Just weeks after CNBC named Virginia America’s Top State for Business, the sheer number of companies on the 2019 Inc. magazine 5000 list demonstrates why the Richmond region and the state of Virginia are perfect locations where entrepreneurship thrives and innovative businesses succeed.

The Richmond region posted its strongest showing in recent years on the Inc. magazine 5000 list, which is ranked by the revenue growth in the past three years, of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Virginia ranked fifth among the states in the number of companies on this year’s list with 295 companies and 42 being located in Greater Richmond.

Leading Virginia’s list of 295 is the Hanover County-based firm Connected Solutions Group, who ranked in the Top 10 companies. Connected Solutions Group is a wireless hardware distributor and re-seller built to provide cost-effective solutions for large volume device deployments. It was the No. 8 overall company on Inc.’s list with a three-year revenue growth rate of 12,701%. Headed by Michael Pittman, the innovative 4-year-old firm reported a revenue of $23.3 million in 2018 and was Inc.’s highest-ranked telecommunications company.

Other top-ranking local firms include West Creek Financial and CapTech Ventures. Glen Allen-based West Creek Financial is a financial services company who ranked No. 65 overall with a revenue growth rate of 4,405% and $89.7 million in revenue. Richmond-based CapTech Ventures is a 22-year-old IT management firm who has made Inc.’s 5000 list for the 13th time.

Jay Markiewicz, executive director of entrepreneurship programs at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business said, “These results legitimize the efforts of the community and founders/owners as we all work together to make Richmond, Virginia, a commitment to business success.”

“The increase of Richmond companies on the Inc. 5000 reflects how successful and innovative businesses are in Greater Richmond and demonstrates our entrepreneurship community is thriving throughout the region,” said GRP President and CEO Lara Fritts.

See how the Richmond region ranks in other high-level business categories here.

Below are the local RVA firms on the Inc. 5000, their rank, three-year growth rate, and revenue for 2018:

  • 8: Connected Solutions Group; 12,701%; $23.3 million
  • 27: FITT Scientific; 7,329%; $15.8 million
  • 65: West Creek Financial; 4,405%; $89.7 million
  • 435: CarLotz; 1,044%; $38.5 million
  • 516: Spinnaker Consulting Group, 850%; $6.1 million
  • 518: Vape Guys; 845%; $3.8 million
  • 560: Employdrive; 794%; $2 million
  • 715: Gather Workspaces; 613%; $2.2 million
  • 1051: Shockoe.com; 399%; $4.1 million
  • 1100: Swig; 381%; $17.7 million
  • 1156: WealthForge; 359%; $23.5 million
  • 1331: The Jenny Maraghy Team; 310%; $2.5 million
  • 1349: Old Dominion Mechanical; 306%; $4.4 million
  • 1370: DJB Hospitality Holding Co./Sedona Taphouse Restaurants; 301%; $30.1 million
  • 1450: The Hilb Group; 285%; $141.7 million
  • 1711: Need Supply Co.; 238%; $36.3 million
  • 1852: Executive Placements; 219%; $2.8 million
  • 1932: ProfitOptics; 207%; $8.1 million
  • 2099: Conserva Irrigation Franchising; 191%; $36.5 million
  • 2102: Cava Companies; 191%; $7.9 million
  • 2401: Practice Promotions; 167%; $4.5 million
  • 2417: C&S Communications; 165%; $7.6 million
  • 2571: Capital Square 1031; 153%; $68.3 million
  • 2882: Triumph Services; 130%; $3.2 million
  • 3031: Decisiv; 122%; $19 million
  • 3233: Averhealth; 112%; $17.8 million
  • 3279: Dominion Payroll; 110%; $17.7 million
  • 3344: Brandito; 107%; $6.6 million
  • 3421: NetSearch Digital Marketing; 103%; $5.6 million
  • 3436: Mosquito Squad; 103%; $61.7 million
  • 3559: The Branding Agency Powered by Proforma; 98%; $6.1 million
  • 3707: 37th Parallel Properties; 93%; $4.8 million
  • 3858: CapTech Ventures; 86%; $192.4 million
  • 3877: Canal Capital Management; 86%; $2.9 million
  • 4073: Allied Instructional Services; 79%; $7 million
  • 4206: TK Promotions; 74%; $2.9 million
  • 4305: Solvaria; 71%; $4.1 million
  • 4451: Taradel; 67%; $18.1 million
  • 4486: Baskervill; 66%; $23.7 million
  • 4575: Morton; 64%; $12.8 million
  • 4772: Career Support Systems; 59%; $4 million
  • 4889: Timmons Group; 56%; $86.4 million

