The Lower Mainland’s tech industry is known for its small and innovative companies. Although anchored by unicorns like Hootsuite, Slack, and Avigilon—each of which are valued at over $1 billion—most of the sector is comprised of scrappy startups aiming to garner worldwide attention.
A number of local companies, however, are turning heads across the continent.
Every year, accounting and professional services organization Deloitte releases its Technology Fast 500 list. Recognizing the fastest growing technology, media, telecoms, life science, and energy tech companies in North America, the prestigious roll call spotlights businesses that have increased their revenue by the greatest percentage between 2014 and 2017.
This year, 12 Metro Vancouver companies have made it onto the register.
Bench Accounting topped the list of local companies. Ranked as the 28th fastest growing firm across North America, the organization—an accounting service for small businesses—increased its revenue by 4,373 percent over the past four years. That progress was helped in part by a rapid expansion of staff in its multi-floor downtown office, and shows little sign of ebbing with the company’s September announcement that it would hire 100 more people before Christmas. Bench’s position on the roll call places it within the top 10 companies in Canada for financial growth for the second year in a row.
“Bench is a team of 300 people solving a long-standing, universal pain point for business owners: bookkeeping,” says CEO Ian Crosby. “Whether it’s the people who work here or use our product, people are everything at Bench, and that’s really the key to how we’ve been able to grow so fast. Our goal is to make understanding finances simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.”
Next on the list is Maple Ridge’s Left. A multinational media and technology company, Left is currently working on developing RightMesh—a concept that aims to provide internet to an entire region by using personal devices to amplify Wi-Fi signals. The business has been recognized as one of the best places to work in B.C., an accolade that has doubtless aided its 1,242 percent growth between 2014 and 2017. Left clocks in at number 101 on Deloitte’s rankings.
Software proved to be a particular area of expertise for local businesses in the Fast 500 rankings. Ten of the 12 companies worked primarily in the area, with the 108th placed Foodee (an organization that takes care of corporate catering and business lunches) and 154th positioned Visier, which helps HR recruit and retain staff, both posting strong growth numbers for the local industry.
The full cohort of Metro Vancouver companies is as follows:
- Bench Accounting, 4,373 percent growth, ranked 28
- Left, 1,242% percent growth, ranked 101
- Foodee, 1,145% percent growth, ranked 108
- Visier, 679 percent growth, ranked 154
- Eastside Games Inc., 663 percent growth, ranked 157
- Canada Drives, 500 percent growth, ranked 193
- BuyATab Online Inc., 433 percent growth, ranked 222
- Unbounce, 409 percent growth, ranked 222
- Copperleaf, 255 percent growth, ranked 321
- Clio, 208 percent growth, ranked 377
- Appnovation, 184 percent growth, ranked 420
- Agreement Express, 159 percent growth, ranked 468
In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies had to own and produce proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company’s operating revenues. Businesses had to have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD. Additionally, companies must have been in business for a minimum of four years, and be headquartered within North America.
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