Inc. 500 - another search for security companies


Yep, the Inc. 500 list is out again, tracking the fastest-growing small companies and drawing attention to little guys that may never be heard from again.

Here’s the analysis of security firms on the list from last year.

Same basic story this year: Not a whole lot of physical security firms on the list, which can be for a number of reasons. Sure, it could be because not many security firms have grown very fast. But it could also be that security firms tend to be conservative in nature and not spread their private revenue numbers far and wide. Or it could be that they just weren’t/aren’t paying attention to Inc.

It strikes me that most security guys are SECURITY guys, and not your average businessmen. Most security guys I know don’t give a rat’s ass about Wall Street and the “business world.”

But I’m sure landing on the Inc. 500 feels pretty good, and you likely get some calls from venture and PE guys sniffing around for an investment opportunity. Exacq are definitely psyched about landing on the list this year, chiming in at #173. Or maybe they’re just psyched about growing 1,642 percent over three years, going from basically nowhere to $9.7 million last year.

From their blog:

Thanks again to all of the employees at Exacq, to our sales channel, and especially to our customers. This is quite an honor.

So, anyone else we know on the list? This year they’ve broken “security” out as a category, so it’s a little easier to search, but it’s still a little murky.

LifeLock is listed as “security,” but I don’t think anyone would consider them part of the security industry. (I’m also truly baffled that they put up $131.4 million in revenue last year. Their scare-based advertisements work, apparently.)

In fact, one would think security was dominating the list, when you see Ciphent at #16, Foreground Security at #18, and NetWitness at #21. Only the ambiguous “Government Services” sector (which for some reason I just find kind of de facto sleazy) has as much representation in the top 21.

But, of course, those are all data security companies.

Then you’ve got to go all the way down to #116 for Anakam, which does identity management, which has some bleed over into physical security, and will start to bleed over a lot more, in my opinion, but which still is not “physical security,” by any stretch.

Nor is WebSafe Shield at #119.

In fact, Exacq, at #173, is top dog in physical security. Good for Exacq, certainly, but does it give anyone in the industry pause that there’s no one ahead of them? With the hot video surveillance, and hosted video, and even the many new offerings in home security (DIY and otherwise), there’s no hot new security company near the top of this list?

Again, could just be a lack of participation, but these kinds of lists can be good for attracting capital and talent, so it would behoove the industry to participate just a little.

For instance, Reveal (#224) grew fast enough to get snapped up by SAIC.

The first integrator, Security By Design, checks in at #313, and this should definitely be good exposure for them.

From their profile:

Security By Design provides security and fire alarm services, including project consultation, system design, installation, construction and project management, national maintenance services, software, hardware, technical support, and systems integration.

I’m certainly going to give them a call.

I thought Vigilant, at #341 was a VMS company, but they’re not. Hmm. They call themselves security monitoring, but they monitor data security, which is clearly different than how we use that terminology.

At #479 is online security product retailer Brickhouse Security, who’ve done a nice job marketing themselves, even if they’re a bit low-brow. $12.3 million is pretty good business, but I don’t think many of you guys are competing with them for nanny-cam sales.

Here’s what they list for products: “from locks, cameras, and baby monitors to tracking devices, night vision goggles, stun guns, and spy gear.”

And that’s it for the top 500. I’m not going through the whole 5000, but you’re welcome to. Feel free to point out companies I should be paying attention to.

Again, is it a big deal that security isn’t well represented? No. But would it be nice if security were? Yeah, I think so.


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<p class="comment_author">August 24th, 2010 at 4:44 pm</p>
<div class="comment_text">
<p>Seems like a SECURITY guy or two should go out and get an MBA, maybe we&rsquo;d have more companies on the Fortune 500. Also, maybe our marketing wouldn&rsquo;t suck.</p>