Revved Up: The 2016 Fast Growth 150
When solution provider DH Technologies launched five years ago, it made a bold decision: Rather than build the core of its business around established IT vendors and their products the way many do, it would focus on developing practices around startups and their leading-edge technologies, with Nutanix and its hyper-converged products at the top of the list.
"We really focus on emerging technologies," said founder and CEO Devin Henderson, "those up-and-coming hardware and software providers." While the Leesburg, Va.-based company's roster of vendor partners does include industry heavyweights like VMware and Dell, the list chiefly consists of IT developers that are challenging the industry status quo - such as Nutanix, networking equipment maker Arista Networks, backup and disaster recovery system developer Veeam Software, and desktop management and virtualization technology vendor Liquidware Labs.
"It's been a ride," Henderson said, noting with some satisfaction that DH Technologies was selling hyper-converged systems before most big businesses began adopting them a couple of years ago "and proved we were right."
DH Technologies has grown rapidly - a two-year growth rate of 1,864.4 percent, to be exact - putting it at the top of this year's Fast Growth 150 list, CRN's annual ranking of the fastest-growing solution providers in the IT industry. The 150 solution providers on this year's Fast Growth list recorded an average two-year growth rate of 112.4 percent - up significantly from 99.3 percent last year, 102.6 percent in 2014 and nearly 89 percent in 2013.
This year's list skews toward smaller solution providers: Collectively this year's 150 racked up revenue of $25.6 billion in 2015 compared with just less than $30.1 billion for the 2015 list. But smaller companies tend to record faster growth rates: This year's No. 150 on the list, the "slowest" Fast Growth company, had a two-year growth rate of 43.5 percent, up significantly from the 25.2 percent growth recorded by last year's No. 150.
Eighty-nine of the companies (nearly 60 percent) are new to the Fast Growth list from last year and 66 (44 percent) are appearing for the first time ever.
Achieving such growth rates is all the more remarkable given the transformative upheaval the channel is undergoing with solution providers evolving into managed service providers and strategic service providers.
Many of the companies on this year's Fast Growth list were either built from the beginning to be next-generation channel companies, while others have successfully transformed themselves into MSPs and strategic service providers.
And for every company on the list, the evolution is never-ending.
Coretelligent, No. 19 on this year's list, was founded 10 years ago as a more traditional IT service company. But the company has evolved to meet the changing demands of the channel and its customers, becoming a successful provider of private cloud services, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and managed services.
Coretelligent debuted its CoreCloud system five years ago and last year added its CoreBDR backup and disaster recovery service to its offerings. Now the company is seeing demand for managed security services from its small- and midsize-business customers and the company is gearing up to add "managed security service provider" (MSSP) to its areas of expertise by rolling out a line of next-generation endpoint and perimeter security services.
"We believe it's going to be the next opportunity area for Coretelligent and bring value to our customers," said Kevin Routhier, the company's founder and CEO, in an interview. "The demand is really around cybersecurity."
DH Technologies' target customers, meanwhile, are federal government agencies and state governments - the two account for 90 percent of its sales. That makes the company's growth all the more impressive since that market is dominated by established players.
Along with DH Technologies' focus on emerging technologies, Henderson said his company's success is "just a question of listening carefully" and providing customers with the right solution. "Keep it simple - work smarter, not harder," he said.