According to the top rating agencies, the Greater Richmond counties are in the top 1% for bond assurances in the United States. Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico are triple AAA rated, meaning they have received the highest credit rating from each of the major rating agencies in the U.S.

Only 47 counties nationwide are triple AAA rated, and 10 of them are in Virginia. This is the highest amount of triple AAA counties in any state, followed by Maryland with eight and North Carolina with five. The Greater Richmond Region has one of the highest concentrations of triple AAA credit ratings of Metro Statistical Areas (MSA) in the U.S., alongside Maryland’s Baltimore MSA and the Washington, D.C., MSA.

Municipalities rely on esteemed third-party entities to provide credit ratings, research, and risk analyses to assist them in making timely decisions regarding debt strategies for bonds. It is important for a municipality to be aware of its current financial stability and outlook to remain in good financial standing while receiving and repaying its bonds.

The three top entities that issue bond ratings are Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. Each has nine different ratings for bonds issued nation-wide. At Moody’s, the top three highest are Aaa, followed by Aa and then A. Numerical markers may be added to ratings Aa through Caa to further specify rankings, with 1 being highest. Aaa is defined as “of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.” Standard & Poor’s and Fitch issue assessments with slightly different ranking labels: AAA is the highest ranking on both service’s scales. Should a municipality receive an AAA rating from each of the rating entities—an achievement for only the top performing municipalities—it is considered triple AAA.

City of Richmond

The City of Richmond maintains an overall rating of Aa2 from Moody’s and received an Aa2 rating with a positive outlook for its 2018 GO Public Improvement Bonds. In 2017, the rating of Aa2 was awarded to each of its GO bonds.

Both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch issued AA+ ratings on the City of Richmond’s 2018 GO Public Improvement bonds and Issuer Default Rating. With this rating, Fitch stated, “The AA+ IDR and GO bonds rating reflect the city’s sound operating performance, solid growth prospects for revenue, unlimited legal authority to adjust revenue, and moderate long-term liability burden — all of which are supported by a growing economic base.”

Chesterfield

Approximately 1% of counties nationwide have received a triple AAA credit designation, and Chesterfield is one of them. A county assigned AAA rating from each of the three credit ranking agencies—Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch—is considered triple AAA credit status.

The county has maintained triple AAA ratings in GO bonds since 1997, one from each rating agency. Moody’s said that Chesterfield’s 2018 Aaa rating for the county and GO bonds “reflects the county’s favorably located, sizable, and diverse tax base, as well as its regional importance in the economy; strong financial operations guided by sound fiscal guidelines; and an elevated but manageable debt position.”

The scores from Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings were still AAA in 2018 for the county and GO bonds, which “reflect the county’s robust financial management” today.

Hanover

Also among the 1% of counties nationwide to have receive the triple AAA credit designation is Hanover. Moody’s ranks Hanover County as Aaa with a stable outlook as of 2015 and assigned Aaa ratings to its 2015 General Obligation (GO) bonds. GO bonds fund government projects that will improve the local communities, and a municipality may use any revenue source to repay the bond.

Fitch rated Hanover County as AAA overall and for its GO bonds in 2018, with a stable outlook, and Standard & Poor’s also rated the county as AAA. Fitch said the assigned AAA rating reflects “the county’s notable financial flexibility, lack of legal limitations on taxing its growing property base, and low debt levels.”

Henrico

Henrico County has recently earned an Aaa bond rating and stable outlook from Moody’s for its upcoming 2019 water and sewer revenue bond issue, making it one of 12 localities in the country to receive the company’s highest possible rating for water & sewer. Chesterfield County also received this Aaa status in 2016.

