Wednesday, October 20, 2004

4 local firms growing in stature

Inc. 500 list ranks the fastest-rising

By James McNair
Enquirer staff writer

Demonstrating knack for both the old and the new, Greater Cincinnati has placed three high-tech firms and a meat-processing equipment maker on this year's Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the nation.

The annual list, which will be announced today, includes 17 companies from Ohio, nine from Kentucky and seven from Indiana.

California took top honors with 67 companies, followed by Florida with 39, Virginia with 31, Texas with 28, New York with 25 and Massachusetts with 22.

Companies are ranked by audited year-to-year revenue growth rate over five years.

Making the Inc. 500 from Greater Cincinnati were:

• Construction Software Technologies of Blue Ash, also known as iSqFt. Its Private Construction Office software allows general contractors to monitor every aspect of a construction project. Its Internet Plan Room program allows the contractor to interact with suppliers and subcontractors online. It was ranked 50th and posted $5.4 million in revenue in 2003.

•  Intelliseek of Over-the-Rhine, ranked at 294. Intelliseek collects and organizes intelligence and consumer opinions on products, services and companies from databases, Web sites, message board and even blogs.

•  LEM Products of Harrison, ranked at 412. LEM makes a variety of meat-processing devices for home users. The only local company to make the Inc. 500 in successive years, LEM stood at 108 last year. It had $4.4 million in sales in 2003.

•  PowerNet Global Communications of Fairfield, ranked at 469. The biggest of the four local companies with $120 million in revenue in 2003, PowerNet sells high-speed long-distance telephone service in retail and wholesale markets.

"It's an honor to make the list at number 50 - and number one in construction," said Dave Conway, president of iSqft, which has 147 employees and expects to double its revenue in 2004. "This is pretty exciting for us."

Mahendra Vora, chairman and CEO of Intelliseek, was also thrilled that his company was named to the list. Intelliseek has 65 employees - 45 in Over-the-Rhine - had $4.1 million in revenue in 2003 and has increased revenue by an average of 123 percent per year in the last five years, an amazing feat considering the backdrop of a tech industry shakeout, a recession and a war.

Vora said two recent contracts, one with Bank of America, the other with the Department of Defense, will boost 2004 revenue. He said the bank contract will help the bank delve deeper into consumer perceptions.

"Our programs provide market intelligence. You can't get that from traditional market research," Vora said.


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