QuickMobile, Sojern Among Fastest-Growing Travel Tech Companies

Deloitte this week issued its annual 2013 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest-growing North American firms in the technology, media, telecom, life sciences and clean technology sectors. A number of travel- or meetings-related companies made the list, including QuickMobile, ranked highest among them at 21st.

Rankings are based on percentage revenue growth between 2008 and 2012, a number that for QuickMobile stood at an eye-popping 10,444 percent. [That paled in comparison, though, to the top-ranked company, Rocket Fuel, a Redwood City, Calif.-based advertising technology firm with a four-year revenue growth rate of 208,897 percent.]

One of 61 Canadian companies to make the list, QuickMobile has been building lots of meetings apps. In May it secured a C$3.2 million in another round of financing, and CEO Patrick Payne at the time told BTN the funds would support what he described as the company's rapid growth. In July, QuickMobile opened a London office to support customers and partners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

It's not the only meetings tech firm on the list. Others include Cvent, the now publicly traded company that is leading the strategic meetings management space and notched four-year revenue growth of 2,193 percent; and The Active Network, which this year experienced management changes and agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Active between 2008 and 2012 grew revenues by 142 percent.

Travel (and related) reservation system providers on this year's Deloitte Fast 500 include San Francisco-based OpenTable (ranked 398th with four-year revenue growth of 189 percent), which operates an online restaurant reservations and review service, and Priceline, which at 415th posted a 179 percent jump in revenues during the examined timeframe.

The payment and expense area is represented by Chrome River Technologies, a Los Angeles-based provider of online expense reporting and invoice management services that ranked 81st (four-year revenue growth of 2,319 percent); and Payoneer (ranked 147th with 905 percent growth) a New York firm that claims to enable "easy and safe global payments, using prepaid MasterCard, as well as money transfer services worldwide."

Other travel-related companies on the list include San Francisco-based Sojern (ranked 60th, with four-year revenue growth of 3,811 percent) which bills itself as a "data-driven traveler engagement platform" delivering "marketing, distribution, monetization and insight solutions" to lots of big-name travel suppliers; inflight broadband Internet service provider Gogo (ranked 197th, four-year revenue growth of 535 percent); and Toronto-based GuestLogix (ranked 375th, 204 percent revenue growth), which facilitates onboard and other ancillary revenue transactions.

As one would expect, several mobility companies made the list, including Atlanta-based AirWatch (ranked 119th, revenue growth of 1,278 percent), which describes itself as a provider of "enterprise-grade mobile device management, mobile application management and mobile content management solutions." It claims 8,500 customers.

A few other notables include Salesforce (ranked 378th, 203 percent revenue growth), vacation rental firm HomeAway (ranked 329th, 241 percent growth) and even BlackBerry (ranked 368th, 207 percent revenue growth).

Of all the companies on the 2013 list, 58 percent have received venture capital funding and 59 percent are private, which according to Deloitte is the highest number of private companies to make this list in its 19-year history.

"We are in the midst of the hottest IPO market since 2007, and the hottest sectors for IPOs remain IT industries like the cloud, enterprise software, Internet and healthcare IT and corresponding services," according to a statement attributed to James Atwell, national managing partner of the Emerging Growth Company Practice within Deloitte Services LP.

The software sector led with 241 of the 500 listed companies, or 48 percent, followed by biotechnology/pharmaceutical and Internet (each 12 percent) and communications/networking (9 percent).

"New technologies like cloud and software-as-a-service are at the forefront of the exponential growth we are seeing in software companies," according to Eric Openshaw, vice chairman and Deloitte's U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader. "The growth is beyond revenue, with SaaS and cloud technologies allowing software companies to pop up in locations outside of your major tech hubs with workers no longer tethered to a physical workplace. As these technologies become more widely adopted, we expect that other technology sectors will begin to embrace them, and that will be reflected in our ranking."

Unsurprisingly, the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay area was best-represented, with 103 companies from this year's list based there, while California overall claimed 166 spots. The New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area accounted for 45 companies, followed by Boston (37), the Washington, D.C. area (33) and Los Angeles (31)

The ranking is based on submitted nominations and Deloitte research. To be eligible, a company "must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company's operating revenues," Deloitte explained. "Companies must have base-year (2008) operating revenues of at least $50,000 (U.S. or Canadian) and current-year (2012) operating revenues of at least $5 million (U.S. or Canadian)."

Deloitte also suggested that listed companies "are on the cutting edge and are transforming the way we do business."

See the complete list here.