From a company that manufactures natural supplements for pets to a coworking space with locations throughout the Baltimore-Washington metro area, 34 Maryland companies landed on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies in the mid-Atlantic region this year, including four in the top 10.
Starting in 1982 as the Inc. 500, Inc. Magazine expanded its list to encompass the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America in 2007. Later, in 2020, it started releasing regional lists that list around 150 of the fastest-growing private companies in separate regions of the country; the mid-Atlantic region includes Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, and this year included 131 honorees.
In second place this year, coming in just below a Virginia company specializing in IT human capital solutions, was a Baltimore-based personal finance company called Facet Wealth. Founded in 2016 by Anders Jones, the company aims to provide financial planning services to people and families whose finances are too complex to be managed by a computer alone but who aren’t at an asset level to afford a traditional financial planner.
Facet Wealth, which uses a hybrid model of technology and real-life financial planners to serve that population’s needs, is growing in every sense of the word. Not only did the company’s revenue grow 2,523% from 2018 to 2020 — the time period used to measure 2022’s regional lists — but it also grew its team from 75 employees pre-pandemic to 310 today, about 40% of whom Jones estimates are based in Baltimore.
According to Jones, most financial advisers do about three hours of prep work for every hour they spend with their clients, most of which involves simple-to-automate tasks like pulling data and building reports.
“Our tech is based around getting those three hours as close to zero as possible,” he said.
But having a human adviser available, too, is important to help clients weigh certain financial decisions, he noted: “As soon as you have a question about, ‘OK, I have a bonus, how do I think about allocating that between paying down debt versus putting it in the retirement account?’ That’s where a robo-adviser breaks down.”
The company says it is achieving its goals of helping young families and others who are just beginning to manage their finances; according to a company spokesperson, last year, the company helped 516 people retire securely, 208 families prepare to have a child, and 167 people buy a house. It also helped clients pay back a total of $340 million in debt.
Another Maryland business that topped the list, RestoraPet, also has the aim of improving the lives of its customers, not by enhancing their financial health but by enhancing the health of their furry friends. A pet supplement company that operates under a subscription model and sells directly to customers, RestoraPet grew 2,063% from 2018 to 2020, making it the third-fastest-growing private company in the region. The company also made the Inc. 5000 list in 2021, coming in at 218.
Inspired by the death of owner Brian Larsen’s childhood dog, a Siberian husky named Bandit, Larsen began producing natural, organic pet supplements aimed at visibly improving animal’s quality of life in 2014. Now, RestoraPet, which maintains a small team of only around 10 employees, offers nine different products.
“Some people find it morbid — Bandit’s ashes are in my office. But … it’s a reminder. We’re a very mission-driven organization, and you can’t cure the aging process, but what we say at RestoraPet is that we want to be a partner in achieving and maintaining wellness for pets,” Larsen said.
Larsen says his supplements stand out from others in the market because he and his team have worked to create the best possible product for improving pets’ quality of life, in contrast with some other supplement companies that largely use similar formulas and ingredients as one another. RestoraPet is also one of the only pet supplement companies that manufactures its own supplements.
That effort has been reflected in the feedback of his over 100,000 customers, some of whom have been buying from RestoraPet for years, who have reported that their pets experience improvements to mobility, flexibility, joint discomfort, energy levels, sleep function and more when taking RestoraPet’s products. Veterinarians have also endorsed the supplements.
“Because our relationship with our customers is predicated on this idea that there are visible benefits with our product, we kind of put our reputation out there, and then when people see a benefit, they’re very loyal,” he said.
Global Alliant, an IT consultancy based in Columbia, also made the list this year; the rapidly growing firm was No. 6 in the region after having reached No. 34 on the Inc. 5000 list in 2021. The company, which works with government agencies to improve their IT processes, was founded in 2017 by Rajan Natarajan and grew 1,171% from 2018.
Natarajan said that partnering with small businesses can be a huge boon for government agencies, as small businesses often have a hardworking, entrepreneurial mindset that encourages them to work harder to deliver for their clients.
“Small businesses really love to enhance the customer to the next level,” he said. “Every day we want to make a difference.”
Diaconia, an IT and management consulting firm based in College Park, also made the top 10 companies on the Mid-Atlantic list, coming in at No. 10.
Natarajan and Larsen both have deep ties to Maryland, while Jones moved to the state to start Facet Wealth, encouraged by the excitement that Baltimore seemed to foster for its growing entrepreneurial landscape.
“That bet paid off, and here we are,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Information provided to The Daily Record regarding Facet Wealth’s assistance to those in debt was incorrect in an earlier version of this story. It has been updated.