Financial Times: The Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies 2020

FT Fastest Growing Companies

Technology bolsters US dominance of the list, but coronavirus fallout looms large.

The inaugural FT Americas ranking comes at a perilous and uncertain time for many companies, as the coronavirus severely curtails economies, workforces and ultimately growth. Yet the ranking also highlights 500 businesses across the continent for whom innovation and creativity have paid off — attributes that will underpin resilience and enable many of them to thrive once the worst effects of the pandemic are behind them. 

The FT list was compiled with Statista, a research company, and ranks entrants from across the Americas by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2015 and 2018. The technology sector, led overwhelmingly by the US, accounts for a quarter of the overall list, followed by support services (9 per cent) and financial services (7 per cent). The ranking is not a reflection of the size of each country’s economy, but rather a function of the dynamism of a given market and, importantly, the willingness of its companies to be candid with their results. Brazil, for instance, featured fewer companies on the ranking than Colombia. Nearly nine in 10 on the overall list hail from the US and Canada alone. 

The top three companies include a developer of augmented reality and video games, a robotics and artificial intelligence company and an advertising business that enables publishers to auction online ad space in real-time. None of these companies — all from the US — had a 2015-18 compound annual growth rate below 600 per cent. So what insights can be gleaned from focusing on businesses that have been growing at hyper speed — especially when the coronavirus pandemic has just thrown economies across the globe into unprecedented turmoil, and even strong companies fear for their survival? 

Readers can use the toggles at the top of the table’s columns to filter by country, sector or revenue, helping to sharpen their impression of where high-growth businesses have flourished most. Investors can use the list as they research which companies are likely to prove resilient over the next couple of years. Switch from CAGR to 2018 revenues, for instance, and household names such a Tesla, Netflix, Uber and PayPal rise to the top of the table. These established businesses are also among a group of just 36 of the overall 500 that are listed on an exchange. 

As a sizeable chunk of fast-growing companies tend to be privately held and detailed financial information not made public, a ranking such as this can never claim to be complete. Yet the fact that about 90 per cent of the companies featured here are unlisted — and that the screening process was rigorous, with Nyla ranked 108 out of these 500 businesses — means the ranking offers readers a glimpse into the black box that is private companies.