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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Fastest Growers Top $15 Billion

The 157 fastest-growing private companies in Orange County combined to boost revenue by more than 66% over the last two years to an estimated $15.4 billion.

This week’s Business Journal Special Report (see page 21) features privately held businesses with headquarters in OC that grew revenue by at least 15% over the two years since 2014. They are ranked by percentage increase.

The companies are grouped by size into three categories to provide a fair comparison of percentage changes.

This year’s lists also provide the total number of local employees for companies, but that information does not affect the rankings.

The lists also offer a clear breakdown on a key aspect of OC’s economy—companies with the potential to bring chunks of new opportunity for everyone from investors to job seekers.

“Fast-growing companies are very important to Orange County because they generate a majority of new jobs in the area,” said Edward Carpenter, chairman and chief executive of Irvine-based Carpenter and Company, a bank consulting firm and holding company with locally based Plaza Bank and Pacific Mercantile Bank both in its portfolio.

“They also reflect the fact that … successful generations of entrepreneurs are interested in founding their companies here,” Carpenter said.

Entrepreneurial enterprises are the “bread and butter” of the local economy, said Dean Anil Puri of California State University-Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

National and global corporations often absorb OC’s growing companies, Puri said, “and that is OK because it provides high rewards for entrepreneurs.”

Successful entrepreneurs often take proceeds from the sale of their companies to fund later efforts, he said, which fosters an ecosystem of startups in OC (see weekly Startups column, page 14).

Big Companies

The annual accounting of fastest growers nonetheless starts with some big and long-established entries—the 23 large companies that combined for $12.5 billion in revenue, up about 65% from two years ago (see list on page 32).

The largest companies combined to employ 12,880 locally, up 29%.

Companies needed $100 million or more in annual revenue to make the large-company list.

Eleven of those companies were among the largest and fastest-growing companies last year, six grew revenue to move from the midsized companies list, and six are new to the list.

The Business Journal estimated the growth for six companies on the list.

• Mobilitie LLC in Newport Beach is No. 1 this year with about 1,120% growth to an estimated $500 million in revenue from $41 million two years ago (see related story, page 1). The company makes wireless networks for high-rise office buildings, hospitals and entertainment venues. It is a new large company that was in our midsized category last year. The company added 212 employees in two years for a total of 255 in OC.

• Alignment Healthcare in Orange is No. 2 with an estimated $238 million in revenue, up 928%. The healthcare services provider was unranked a year ago. It added 83 employees for 230 in OC.

• Sovereign Health Group in San Clemente is No. 3 with almost $103 million in revenue, up about 317%. It provides addiction and behavioral rehabilitation programs. The company was formerly called the Sovereign Health of California and was the No. 5 midsized company last year. It more than doubled its local employees to 756.

The Middle

This year’s list of midsized companies, firms with revenues between $10 million and $99.9 million, was the largest with 74 (see list on page 36).

The companies combined for $2.6 billion in revenue, up about 69%, with 6,135 local jobs, up about 49%.

Most of the businesses, 41, were on last year’s list; 29 were unranked; and seven moved from the ranks of small companies. The Business Journal estimated revenue on 29 firms.

• Cybersecurity company Cylance Inc. in Irvine was No. 1 among midsized companies, with almost 2,000% revenue growth—the largest jump on any of this year’s lists—to an estimated $81.8 million (see related story on page 24). The firm’s $77.9 million increase in revenue was the largest among this year’s midsized companies. It hired 381 for a total of 445 in OC. The company was unranked a year ago and counts the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel among its investors in 2015.

• Student Movers Inc. in Newport Beach is No. 2 with $10 million in revenue, up 1,242%. The company provides commercial and residential moving services throughout California and says about 50% of its clients are senior citizens. The formerly unranked company added 40 employees for a total of 60 in OC.

• OrigAudio LLC in Huntington Beach is No. 3 with about 478% revenue growth to about $11 million. The business makes portable speakers and custom labelling services for commercial clients. It was unranked last year and almost tripled its local employees to 25.

Small Companies

The 60 firms on this year’s list of small companies combined for a little over $303 million in revenue, up 91% (see list on page 50). The small companies combined to employ 1,863 locally, up 67% in two years.

Small companies have revenue less than $10 million, and 29 firms listed this year repeated from a year ago, while another 31 are newcomers. The Business Journal estimated revenue for 28 companies.

• WJK Development Co. in Irvine is the No. 1 fastest-growing small company with about 1,200% revenue growth to an estimated $6 million (see related story 26). The formerly unranked company builds and designs speculative single-family homes along the coast. It added 10 employees for a total of 12 in OC.

• Leaf Communication Consulting LLC in San Clemente is No. 2 with an estimated $4.8 million, up about 835%. The consulting company was founded in 2013 to design and build wireless infrastructure systems. It has hired 21 people in the last two years for a total of 23 in OC.

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