 5000 fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S.

Announced at 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday morning, the new rankings include a number of previous winners as well as several new additions. The 35 were part of 120 companies from across the Volunteer State to make Inc. magazine’s 2021 list. They reported a combined $5.0 billion in revenue, the addition of 10,531 jobs during the year, and a median growth rate of 171 percent.

Most notable to us was the focus of most of the companies making the list from Chattanooga, a fact that clearly underscored that city’s emergence as a logistics hub. And, if that was not enough evidence, the state’s fastest growing company was FreightWaves, the provider of news and commentary for the transportation and logistics sector. The company ranked #85 among the 5,000 companies nationally with a reported growth rate of 4,597 percent from 2017 to 2020.

The two highest ranked Knoxville area companies were Karen Coffey Coaching of Sevierville, a mentorship program for women in real estate, that came in at #200 with a reported 2,181 percent growth rate over the three-year period followed by Hydroviv of Knoxville. Ranked #275 nationally with revenue growth of 1,682 percent, the company provides water filtering systems.

Besides FreightWaves from Chattanooga, that city’s second highest ranked company was Text Request at #335 with a growth rate of 1,399 percent. We have posted numerous articles on spotlighting the progress of the business texting platform.

How did Tennessee do this year compared to the 2020 list that ranked revenue growth between 2016 and 2019? We were up by close to a third. In 2020, the state placed 86 companies on the list.

Companies on the 2021 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2017 to 2020. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent, not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies, as of December 31, 2020. The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2020 is $2 million.

Two additional articles follow that list all 35 ranked companies. One highlights the 19 Knoxville area companies, the other spotlights the other 16 including four from the Chattanooga region.

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