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2020 Fast Growth 150: A View From The Top

The 150 companies on the 2020 Fast Growth 150 list collectively generated revenue of $37.80 billion compared with $55.93 billion last year and $50.59 billion the year before.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. recession is hurting many businesses, solution providers on the CRN Fast Growth 150 list seem well-positioned to weather the storm.

When the pandemic forced many of Elevate Technology Group’s customers to shift to a work-from-home model, for example, the solution provider—with its focus on cloud computing—was already there.

“We’ve basically made [the cloud] our model of application delivery,” said CEO Geoff Turner. “We’re really playing that orchestration role in the cloud. The pandemic is what our business model was really planned for.”

Elevate Technology Group, No. 9 on this year’s CRN Fast Growth 150 list, also offers a broad range of managed IT, 24/7 remote support, custom development, and IT consulting and engineering services. “Because we take so much under our wing, we’ll either ‘be’ the IT department or we’ll work with the IT department,” said Turner.

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

Overall, this year’s CRN Fast Growth 150 recorded an average two-year growth rate of 101 percent—slower than the 147 percent average growth rate for the 2019 list, but better than the 83 percent average two-year growth rate for the 2018 list.

The 150 companies on this year’s list collectively generated revenue of $37.80 billion in 2019 compared with $55.93 billion the year before. (The cumulative revenue figure changes year to year depending on the mix of small and large companies.) And of the 150 companies on the 2020 ranking, 50 have never been on the list before.

Converge Technology Solutions, Toronto, was No. 1 with an impressive 1,203 percent two-year growth rate. The company, in keeping with its name, is actually about a dozen regionally focused, hybrid IT solution providers throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. that have been acquired under the Converge Technology name—including Corus360, Northern Micro, Key Information Systems and Lighthouse Computer Services.

AHEAD, No. 15 this year, likewise has mergers and acquisitions to thank, in part, for its rapid growth. The Chicago-based provider of digital business infrastructure merged with Data Blue and Sovereign Systems in 2019 in a deal engineered by Court Square Capital Partners. In January AHEAD acquired Platform Consulting Group in a move to boost its cloud-native application capabilities and Dell Technologies expertise.

For Prescriptive Data Solutions, No. 6 on this year’s Fast Growth 150 list, it’s not acquisitions that has led to its quick growth. Rather, its two-year growth rate of 356.52 percent is tied directly to its ability to respond quickly to customer issues, according to President Terry Murray. In an interview with CRN Murray explained how the solution provider does business with a recent example: In early 2020 a business was having end-user latency problems with its virtual desktop environment and was struggling to fix it. Prescriptive, which already was working with the customer in other areas, was asked to take a look.

Prescriptive took ownership of the problem, brought in an experienced team and examined the system beyond the virtual desktop components, Murray told CRN. Prescriptive eventually migrated the system to a different storage device for immediate performance improvements, followed by environment updates and configuration changes that further enhanced the system’s performance. The result: The customer has since expanded the amount of business it does with Prescriptive.

“When a customer calls for help, when they need us, our approach is to dive in and get the problem solved first,” he said.

So while IT prowess is certainly a strength of the Allen, Texas, company, especially in IT infrastructure (on-premises, cloud and hybrid), networking and security, Murray said the speed and quality with which it responds to RFPs from prospective customers to calls for assistance from longtime customers set it apart.

“It’s the customer’s ability to engage with our guys and focus on their IT problem,” Murray said. “Our guys become a part of that company’s IT team.”

 

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