Moody’s announced that “the Aaa rating reflects the system’s dynamic service area” and “a healthy financial performance with a narrower liquidity position due to support of the system’s capital program, ample water supply and capacity, manageable leverage, and satisfactory legal provisions.”

Henrico County has held Aaa and AAA ratings for GO bonds from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s since 1977—becoming one of the first counties in the nation to receive the highest bond rating at that time—and from Fitch since 1998. This triple AAA credit status ranks it among the 1% of counties with that designation alongside Hanover and Chesterfield.

Henrico will be issuing $77.2 million in water and sewer revenue bonds for system improvements in 2019, and the bond rating reassures this action. Henrico has maintained the AAA rating for water and sewer bonds from both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings since 2009.

Supported by strong state ratings

Virginia has a triple AAA overall credit rating and contains the highest amount of triple AAA rated counties out of all the states. There are only 47 total triple AAA rated counties out of 3,007 total counties nationwide. Approximately 20% of those 47 are in Virginia.

Along with its 2019 Aaa rating and stable outlook, Moody’s concluded that “Virginia’s Aaa rating reflects a stable economy with a sizeable federal government presence, a long history of conservative financial management, comprehensive debt and pension management practices, and a strong governance structure.” Each of Virginia’s specific bond outlooks, such as Transportation Revenue, School Financing, and Public Facilities are Aa1 or higher for 2019. Virginia also has a stable outlook and AAA ratings on its current and projected GO bonds with Fitch and Standard and Poor’s.

These consistently high ratings in Virginia and the counties of Greater Richmond highlight the stability and reliability of the region’s infrastructure improvements for long term prosperity.

 
Learn about Greater Richmond's rankings

The Greater Richmond Partnership is continually on the road, visiting with prospects and attending industry-specific conferences and tradeshows to bring new capital investment and jobs to the region. In the last few weeks, the team partnered with local economic development offices on two marketing missions: Hannover Messe and BrewExpo.

Olga Molnar and Micah Kemp
GRP’s Olga Molnar and Henrico County’s Micah Kemp at the Hannover Messe tradeshow.

Last month, Vice President of Global Investment Olga Molnar attended the Hannover Messe/CeMAT tradeshow with Henrico County Economic Development Authority’s Micah Kemp. Hannover Messe is one of the largest tradeshows in the world, with a total of 5,800 exhibitors and 210,000 attendees from 75 countries.

The 4th industrial revolution (artificial intelligence, machine learning, e-mobility, etc.) was on full display. As the Chairman of the German Engineering Federation Thilo Brodtmann said, “Hannover Messe is where the future of industry is discussed and presented…” For those who would like to have a glimpse into the future, there is no better tradeshow than this.

The team met with many of our existing companies as well as potential investors. The team also attended SelectUSA’s reception which drew a number of international advisors and consultants.

The Hannover Messe was followed by a two-day marketing mission. The team met with several companies that are considering opening a facility in the U.S., including the Richmond Region. We also spoke with industry leaders and consultants who shared their insights into what drives German companies to expand to foreign markets.

On this side of the pond, GRP’s Rowena Fratarcangelo and Hanover County Economic Development’s Susan Deusebio attended BrewExpo, the trade show connected to the annual Craft Brewers Conference, in Nashville, Tenn.

GRP’s Rowena Fratarcangelo and Hanover County’s Susan Deusebio at the BrewExpo.

More than 700 companies from 13 countries and 44 states exhibited at the trade show. Products ranged from Adhesives to Yeast Supply. The Richmond Region’s purpose in attending was to connect with vendors and suppliers that would be interested in having a location in Greater Richmond to serve the growing craft beverage industry in the region, state, and along the East Coast. Educating potential prospects about the many business advantages of Greater Richmond – as well as educating ourselves on industry trends – can prove invaluable.

Rowena and Susan also visited with numerous Richmond-area companies that were exhibiting, giving them the chance to say hello, express appreciation for their presence in the region, and get updates on how things are going with their business and customers.