The #8 Fastest Growing Private Company in LA
Los Angeles Business Journal - 11/17/2008
Roots of Success: Mini-Profiles
SPECIAL REPORT: L.A.'s Fastest-Growing Private Companies
By: LABJ Staff Reporter
What are the secrets to becoming a successful company? It turns out there almost are as many secrets as there are members of the 2008 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in Los Angeles County. Rob Tolleson got the idea for CPO Commerce while returning a thermostat at Home Depot and noticing the full return bin. He now sells returned, discontinued and other home improvement products online. Tiger Bitanga’s secret is toughness. He co-founded Web site maker Design People in the midst of the dot-com bust and stuck it out. Then there’s Greg Sinaiko, whose Coding Source converts X-rays and other medical procedures into insurance codes so doctors and hospitals can get paid. Sounds obscure, but Sinaiko notes there are plenty of niches not taught in business schools that can grow into solid companies. Indeed, this latest list of fast growers is a widely diverse group, though certain industries stand out, such as marketing and online services. Companies were ranked by revenue growth from 2005 through 2007 and qualified for consideration if they had revenue of at least $5 million in 2007. Overall, the top 100 companies saw aggregate revenue growth of 93 percent. But sustaining growth is hard, with only 49 companies returning from last year. Then again, the 51 newcomers prove there’s always another crop of entrepreneurs ready to make a go of it.
#8 - Media Temple, Inc.
Web hosting and software application services company
Founded: 1998 • Growth Rate: 283% • 2007 Revenue: $13.4 million
Early Days: In the beginning of my career, I was working in the special-effects industry in the movie business. Then I worked as an information technology manager. When the mid-’90s Internet and dot-com business boom started, I thought Web hosting would be a good marriage of my interest in digital art and my skills in information technology. I started my own company in my apartment. A Web designer in my neighborhood was one of my first clients. Having worked in the creative industry, I knew how to work with creative people and enjoy the collaboration. Eight years ago, as I was expanding my business, I got in contact with Media Temple, which was then headed by two people, and we merged.
Financing: When I first started my business, I depended on my savings account. After my initial company was acquired by Media Temple, we built the business through small amounts of loans and various equity funds. We bill our customers in advance so that we can operate and buy servers. Now we finance through the cash flow of the business.
Big Breaks: It wasn’t a single event. The big break for the company was when our services were accepted by the creative community.
Biggest Challenge: Effective communication. We are running a 24/7 company that never turns off. There’s no holiday for Web hosting. It’s really exciting and challenging to build an organization on the same page all the time.
Secret of Success: We keep our business simple and relevant. Often times in the technology world, companies offer things that their customers are not asking for. We listen to our customers and accommodate them with 24/7 service and innovative products. Some people call us the Apple of the Web hosting industry. Like Apple did, we figured out how to make technology easy to use and enjoyable to work with.
Sage Advice: Common sense. I see a big difference in traditionally trained business people and untraditionally trained people. I am one of the people who did not have a traditional business background. That’s what makes me question the traditional business practice all the time.