High Achievers

November saw the annual Deloitte Fast 50 Awards which celebrate the Island’s fastest growing technology companies. As with previous years, companies from the North made up circa 30% of the companies receiving a placing. Within this year’s cadre of winners there are a number of interesting common underlying themes such as:

  • 8 of the 14 Northern companies placed in the awards have received venture capital backing
  • 4 of the 8 with venture backing has Crescent Capital as an investor; and of the three companies from Northern Ireland that have featured in the Fast 50 awards consistently over the past 5 years, two of them feature Crescent Capital as a backer
  • investee company, Andor Technology Plc, is one of only three to feature in the competition since it started.

Companies backed by Crescent Capital in this year’s Fast 50 were Lagan Technologies, Audio Processing Technology, Andor Technology and Fusion Antibodies. Commenting on this year’s results, Colin Walsh, Crescent Capital’s CEO, says “I congratulate all this year’s winners and in particular those companies that count Crescent Capital as an investor. It is no coincidence that there is a strong correlation between market success, scale of ambition and venture capital. A number of this year’s winners are becoming significant businesses and are amongst the vanguard of a vibrant indigenous technology sector with critical mass in Northern Ireland.”

The Deloitte Fast 50’s measure of success is sales growth. Hal Wilson of Crecsent Capital comments “we view sales growth as vital to a company’s success; it evidences market engagement for the smaller company and increasing market uptake for products and services for the more mature company.”

The true measure of success in terms of using sales growth as a yardstick is consistent performance. In this regard two of Crescent Capital’s companies featuring on the list show a fantastic history of sales growth over a number of years.

As shown Lagan Technologies and APT have enviable recent records of substantial growth in their sales levels. On this, Hal Wilson says, “we are seeing that our more successful companies are capable of achieving consistent growth rates of between 40 and 50%. This level of achievement is considerable and brings to the fore the scale of ambition in these businesses. We believe that ongoing investment in each teams’ management capabilities is key to unlocking these levels of growth.”

Commenting on Lagan Technologies’ inclusion in the 2007 Fast 50 awards, Des Speed, CEO, says “we are once again delighted to be included in this prestigious group of companies for the sixth year running. This award, in conjunction with our recent placing in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 for the third consecutive year, is a further endorsement of our established position within our chosen markets.”

Des Speed, CEO of Lagan Technologies and Hal Wilson of Crescent Capital Des Speed, CEO of Lagan Technologies and Hal Wilson of Crescent Capital

Noel McKenna, CEO of APT, adds “we are pleased to be included in this year’s Deloitte Fast 50 Awards. APT is an ambitious company with a committed team. We continue to grow strongly and are constantly raising the bar as to what scale of business we might ultimately be.”

About APT

Formed in 1989, APT has established itself at the forefront of its field, successfully developing and marketing industry-leading audio compression solutions. apt-X® algorithms have earned a reputation throughout the audio industry worldwide as the ultimate high-quality, low-delay audio data compression techniques available and are licensed to many of the world’s most prestigious OEMs in the broadcast and professional audio industry, security organisations and the consumer audio industry. APT have also developed the WorldNet series of hardware audio codecs which incorporate apt-X® compression technology.

Headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland, APT has sales offices in Japan, Germany and the USA. APT distributes its products and technology through its direct sales force as well as through a network of specialised distribution partners in over 30 countries throughout Europe, North America and Asia.

About Lagan

Lagan specialises in providing software solutions to governments worldwide, and currently has over 150 public sector customers. With more than 250 personnel across a number of locations globally, the company’s revenue has increased by an average of 65% per annum since 2000.

Lagan’s Enterprise Case Management approach enables Governments to drive process efficiencies, ensures public services are more citizen-centric and facilitates joined-up working between government departments and across wider public sector organisations.

The company is already the leading provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to Local Government worldwide and is growing rapidly in a number of other target markets, including Customer Contact Centres, Case Management, Shared Services and Social Services in the UK as well as Human and Social Services and the Single Non Emergency Number 311 markets in the US.

Founded in 1994 as a private company, Lagan’s headquarters are in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with offices in Newbury, UK and Washington DC and Chicago, USA.