The San Francisco Business Times annual Fast 100 list recognizes 100 businesses that share a common victory: being a part of the fastest-growing private companies in the Bay Area. San Francisco Business Times ranks these rising companies by their percent growth in revenue from fiscal years 2014 to 2016. The company with the highest growth on the list grew 1,484.8 percent over two years.

The 2016 overall combined revenue from all 100 powerhouse companies was $7.04 billion (Swinerton accounts for $3.66 billion of that), and the combined employee count for all companies was 16,546. The median growth rate was 127.21 percent.

These fast-growing businesses reflect a diverse and flourishing Bay Area economy. The winning companies span many industries, and include the region’s up-and-coming gaming companies, software developers, communications and marketing agencies, contractors and staffing firms, to name a few. The tech/IT industry once again dominates the list, making up around 31 percent of the companies. Construction and design and advertising/marketing are the next largest categories, making up 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

 

CleanFund Team at their Headquarters on the Sausalito waterfront

Insights About CleanFund’s Success.

The founders of CleanFund teamed up in 2008 to co-create the first PACE legislation in California, with their sights on the $60 billion commercial energy efficiency and solar market. Since forming in 2009, CleanFund’s growth has doubled year-over-year, contributing to over 25% of all commercial PACE (“C-PACE”) originations across the US. CleanFund’s C-PACE assets have grown over $100 million since 2009.  The company is closing in on their largest year-to-date, posting 4 times the origination volume as last year.

There have been a number of milestones for CleanFund over the past year:

  • Largest C-PACE Funding
  • Largest C-PACE Funding in Texas
  • Largest C-PACE Solar Project
  • Over $100 Million in originations
 

Q&A with Greg Saunders, Chief Executive Officer.

1. What’s been the biggest driver of your growth over the past few years?

The biggest driver of growth for CleanFund over the past few years has been hiring incredibly passionate, experienced and mission-oriented professionals to drive the growth of our company and of our industry. Also, we’ve been able to attract very supportive and strategic financial partners who share our vision for scaling a nationwide commercial PACE origination and securitization platform.

 

2. What can we expect from your company in the next year? 

CleanFund recently closed our initial funding under its $15M Series B Round, led by one of the most prestigious real estate investment managers in the country. We are enthusiastic to have investors of this caliber validate CleanFund’s progress, and the value that C-PACE financing can deliver for commercial property owners and investors. With this important first closing under our Series B round, CleanFund can more aggressively expand their nationwide reach and accelerate the company’s C-PACE origination software development. The company’s expansion efforts will include a number of initiatives:

  • New offices in new emerging markets, such as Texas and Florida where PACE is needed to help rebuild a sustainable infrastructure that can guard against future hurricane devastation.
  • Opening the PACE market in New York City, which recently passed legislation allowing this important financing technology. New York is a prime market, and is using both a “carrot and stick” approach to motivating property owners to improve building efficiency (e.g., with mandatory efficiency standards).
  • Capitalizing on a contraction in the debt markets. There is a widening gap between equity and debt, presenting a unique opportunity for PACE to be a more cost effective solution than mezzanine or preferred equity.
  • Expanding the CleanFund technology platform to enable scale in origination, and underwriting.

 

3. Are you planning to hire in the next 12 months? 

CleanFund will be adding a number of new professionals to its staff through year end, and through 2018 with an expected headcount approaching 50 nationwide.

 


 

Check out San Francisco Business Times slideshow to see each company’s growth rate from 2014 to 2016, top executive, headquarters, employee count and business description. Meet the Bay Area’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies of 2017

To qualify for the 2017 List, companies had to meet the following criteria:

  • Independent, privately held corporation, proprietorship, or partnership (not a subsidiary or division) through fiscal year-end 2016. Companies that went public or were acquired after the completion of fiscal year 2016 were eligible.
  • Headquartered in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo or Marin; or the city of Palo Alto.
  • A three-year sales history (fiscal years 2014, 2015, 2016).
  • The company must have been in business throughout fiscal year 2014 with net revenue (revenue less deductions for returns) of more than $200,000 in that year.
 

Companies were also required to provide financial documentation to Moss Adams LLP in order to verify revenue. For each fiscal year, companies submitted one of the following:

  • Audited financial statements.
  • Reviewed financial statements.
  • Corporate tax returns.
  • CPA or CMA-verified revenue numbers.

For each year, numbers had to be accounted for on a consistent basis — either cash or accrual. Moss Adams then reviewed the financial statements or tax returns, consistent with the requirements, to derive an accurate net revenue number for fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

 

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