Three companies in the greater Princeton business community have made this year’s list of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies, featured in the magazine’s September issue.
The annual list, first run in 1982, ranks the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., and are the top 10 percent of its list of 5,000 companies.
Rankings are determined based on companies’ percentage revenue growth over the last three years. In order to qualify, companies must be located in the United States, privately held, and independent as of December 31 of the last year measured. Revenue in the initial year must have been at least $200,000, and revenue in the most recent year must have been at least $2 million. Companies listed this year include:
Listed at number 68 on the Inc. 500 list is CardCash.com, located at 319 Route 130 in East Windsor. The company buys people’s unwanted gift cards, and it also sells gift cards at a discounted price from their face value.
According to Inc., the company has 11 employees and realized $6.5 million in revenue in 2011. Its three-year growth is 3,745.5 percent.
The company was founded in 2008 by childhood friends Elliott Bohm and Marc Ackerman, according to a profile by Inc. The idea for the company occurred to Bohm after the holidays in 2008, when he found himself with numerous gift cards, and he didn’t want to be limited to shopping at the stores that issued them.
Instead he wanted cold, hard, cash — but getting rid of his cards was easier said than done. Stores won’t give you money for gift cards, and it was difficult to sell them on eBay. He found that although the market for a card exchange was large, it was also filled with scam artists who would sell cards that had already been redeemed.
Bohm and Ackerman researched the market and found that nearly $9 billion in gift card dollars goes unspent each year — about 10 percent of the money spent annually on gift cards. They decided to start an internet-based business that would take advantage of the secondary gift card industry by establishing a secure, online marketplace.
Selling a gift card to CardCash.com will net between 70 to 90 percent of the face value, and buying cards can yield an even greater value. The average discount is 11 to 13 percent off face value.
For example, someone can purchase a Barnes and Noble gift card for a 12 percent discount — $15 cards can be purchased for $13.20, and $20 cards are listed at $17.60. Purchased cards are sent out in the mail and arrive in several days.
Sellers, meanwhile, mail in their cards and can choose to receive payment in several different forms — check, PayPal, direct deposit, or an Amazon gift card.
According to Inc., although CardCash.com is projected to earn $20 million in revenue in 2012, their success didn’t come without startup difficulties. The first iteration of its website — ABCGiftCards.com — had a 15 percent fraud rate and numerous competitors.
To combat the problem, the company devised a three-pronged approach to separate themselves from their competition as well as reduce buyer skepticism: eliminate fraud; focus on smaller margins and higher volume; and offer a high level of customer service.
CardCash.com extensively verifies and validates every card it sells, and offers a 45-day buyer protection guarantee. They have been given an “A” rating by the Better Business Bureau.
The company says that if a card turns out to be fraudulent, it will either replace the card or refund the purchase.
“If there is a balance discrepancy, we ask the customers to immediately contact customer service and we will investigate the matter,” says teh company website. “We have developed relationships with many of the major national retailers and they assist us in investigating when and where the balance may have been used.”
Bohm says that through CardCash’s thorough vetting process, the fraud rate has plummeted to below 1 percent. By buying cards directly and storing them at the office, CardCash established itself as a reliable service and helped to ease customer concerns.
With those hurdles behind them, Bohm said the company is now seeking venture capital that will allow it to grow and capture an even larger share of the market.
One goal is to digitize their services, which would allow them to do things like offering a mobile wallet of gift cards, for example.
“We’re only tapping into a fraction of the industry,” Bohm said. “There is definitely a lot of room for growth.”
CardCash Inc., 319 Route 130, Suite 123, East Windsor 08520; 800-227-4214; Elliott Bohm and Marc Ackerman, co-founders. www.cardcash.com.
Zenosys, ranked at number 199, is a technology consulting firm whose United States operation is based on Route 27 in Kendall Park. It also has locations in Canada and India.
Services offered include technology assessment; network implementation; application management; and application profiling.
According to the company’s website, clients select a team of professionals who work in shifts under the client’s command.
Zenosys USA, 3084 Route 27, Kendall Park 08824-1657; 888-406-2862. www.zenosys.com.
Atyeti, listed at number 270, is a global provider of information technology solutions and services located on Nassau Street. The company also has offices in Singapore and Hyderabad, India.
The company provides end-to-end services in enterprise data management, data warehousing, custom application development, infrastructure services and quality assurance testing.”
“We pride ourselves on delivering quantifiable value to our customers and consistently exceeding their expectations,” says the company on its website. “We achieve this by focusing on industry verticals where we have strong domain expertise.”
Atyeti, 247 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542; 609-921-9511; fax, 609-921-9514. www.atyeti.com.
Ranked at number 134 is Maestro Technologies, an IT, staffing, and infrastructure management firm, which recently moved from 707 Alexander Road to 510 Thornail Street in Edison.
Kamal Bathla, managing director, co-founded Maestro in 1993 as an Internet service provider. He developed the infrastructure and his partners ran Maestro while he started working at J.P. Morgan Chase as an independent IT consultant.
In 1998 Maestro turned into a consulting and IT solutions company after winning an independent contract from Goldman Sachs. From 1998 to 2007 it was a consulting company with only three or four contracts.
Bathla, who holds a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a master’s in computer science from SUNY Buffalo, eventually became a senior vice president at JP Morgan and was part of a round of executives offered a buyout a few years ago. The firm acquired Brahma Infotech in 2011 for an undisclosed sum and operated from Brahma’s former office at 707 Alexander Road.
Maestro Technologies, 510 Thornail Street, Suite 375, Edison 08837; 908-458-8600; fax, 732-902-6755. Kamal Singh Bathla, managing director. www.maestro.com.