No, it’s not your imagination — Seattle businesses are growing at something approaching the speed of light.
The 2016 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies over the past three years includes 140 from Washington state (according to Puget Sound Business Journal’s Becky Monk), most of them in the Seattle area. We asked a few of these “superheroes of the U.S. economy” about their rapid growth, challenges, core values and plans to hire.
Rain City Capital is Seattle’s leading bridge-financing company and one of the Puget Sound’s largest hard-money lenders. Since 2009, the company has provided real estate professionals and investors with quick financing to buy properties. Part of Rain City’s appeal is its customized approach to underwriting — a refreshing change from traditional lenders that impose their own standards on the value of a property.
Rea also cites “hard work, strong client relationships and an industry that has allowed us to grow revenue quickly.” Growing pains come down to “people and cash. If you have the right staff in place and the right work environment, that is half the battle. Cash … as a growing lender I am always in need of more cash!” Rain City “is hiring in all aspects,” including sales, servicing and accounting.
Founded in 2008, SolTerra is devoted to city life that connects people to nature and community. The company builds mixed-use, LEED Platinum apartments, and is one of the biggest installers of solar energy systems, living walls and green roofs in the Pacific Northwest.
And it’s all working — to the tune of 721 percent growth. Marketing Manager Maddie Jostol credits “staying true to our vision and holding ourselves accountable to goals that directly lead us toward that vision.” At SolTerra’s core is “control and responsibility,” Founder and President Brian Heather says. It helps the company stand out and keep it financially as well as environmentally sustainable.
The biggest challenge in growing so quickly? Focus. “It becomes a challenge as a growing company when new ideas and opportunities continually present themselves and we want to do it all,” Jostol says. As for hiring, SolTerra is always seeking skilled tradespeople.
PipelineDeals, founded in 2006, is a leader in cloud-based CRM, with services that include leads and sales-pipeline management. The company, which has enjoyed 122 percent growth, prides itself on a streamlined setup “you can literally complete in just minutes.”
“In my view, traditional software and Internet-based companies are scared of human-to-human interaction — we crave it,” Marketing Manager David Baars says. Hiring is the hardest part of growing rapidly, and Baars has learned from a few bumps in the road. “We have an incredible team now,” he says.
PipelineDeals plans to hire sales and software development staff. Baars says it’s “still the early innings in the SaaS software space,” and that software will grow smarter, learn how we work, and suggest the next best action. That all feeds into what CEO JP Werlin calls the company’s core value: “Must. Always. Stay. Hungry. … In our business we have to re-earn our customer’s business every year, and in some cases every month. We are one credit-card transaction away from losing a customer.”
And the fourth company we promised? It’s none other than Kalles Group, which made the Inc. 5000 list with 164 percent growth. Since 2011, we’ve become a premier consulting agency for IT talent, serving clients as diverse as Microsoft to startups like DreamBox Learning. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.