NEW YORK, August 12, 2009 -- Inc. magazine today ranked AC Lens NO. 2731 on its third annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy-America's independent-minded entrepreneurs. Consumer electronics maker Vizio, Internet giant GoDaddy, rental car service Zipcar, and beverage maker Honest Tea are among the prominent brands featured on this year's list.
"Savvy trend spotters and those who invest in private companies know that the Inc. 5000 is the best place to find out about young companies that are achieving success through a wide variety of unprecedented business models, as well as older private companies that are still expanding at an impressive rate," said Inc. 5000 project manager Jim Melloan. "That's why our list is so eagerly anticipated every year."
AC Lens launched in 1996 with the mission to provide a convenient and inexpensive way to order contact lenses online. Nearly 13 years later, AC Lens has accomplished this very goal by offering a wide selection of affordable vision care items, shipped quickly and supported by award winning customer service. "We're honored to be a part of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies," said Dr. Peter Clarkson, CEO, AC Lens. "It's a testament to the dedication of our staff and the loyalty of our customers who enjoy the great price and service we offer."
The 2009 Inc. 5000, unveiled today on Inc.com, serves as a unique report card on the U.S. economy. Despite the ongoing recession, aggregate revenue among the companies on the list actually increased to $214 billion, up $29 billion from last year, with a median three-year growth rate of 126 percent. The Inc. 5000 are responsible for creating more than 1 million jobs since their founding, making the list perhaps the best example of the impact private, fast-growing companies can have on the economy. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on Inc.com.
This year's list also offers a preview of which industries are poised for growth in coming years. With an average growth rate of 667 percent, Insurance ranked as the top industry overall. Government Services was the top industry gainer with 252 companies on this year's list, up from 135 last year. Health is the top industry by both total revenue ($22.7 billion) and total employment (156,223 jobs).
The Hottest Regions for Fast-Growing Companies
Once again, California tops the Inc. 5000 with the most companies of any state with 612. The Golden State is followed by Texas (393), New York (316), Florida (263), and Virginia (261). All 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, are represented on this year's list.
New York boasts 371 Inc. 5000 companies, making it the top metropolitan area, followed by Washington, D.C. (317), Los Angeles (253), Atlanta (209), and Chicago (203).
The Inc. 5000 at a Glance
Bolstered by this year's No. 1 company, Northern Capital Insurance, Insurance emerged as the top industry, with an average growth rate of 667 percent. Other strong performers include Energy (523 percent) and Government Services (491 percent).
In total, the companies on the Inc. 5000 have created more than 1 million jobs. Health is the top employer with 156,223 jobs, followed by Business Products & Services (122,911), IT Services (89,632), Food & Beverage (86,572), and Construction (65,494).
IT Services had the most companies on this year's list with 658, followed by Business Products & Services (502), Advertising & Marketing (398), Construction (354), and Manufacturing (342).
Topping this year's list is Northern Capital Insurance, a Miami-based firm that is helping to revolutionize Florida's ailing insurance industry. The company generated $95 million in revenue in 2008 and an impressive three-year growth rate of 19,812 percent.
The top woman-owned company is P3S (No. 17 overall), a San Antonio-based firm that provides IT network security and physical security services, mostly to the Defense Department. P3S, owned by Mary Ellen Trevino, recorded revenue of $13.5 million in 2008 and a three-year growth rate of 5,898 percent. The top minority-owned company is Harley Stanfield (No. 3 overall), a Washington, D.C. based real estate investment firm that buys existing properties, makes them energy efficient, and then resells them as investment properties. Harley Stanfield, founded by Cedric Franklin, posted revenue of $38.4 million in 2008 and a three-year growth rate of 13,350 percent.
The Inc. 5000 posted an aggregate revenue of $214 billion in 2008, up nearly 16 percent from the previous year. The top five industries by total revenue include Health ($22.7 billion), Business Products & Services ($19.6 billion), Construction ($18.8 billion), Energy ($14.7 billion), and IT Services ($13.2 billion).
The Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2005 through 2008. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of 2005, and therefore able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they have to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent -- not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies -- as of December 31, 2008. Revenue in 2005 must have been at least $200,000, and revenue in 2008 must have been at least $2 million. The top 10 percent of companies on the list comprise the Inc. 500, now in its 28th year.
About AC Lens
Arlington Contact Lens Service Inc., dba AC Lens, is a leading online supplier of contact lenses from Acuvue, Freshlook, Air Optix, and more. Other vision care accessories such as sunglasses, reading glasses, and contact lens solution allows buyers to purchase all of their vision care needs in one location at industry low prices. ACLens.com offers users unique features including un-biased customer product reviews, a quick re-order option, a vision care blog, and the largest contact lens forum online. AC Lens recently was named to the Internet Retailer Top 500 e-tailers for the fourth consecutive year and to the Inc. 5000 for the first year. For more information, visit www.aclens.com or http://blog.aclens.com.
About Inc. Magazine
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc. (www.inc.com) is the only major business magazine dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies that delivers real solutions for today's innovative company builders. With a total paid circulation of 712,961, Inc. provides hands-on tools and market-tested strategies for managing people, finances, sales, marketing, and technology. Visit us online at Inc.com.
About the Inc. 500|5000 Conference
Each year, Inc. and Inc.com celebrate the remarkable achievements of today's entrepreneurial superstars-the privately held small businesses that drive our economy. The Inc. 500|5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony brings together members of the Inc. 5000 community, both a new class of Inc. 5000 honorees and the list's alumni, for three days of powerful networking, inspired learning, and momentous celebration. Please join us September 23-25, 2009, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. For more information about the 2009 Inc. 500|5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony, and to register, visit www.Inc5000event.com. Stay connected with Inc. Events by following @IncEvents on Twitter.