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Led by PayKings, 73 Tampa Bay firms make 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growers

The Inc. 5000 lists Clearwater digital security company KnowBe4 as one of the fastest growing companies in the region. In this photo, account manager Liz Dawson has a view of downtown, Clearwater Bay and the distant Gulf of Mexico from her office. Photo by Robert La Follette, Courtesy KnowBe4.
Published Aug. 17, 2016

A 5-year-old Apollo Beach credit card processing firm called PayKings racked up a dazzling 7,905 percent growth rate, landing it as the 22nd fastest growing company in the country and tops in the Tampa Bay market, according to a newly released 2016 Inc. 5000 list.

PayKings had revenues last year of $8 million and six employees, says Inc. Area companies closely trailing PayKings's formidable 3-year growth rate are The Penny Hoarder, a downtown St. Petersburg financial advice website, ranked No. 2 in Tampa Bay and No. 32 nationwide with 6,934 percent growth and $7.5 million in revenues last year. Right behind are three Clearwater companies: telecommunications firm Stratus Video (4,190 percent), Medicare insurance seller E-Telequote Insurance (2,909 percent), and online security provider KnowBe4 (2,528 percent).

In all, 73 Tampa Bay companies made this year's Inc. 5000 list, an annual ranking of the fastest growing U.S. businesses and a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit.

We look at the Inc. 5000 each year for insights into the Tampa Bay and Florida economy, the types of businesses that are the fastest growers and which companies have the resilience to keep showing up year after year after year.

PayKings, The Penny Hoarder and KnowBe4 are among 20 area first timers on the Inc. 5000 list. This is year four for Stratus Video and the second for E-Telequote.

Since the Inc. 5000 list ranks companies by growth rates, it naturally favors smaller, younger companies that can put up big, early numbers. But plenty of Tampa Bay firms that are larger and older repeatedly appear on the Inc. 5000. This year they range from Riverview's BlueGrace Logistics, logging its fourth appearance; to College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving; and Kobie Marketing, back for the seventh time.

Three "heavyweights" of Tampa Bay — those appearing most often on the Inc. 5000 and still on it this year — are Tampa medical benefits manager myMatrixx (8 years), Tampa software developer AgileThought (9 years), and the granddaddy of the area Inc. 5000, Oldsmar IT services provider Vology (11 years). Their growth rates have inevitably slowed over time, but remain brisk enough to make the latest Inc. 5000. Vology ranks No. 3,198 this year.

Last year's top ranked growth company in this market was Tampa drug-testing business Physicians Toxicology Laboratory, then ranked No. 59 nationally with a 3-year growth rate of 4,415 percent. Tops in 2014 was medical software firm MedHOK — now growing slower at No. 1440.

Who's No. 1 on the Inc. 5000 nationwide? Loot Crate of Los Angeles sends creative "monthly themed boxes of items" to more than 600,000 subscribers. It grew 66,789 percent. Tops in Florida and ranked No. 20 nationally is Hollywood-based Tribeca Marketing Group. Up 8,935 percent, it caters to higher education clients.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

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