Eleven Sonoma County companies made this year’s Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing businesses, as Sonoma’s natural jerky maker Krave Pure Foods led the locals with revenue growth of 4,632 percent over the last three years.
“This has been a magical experience,” Krave CEO Jon Sebastiani said of the company he founded in 2010. Krave already is the No. 2 jerky brand in U.S. grocery stores, he said, and its revenues this year are expected to be 300 percent higher than the $16.9 million reported for 2013.
Krave made its first appearance on the Inc. 5000 list released Wednesday, receiving a national ranking of 72.
So did five other newcomers in Sonoma County: Moore Heating and Air Conditioning, ranked 261, IQR Consulting, 2,955, and D.H. Charles Engineering, 4,574, all of Santa Rosa; Cannonball Wine Co. of Healdsburg, 4437; and First California Mortgage Co. of Petaluma, 4,958.
Rounding out the list were repeat honorees Three Twins Ice Cream of Petaluma, with a national ranking of 998. It was joined by VinoPRO, 2,107, and Humble Abode, 3,189, both of Santa Rosa; Cecchetti Wine Co. of Vineburg, 3,938; and ProTransport-1 of Cotati, 4,952.
A few weeks ago, Three Twins opened a second plant for its organic ice cream in Sheboygan, Wis. Founder Neal Gottlieb said the new facility will allow the 100-employee company to keep growing.
“We definitely missed a lot of sales this year because we were at capacity,” Gottlieb said.
Like Sebastiani, Gottlieb said his company is growing because of consumer demand for natural food products. Three Twins reported three-year growth of 448 percent and 2013 revenues of $6.7 million.
“I think they’re tired of not knowing where the ingredients come from,” Gottlieb said of consumers. “They want real things and they want to know the stories behind the food they put in their bodies.”
Sebastiani said the jerky and meat stick segment constitutes a $4 billion business “where four companies have 85 percent of that market.” To him, before Krave it also was “a very boring and stale category.”
“It’s easier for an innovator to come in and disrupt the category,” he said in explaining his company’s growth.
Krave now is turning to convenience stores and is launching in 7-Eleven locations nationwide. The company also recently produced an artisanal line of jerky exclusively for Whole Foods, with flavors such as “cabernet rosemary,” “chardonnay thyme” and “sesame ginger.”
At D.H. Charles Engineering, the company’s growth has come by offering all sorts of expertise in the niche field of construction engineering, said owner Jasper Calcara. Rather than designing bridges or other structures, the company helps contractors find ways to build them.
It has worked on more than a decade’s worth of projects surrounding the old and new spans of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It also has done work for Las Vegas’s High Roller, the world’s largest Ferris wheel, and on nearly 300 temporary structures erected for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
While many construction-related companies suffered during the Great Recession, Calcara said, “we’ve never had a year where we’re twiddling our thumbs.”
The company reported three-year growth of 56 percent and 2013 revenues of $4.3 million.
For Moore Heating and Air Conditioning, growth came by focusing on installing and replacing heating and air conditioning systems in existing homes.