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This week, Deloitte announced the 2012 Technology Fast 500, an annual ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Award winners were selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2007 to 2011.

Spongecell Founder and CEO, Ben Kartzman, accepting the 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Award in New York City on Thursday, November 14, 2012.

We’re thrilled that one of Safeguard’s partner companies, Spongecell, ranked #28 in North America, and #2 in the Greater New York area, having demonstrated 6325% revenue growth between 2007 and 2011. Congratulations to Founder and CEO, Ben Kartzman and the entire team at Spongecell for their continued passion and dedication to building a great company.

Now, reflecting back, those were five tough years! Two presidential elections, a financial crisis, a global recession, lingering unemployment, a tough credit market, a debt crisis, and global capital markets in disarray.

Safeguard Scientifics’ CEO Emeritus, Peter J. Boni, delivered the keynote speech at the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Awards ceremony in Philadelphia, which was hosted at Quorum at the University City Science Center. He touched upon some common themes and critical factors, which many of the Deloitte honorees exemplify, that drove revenue growth during those five tough years to be between 128% and 279,684%. So how did these companies do it?!

Here’s a recap:

While persistence at the top has provided a solid base on which to build a business, we’ve also learned that it takes more to create a successful organization, motivate employees, and lead a company forward. Here are five principles that are critical to building a successful business:

  1. People — A good leader understands that s/he doesn’t know everything. These companies have all built teams comprised of the best of the best who have a diverse set of skills that has accelerated growth and enhanced value for employees, customers and shareholders.  
  2. Collective Energy, Shared Vision — A collaborative effort yields far better results than anything an individual can do alone. High-performance decision making happens at all levels if the mission and the goals are well articulated. 
  3. Strategy — Promoting a sense of teamwork and focus, constantly building others’ motivation to help achieve a company’s goals. 
  4. Success, Redefined — The dynamics of the external environment always changes. These companies continue to assess and reevaluate the changes in the external environment, then alter positioning based upon what is observed. In parallel, they continue to refine and refocus what success means.
  5. Bold Execution — By acting definitively and approaching the marketplace with a “take no prisoners” attitude, these companies have cemented their strategic position and in turn, offer their teams clarity and focus. They’ve clearly defined their goals and streamlined their actions around their critical success factors.

Through it all, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 companies saw an opportunity to change the world, and create some jobs along the way. Congratulations to this year’s winners!