Two Miami firms among magazine's 500 fastest-growing
By April M. Havens
Two Miami businesses have been ranked in the Inc. 500, a list of the nation's fastest-growing private businesses assembled by the business magazine.
Global Risk Solutions, a risk-consulting company that handles complex insurance claims, was ranked 16th, the magazine reported. Web site company Acceller, an online comparison shopping tool, was No. 54.
Global Risk Solutions helps insurance companies handle claims in natural disasters. The team has had 50 employees in New Orleans for two years in response to Hurricane Katrina, vice president Ross Gagliano said.
Founded in 2002, the company reported 2003 revenue of around $303,000. Revenue in 2006 totaled $13.7 million.
"There's been a lot of catastrophic losses lately," Mr. Gagliano said, noting those losses create a need for the firm's specialties and are "a big boost to our business."
In addition to natural disasters, the company also "represents insurance, multiple layers of insurance or even the responsible party," he said. "We also provide litigation support to handle loss and document loss. We do all the accounting and, if necessary, the forensic accounting involved in the claim."
Mr. Gagliano said he thinks the company has a lot of potential to grow. The company is expanding to include more computer forensics to secure its future.
"A lot of time the evidence needed to try a case involves getting information out of a computer," Mr. Gagliano said. "We are trying to grow the forensics business and are pretty optimistic."
The company has a lab on-site at its Miami office that can respond immediately if a law firm needs information quickly, he said.
Global Risk Solutions has about 20 full-time staffers and other employees who work on a project-to-project basis. In 2002, the firm had four full-time employees, Mr. Gagliano said. The company also now has a Sarasota office.
Acceller acts as a comparison shopping marketplace for digital services, according to Chairman and CEO Steven McKean. "We are to the digital services what Expedia is to the travel market," he said, referring to the popular travel and lodging Web site.
Customers can access Acceller's Web site to better understand their digital service choices ranging from fast-access Internet to telephone service and to learn how to set-up and use each service.
Acceller was founded in 1999 and grew in revenue from $437,000 in 2003 to $10.2 million in 2006. More than 20 million people have used the buytelco.net site since 2003, Mr. McKean said. The site offers services from companies such as Comcast, SBC, EarthLink and DirecWay.
Mr. McKean said the company's agility allows it to grow. "This market reinvents itself so quickly, so it's hard to envision where it'll be in 10 years," he said. "When you look at core principle of comparison shopping, I think we're pretty set. You just have to remain very agile in this market."
Since technology changes so rapidly, consumers are often confused about the best products or services for their homes and offices. Serving as a "one-stop shop" for all services and support keeps the company in business, Mr. McKean said.
"Evolution and confusion are our friend," he said, laughing.
To secure its future, the company will expand to include referrals for installation of digital equipment and services, he said. It will launch a new Web project in the coming weeks.
Unlike the dot-coms and Web companies of the previous decade, Acceller has no plans to go public, at least for now. But Mr. McKean said he does believe Acceller is being built to eventually be sold.
Today, though, he's just looking to the future success of the site.
"I believe we'll be the place to go when you you're trying to figure out digital lifestyle services," he said.