I’m excited to announce that Signal has made the Inc Magazine list of 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States for the second year in a row. We ranked #863 in 2012, coming off our debut ranking of #108 in 2011.
Here’s a look at some of the folks who helped make it happen:
How did we get on the list?
For those of you that don’t know the process for getting ranked on the Inc 500/5000, here’s a quick look:
- Nominations for the list open up in February. You complete an online form with 20-30 questions describing your company, team, product or service, and trailing three-year revenue growth. You must make at least $100,000 of revenue in year one and $2,000,000 in year three.
- After you submit the application, you’ll receive a request for revenue certification that must be completed by an authorized party (i.e. your accountant or auditing firm).
- You wait.
- In July, you receive an email letting you know you’ve made the list. By this point you’ve likely forgotten all about it, so you’re probably in major shock after receiving this email. This email also tells you to shut your yap until the list has been released to the public, which most companies understandably fail to do.
- In August, you receive a package that includes a letter from the editor with your ranking and a copy of the magazine. The general public will receive the magazine less than a week later. The magazine is published 1-2 weeks ahead of when it’s posted online, which is a little frustrating for folks excited to share the news with the world. A lot of companies have a stock press release ready to go.
The whole process is a ton of fun, especially in your first year because you don’t know what to expect. In this second year, I had a good idea we would be ranked in the 700-899 range based on our 2008-2011 revenue growth of 390%. In 2011, #500 had 681% growth while a company with 390% growth ranked #800, thus I knew we wouldn’t make the top 500 but we’d definitely be included in the top 1,000.
One caveat – getting on the Inc 5000 list is a huge achievement, but breaking into the Inc 500 is a bigger deal (we now have a point of comparison). With the 500 you’re featured in the magazine, the Inc reporters reach out to you ahead of time to dig into your company history with the goal of finding unique stories to spotlight in their biggest issue. Don’t get me wrong, we are thrilled (!) to make this list a second year in a row, I just wanted to set some additional context.
What does this mean for Signal?
This is a nice win for both our team and all of the wonderful customers that support us. We couldn’t build a great company without having a product that people are paying for to solve their marketing challenges. In its purest form, this revenue growth means we’re doing some things right!
This is also an important milestone for the company as we’ve replaced over 50% of our revenue concentration in the past 18 months. We previously had a good chunk of revenue coming in from our white label offering, but in December 2010 we made the strategic decision to exit that line of business. White labeling is a great business model for some companies, but we found it was hindering our ability to build a business that people recognize. Everyone involved in a startup wants to build a company they’re proud of, and one of our main challenges back in 2008, 2009 and 2010 was that not many people were aware of Signal. You can build a great revenue stream, but if you’re walking into every pitch being asked how your company compares to the very companies you help support behind the scenes, it becomes unbearable (I could go on and on about how bad this sucked). So we ditched that.
At this point in our company’s relatively short history, we’re finally in the right place to capitalize on the fantastic product we’ve built and get it out to the world. Sure, we have plenty of things to build, plenty of things to improve upon and plenty of people to compete with, but that’s the game. I’m excited to see what this post will look like next year.
…and seriously, if you want one of those t-shirts send me an email!