Established by Inc. magazine in 1982, the Inc. 500/5000 list is considered a bellwether of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States. Numerous high-ranking payment and alternative lending companies are included in the 2015 rankings, released in August 2015. Leigh Buchanan, Inc.'s Editor-at-Large noted a median year-over-year growth rate of 1,772 percent among honorees and named healthcare, financial services and technology as the most robust sectors of the U.S. economy.
"In response to a survey question, hundreds of Inc. 500 CEOs described hard lessons learned from experiences that could have killed, but ultimately strengthened, them," she wrote. "Some of those lessons involved brass tacks: how to price proposals, hedge risks, divide equity, or establish metrics."
An Inc. article titled "Fintech Finally Lifts Off" profiled WePay, a payment processor specializing in the crowdfunding vertical. "WePay (No. 62 on this year's Inc. 500 list of America's fastest-growing private companies) is profitable, and flush with a total of $75 million in investor cash," reported Senior Editor Maria Aspan. "The Redwood City, California, company is worth $220 million according to PitchBook."
To qualify for the top-ranking list, competing companies must:
Payment and alternative lending companies on Inc.'s 2015 list include first-time honorees and companies with improved rankings over the previous year, reflecting exponential growth in the financial services sector. Buchanan attributed industry growth to determination, risk tolerance and creativity. She said many entrepreneurs on the list had the right idea at the right time. Boca Raton, Fla.-based TouchSuite moved from 254 in the 2014 Inc. 500 to 160 in 2015, its third consecutive year on the list. TouchSuite founder and Chief Executive Officer Sam Zietz, recently named EY's 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year in Florida, reflected on his company's journey since its opening in 2004.
Zietz acknowledged TouchSuite's talented employees and their strict adherence to the company's core values, which he summarized as having a sense of urgency, a no-excuses policy and disrupting the market. "We basically empower all of our employees to make decisions and be able to react," he said. "That's the foundation that any company in any industry has to have [for] continued hyper-growth."
United Capital Source, an alternative lender established in 2011 and headquartered in New York City was ranked number 974 in the 2015 Inc. 5000, its first year of eligibility. CEO Jared Weitz has been a featured panelist and advocate in the space and is respected by peers for his industry knowledge and leadership. "I'm extremely proud of my group on the traction we've gotten in the industry in such a short time," Weitz said. "Our growth rate is indicative of the talent we have here at UCS; we look forward to even bigger growth and driving more finance opportunities to our clients in the upcoming years."
Another alternative lender and first-time qualifier, Quick Bridge Funding, based in Irvine, Calif., and established in 2011, achieved a top five ranking. Quick Bridge President Ben Gold said his company and other nonbank finance leaders identified a need for short-term working capital loans in the wake of the Great Recession. "A combination of well-versed business-to-business lending experience and strong capitalization has helped us grow fast, but not too fast," he said, adding that achieving the No. 5 position on the Inc. 500 is both an honor and incentive to "drive further excellence throughout every aspect of our business."
The growing ranks of payments and alternative lending companies that have earned a place in the Inc. 500 and 5000 lists reflect healthy growth in the financial services sector and public receptivity to a range of financial product and service offerings.
The list includes U.S. ISOs and merchant service providers such as Base Commerce (60), 360 Payment Solutions Inc. (238), Payscout Inc. (434) Glacier Payments Inc. (873), Clearent LLC (1,166), Vantage Payments (1,932), Discount Credit Card Supply (1,947), CardConnect (2,478), USA ePay (3,006), Security Card Services LLC (3,057), Reliance Star Payment Services Inc. (3,366), Capify (3,678), and Forte Payment Systems (4,466).
Among the many alternative lenders listed were Kabbage Inc. (36), Swift Capital, aka Swift Financial Corp. (64), Prosper Marketplace Inc. (86), Credibly (306), Reliant Funding (382), Open Road Lending LLC (430), Fora Financial LLC (872), CAN Capital (3,206) and Merchant Cash and Capital LLC (3,707).
Emerging technology and next-generation payment companies were also notably present in Inc. 500 and 5000 listings. Examples include Kukui Corp. (76), Cardlytics Inc. (88), Yext (220), Localytics (274), Cloud Sherpas (379), Allied Wallet Ltd. (390), Invoice Cloud Inc. (428), Chargebacks911 (665), and YapStone Inc. (2,719).
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