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Thursday, Jul 18, 2024

Little Big List

Far fewer but much bigger.

That’s one way to sum up the biggest of the fastest-growing private companies based in Orange County—13 companies that combined for $16.1 billion in revenue, a 37% jump.

This week’s Business Journal Special Report highlights the fastest-growing businesses with headquarters in Orange County, with three lists separated by revenue totals for the 12 months ended June 30.

Companies with revenue below $10 million were included in the “small” category; those with sales ranging from $10 million and up to $100 million were placed in the “midsize” segment; and entries with $100 million and more made up the “large” category.

The rankings are based on percentage increases in revenues, comparing the 12-month span through June with the same period two years prior. The threshold to be included on the lists was a 15% increase.

It’s the first time the Business Journal has split up the lists by size. The change was based on the idea that the same percentages for companies of different sizes can represent vastly different dollar values, depending on the starting base of revenue.

For example, the smallest percentage increase on this year’s “large” list was 18% and worth $1 billion. The largest percentage gain on the “small” list was 1,268%, worth $6 million.

The 13 companies in the “large” segment also grew their collective OC employee base by more than 49%, going from about 5,000 as of mid-2012 to more than 7,800 as of June 30.

The category—part of the total of 174 companies on the three lists—includes four companies in the construction sector and three in the food-and-beverage market, with the rest spread across various other industries, including healthcare, finance and retail.

• The top spot went to Driver Urban, a general contractor in Irvine that had a growth rate of more than 25,000% (see related story, page 22). Driver’s recent revenue totaled $131.3 million, versus $515,015 two years earlier. The company has 54 employees, up from 14 in mid-2012.

• No. 2, LoanDepot LLC, reported nearly 300% growth, going from $112.3 million to $446.2 million over two years. The Foothill Ranch-based mortgage lender doubled its OC workforce during that time to 1,048 employees.

LoanDepot was founded in 2010 by Anthony Hsieh and has grown to be one of the largest nonbank, independent retail mortgage lenders in the U.S.

It funded $8.4 billion worth of loans last year and is expecting to about double that this year.

LoanDepot also announced plans to offer personal loans starting early next year to “further meet our customers’ borrowing needs,” said company spokesperson Julie Reynolds.

No. 4, Universal Services of America, had 148.6% growth to $984.7 million. The Santa Ana-based company provides security and building-maintenance services through its various divisions.

Universal, founded in 1965, now has about 3,600 employees in Orange County and is the largest local employer across all three of this week’s lists. Its overall workforce throughout the U.S. totals about 37,000.

Universal Services Chief Executive Steve Jones cited the company’s “relationships with employees and clients,” along with its longevity and reputation in the industry, as key factors behind its recent growth.

Acquisitions also have helped build the company’s reach across the U.S. It has bought more than 30 security-related firms in various geographic markets in the past three years.

“We anticipate more growth over the next few years, as the company’s acquisitions and organic growth continue around the country,” Jones said.

• Golden State Foods Corp., an Irvine-based food manufacturer and distributor, debuted on the list at No. 13. It’s the largest company by revenue on the list, with $6.6 billion in the recent 12 months. It’s a perennial member of the Business Journal’s annual list of the largest private companies based here, most recently landing at No. 2 next to Pacific Life Insurance Co. in Newport Beach.

Golden State Foods, or GSF, sells meat and liquid products, such as syrups and sauces, to restaurants. Its client base includes such fast-food chains as McDonald’s, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell.

GSF Growth

The recent revenue total for GSF reflects a growth rate of about 18% over the past two years.

“A fair amount of that growth was acquisitions-related,” said GSF Chief Financial Officer Bill Sanderson.

GSF in the past two years has acquired a company in China that makes dairy-based products; a maker of sauces and dressings in New Zealand; and a salad products supplier that’s also in New Zealand.

“We’ve put in place our sauces and dressing capabilities around the world … to match up with our customers and where they’re growing fastest,” Sanderson said.

Diversified Lineup

GSF also has diversified its product lineup and customer base, he added.

“Our liquid product line has grown, from sandwich sauces, salad dressings, to coffee syrups, jams, jellies and … dairy-based beverages,” he said. “[We’re making] just about everything that is a liquid ingredient in a restaurant that doesn’t include cleaning supplies and the carbonated beverages.”

GSF has 61 employees here, up from 49 two years ago. It has about 5,500 workers globally.

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