Deloitte, one of the Big 4 CPA firms, releases a list of the 500 fastest growing technology companies every year – Technology Fast 500. To be recognized as Technology Fast 500, companies need to own intellectual property that generates majority of the operating revenue. It looks at companies that have been in business for at least 5 years and have revenues of minimum $5 Million. It doesn’t matter if the companies are public or private, as long as they meet the criteria and are nominated, they have a fair shot at recognition.
My focus while skimming the list was on social media and internet companies and here’s what I found amongst other facts already mentioned in the report:
- Majority of fastest growing companies are in the West (LinkedIn, IMVU, Shutterfly, Tagged, Ooodle etc)
- Recent IPO darling LinkedIn’s revenue grew 2372% over 5-year period; overall it ranked 49th.
- Google is ranked 425th; revenue grew 176% over 5-year period.
- Facebook and Twitter not yet on the list.
I reached out to Deloitte to inquire why Facebook wasn’t on the list. That’s because according to publicly available data, it has had revenues since 2006 and if I use the formula [(FY’2010 revenue – FY’2006 revenue)/ FY’2006 revenue] x 100, used by Deloitte for 5-year growth percentage, I get 3746%.
In response, I was told by the Facebook page administrator, “Private companies must self-nominate themselves to be part of the program. To my knowledge, Facebook has never submitted a nomination form or the supporting documentation, and the selection team would not base revenue numbers off of a Wikipedia page. Interestingly, you’ll notice Facebook is also not listed on the Inc. 500 list.”
That explains why Facebook is not on the list but it still doesn’t make sense that a company that strives on selling personal information would be so secretive about its own growth. Most figures on Wikipedia page happen to be pure speculation based on market data that is not really verifiable.