Thoughts on the Inc Magazine 500 CEO Survey


| September 12, 2013 | in

Hopefully everyone has heard that Nebraska’s own Hudl was named to Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.

Hudl and Inc. Magazine

Major props to their team for their extremely hard work and smart choices (and a little bit of luck) during the last seven years. Hopefully, you’ll see us on the list in the next few years as we become eligible.

Along with the list, Inc. surveyed the CEOs of those 500 companies and showed some pretty interesting and, for a young entrepreneur, eye-opening stats. Here are some highlights.

It’s tough

According to 15% of CEOs, they worked more than 100 hrs/week the first year. I think this is a lie. Maybe they were “at the office” that much, but I doubt it was pure work. Work/life balance is extremely important. That said, startups are definitely Hard Work.

It takes time

How long does it take for them to get an idea to market? Only 27% did it in less than one month, 46% in 1-5 months, 22% in 6-12 months, and 5% took more than a year.

It takes great people

What “contributes to your company’s ability to innovate”? Retaining great talent leads with 77%. Recruiting great talent is third with 72%.

It’s sadly non-diverse

What does the average CEO of these companies look like? White, male, married, and over 35. Is the age surprising? I know, I watched The Social Network too. I thought they were all college dropouts, under 25, and in hoodies.

It’s not out of reach

Most people used less than $10,000 to start their business. Of this, 71% was from their savings. A mere 6% was from venture capital. Again, just because all you hear about are VCs in the news doesn’t mean they’re the only source for money.

For me, the most encouraging statistic is the median age at which they started their first business: 26. There’s still hope! In fact, there’s always hope! What a young entrepreneur has in sheer working horsepower, an old veteran entrepreneur has in wisdom and experience.

It knows no borders

The top metro areas (most Inc. 500 companies per capita) may surprise you. San Antonio comes in first, followed by Boulder, Provo-Orem (Utah), and Austin. San Francisco comes in at #7.

There also must be something in their genes too with 43% having a parent who was an entrepreneur.

It’s important

These 500 companies have quite an impact on the economy. $14.1 billion in 2012 revenue and 44,912 jobs created in (2009-12).

Something to think about.

Also, there were some stats on Y Combinator, one of the most visible tech accelerators today. It has funded 564 companies, raised $1.7 billion, and has companies worth $11 billion. Take out Dropbox‘s $4 billion and Airbnb‘s $2.5 billion and it’s only $4.5 billion. Thirty-seven companies (6.6%) were valued at or sold for less than $40 million.

If you want to read more about the 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies, check out the September 2013 issue of Inc. Magazine (we have a copy in our lobby if you’re ever in the office).

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