100 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies: DC Area Results

Eight Local StarsFor the third year in a row, Business 2.0 magazine has come out with their list of the 100 fastest-growing tech companies. The results for 2007 include eight firms right here in Virginia and Maryland. I’ll give you a peek into their financials and a clue as to why they’ve been so successful.

Before you read on, it helps to know how the fastest-growing tech companies were ranked. Zacks Investment Research of Chicago considered the following factors and weighted them as shown:

  • Three-year annualized revenue growth: 40% weight
  • Three-year annualized earnings growth: 20% weight
  • Three-year annualized operating cash flow growth: 20% weight
  • Percentage change from 2006 stock return: 20% weight

All growth figures below are annualized based on the past three years of data.

Digene

Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, this firm tops off the local list at number 26. While $178 million in revenue and $15.3 million in earnings may not be extraordinary, their operating cash flow growth was a whopping 173%—and that’s how they got near the top of the list. The company had a successful year, following a concerted marketing effort to educate the public about how the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause cancer. Their efforts resulted in increased sales for their DNA-based diagnostic tests.

USEC

Coming in at number 42 and located in Bethesda, Maryland, USEC is the second fastest-growing tech company in the local area. Like Digene, it boasts an impressive operating cash flow growth of 163.4%. Have you ever wished for the perfect niche business? Digene is a good example, as only a few other companies in the entire world do what they do. They supply low-enriched uranium, and they use gas centrifuge technology for the production of cost-efficient fuel. Now why didn’t I think of that?

ManTech International

Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, ManTech focuses on national security and IT, and ranks number 45 out of 100. Once again, cash is king on this list; their operating cash flow growth was 118.6%, even though revenue and earnings growth were below 20%. Last year they secured more than $100 million in contracts to develop technology for detecting explosive devices in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

CoStar Group

Not far behind ManTech at number 48 is CoStar, located in Bethesda, Maryland. What separates CoStar from other local firms that rank lower on the list is its excellent earnings growth of 104%. CoStar offers reports and listings on commercial real estate, and the firm is beginning to attract larger customers with deeper pockets.

Integral Systems

Integral Systems is a producer of satellite ground systems with headquarters in Lanham, Maryland, and is at number 62. While their earnings growth was fairly strong at 28.4%, it was their operating cash flow growth of 72.4% that helped them land their place on the list. Integral Systems should send a thank you card to the US Air Force, as 55% of their revenue came from them alone.

Orbital Sciences

This rocket and satellite company is based in Dulles, Virginia. Their strong stock return of 44% for 2006 helped them earn slot number 70. I wish I’d had them in my portfolio… Among their accomplishments last year: 16 launches and a $250 million subcontract from NASA.

Argon ST

Argon ST is located in Fairfax, Virginia, and makes weapons-tracking systems. The phenomenal thing about this tech company is that they were able to weather a 30% loss in their 2006 stock return (the US Army canceled an order), and yet they still made it to number 81 on the top 100 list. Their 88.3% operating cash flow and 85.3% revenue growth helped them bounce back, not to mention a Navy contract for torpedo defense.

Lockheed Martin

Ah, yes. The behemoth of our area, with headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, and 140,000 employees. It’s here at number 84. Some may be surprised to see this giant on a list of fastest-growing tech companies, considering how hard it can be for large firms to expand quickly. However, Lockheed’s earnings growth was quite strong at 59.2%, and their stock return for 2006 was a juicy 47%. Quite respectable indeed. Although they lost some contracts last year, those were more than offset by a $276 billion deal to upgrade F-16 fighter jets.

Micros Systems

Just behind Lockheed Martin at number 85 is this developer of enterprise applications based in Columbia, Maryland. They have a solid financial footing, with earnings growth of 35.7% and operating cash flow growth of 32.5%. Micros focuses solely on the hospitality and specialty retail industries. Along with Verifone, they created a new system that allows restaurant patrons to print their own receipts right at the table. Check, please!

Was your company in this year’s report? Are you positive you’ll be in next year’s report? Was your firm unjustly left out? Send us a reply and let us know.

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