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2019 Fast Growth 150: The Right Touch

The CRN Fast Growth 150 ranks solution providers, with gross annual sales of at least $1 million, by their two-year growth rate.

CompassMSP’s Tom Praschak has laid out an ambitious vision to build his company into a nationwide MSP that provides enterprise-quality managed IT, managed VoIP, cybersecurity, software development and cloud services to small and midsize businesses.

But Praschak, CompassMSP’s president and CEO, doesn’t want the company to grow in such a way that it loses touch with its SMB customers. His game plan is to expand the company one region at a time.

“I want to manage things close to the client,” he said in an interview with CRN. “I don’t want to become a giant MSP that manages everything from a great distance.”

The strategy is working so far: CompassMSP has recorded a two-year growth rate of more than 1,785 percent—a statistic that gives the Jacksonville, Fla.-based MSP the No. 3 spot on the 2019 Fast Growth 150, CRN’s annual ranking of the fastest-growing solution providers, strategic service providers, technology integrators and IT consultants throughout North America.

The CRN Fast Growth 150 ranks solution providers, with gross annual sales of at least $1 million, by their two-year growth rate. The full ranking is available at www.crn.com/fastgrowth.

Overall, this year’s Fast Growth 150 recorded an average two-year growth rate of nearly 147 percent—which is faster than the 83 percent average two-year growth rate for the 2018 Fast Growth 150 and the 102 percent average two-year growth rate for the 2017 list. The 150 companies on this year’s list collectively generated revenue of $55.93 billion, up from $50.59 billion last year.

Of the 150 companies on the 2019 ranking, 69 have never been on the list before.

BlackLake Security, an Austin, Texas-based provider of managed cloud and security services, topped this year’s Fast Growth 150 list with an astounding two-year growth rate of more than 1,911 percent. AEC Group, an Oakdale, Pa.-based technology solution provider that focuses on infrastructure, virtualization and communications solutions, was No. 2 with a two-year growth rate of more than 1,820 percent.

Some on the Fast Growth 150 are well known in the channel, including DXC Technology (No. 15), Axispoint (No. 21), Trace3 (No. 28) and SS&C Technologies (No. 30).

But others on the list are rising stars whose names might not be so widely known. Onica (No. 5) has rapidly become a major player in the market for Amazon Web Services consulting and managed services. Xentaurs (No. 8) has discovered a niche in providing cloud, DevOps and big data consulting services for fellow solution providers. And NexusTek (No. 4) is a fast-growing MSP whose Fast Growth 150 standing got a boost through its merger with Breakthrough Technology Group last year.

Acquisitions have likewise played a major role in the rise of CompassMSP. In June it acquired IT service provider GreenPoint Business Solutions of Princeton, N.J. That came on the heels of its March acquisition of Miami-based MSP Dynamic Media Technologies (doing business as IT Support Miami). Just two months earlier was the January purchase of managed service provider TS Tech Enterprises of Wyomissing, Pa.

Praschak’s goal is to build a national MSP through regional acquisitions with an initial focus on the East Coast. After making an acquisition he invests heavily in sales and marketing to spur growth. “I never go into a market without the intention of dominating that market,” he said.

He is also on the lookout for potential acquisitions that bring in a specific set of customers or specific engineering or leadership skills.

As to the latter, Praschak makes as much effort to retain employees after an acquisition as he does to retain customers. “I’m trying to build a company where people can develop their careers as we grow,” he said.

CompassMSP will continue to make acquisitions to further its regional expansion. But looking forward, Praschak anticipates that some CompassMSP hirings and acquisitions will be driven by growing demands for software and security technology and expertise for specific vertical industries.

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