EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 23, 2013

Local companies on the fast track for growth

By Doug Ireland

---- — Eleven companies in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire, with combined revenue of $172 million last year and a total of more than 1,000 employees, have made a list of the fastest growing companies in the nation.

They include a Lawrence-based day care and pre-school provider, an Andover staffing firm, a Salem, N.H., travel services company and a Kingston, N.H. gift basket operation.

Topping the local list is PanelClaw, ranked No. 241 on the list of 5,000 companies nationwide. The North Andover company supplies mounting and balancing accessories for commercial and utility company photovoltaic systems. Founded in 2008, it saw revenues explode by 1,790 percent since 2009, to $35.2 million last year. It employs 46, all but five of them hired in the last three years.

Also on the local list:

The Start Group, ranked No. 712. Founded in 2008, the Andover company reaped $28.7 million in revenue last year, up 644 percent from three years earlier. It employs 35.

LeadBridge, No. 1,457. The Andover company provides research and sales intelligence to tech vendors. The company founded in 2006 employs 22 and had revenues of $2.5 million last year, up 274% sine 2009.

ENCO Industries of Plaistow, ranked No. 2,567, provides environmental control products and services to a wide range of industries and markets, including the federal government. Revenue for the 18-employee company grew 138 percent, from $3.8 million in 2009 to $9.1 million in 2012.

GourmetGiftBaskets.com, No. 2,956, operates out of a warehouse on Route 125 in Kingston, where 58 employees assemble and ship gift baskets around the world. Its revenue increased 115 percent over the three-year period, from $8.7 million to $18.6 million.

Little Sprouts, No. 3,652. The Lawrence-based company provides day care, pre-school and kindergarten services at 17 locations. It employs 416 -- more than a third of them hired in the last three years. Revenues jumped 82 percent between 2009 and 2012, to $17.9 million last year.

BNMC of Andover, No. 3,674. The company provides IT services to small and mid-sized companies. BNMC employs 15 and had revenues of $2.1 million last year, up 81 percent from 2009.

BirdDog Solutions of Andover, No. 3,721. A large-volume parcel shipping consulting firm founded in 1998, BirdDog has seen revenues rise 79 percent since 2009, to $40.3 million last year. It employs 224.

Iatric System of Boxford, No. 4,279. Iatric develops software applications and interfaces and reporting services for healthcare information systems. Founded in 1990, it employs 298, more than a third of them hired in the last three years. Revenues rose to $40.8 million last year, up 58 percent over 2009.

New England Investment of North Andover, No. 4,494. The company, founded in 1995, offers financial planning services to individuals and small to mid-size business. Revenue jumped 51 percent between 2009 and 2012, to $4.2 million. It employs 15.

Businesses that made the list were thrilled.

“It’s a huge honor for a company our size,” said Michael Faris, executive vice president of ENCO.

It’s the second year in a row ENCO has made the list, ranking 1,958 a year ago.

Gourmet GiftBaskets has made the list five straight years, ranking as high as 37 in 2009.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Ryan Abood, president and CEO. “It started out with just me and my mother.”

The growing online firm started in Manchester in 2002 and moved to Londonderry briefly before landing in Kingston.

Companies named to the list are researched and solicited by Inc., according to spokesman Patrick Hainault. Revenue figures are verified as well, he said.

Thousands of companies applied for the recognition, he said. Firms learned of their rankings in the last week.

“It’s the first time a lot of these companies got recognized on a national level,” he said.