Business 2.0 ran a scan to determine the 10 fastest-growing tech companies, according to the following criteria:
● publicly traded on a U.S. stock exchange for at least three years
● market capitalization of at least $50 million
● positive operating cash flow over the past 12 months
● growth in revenue (20% weight in the scan) , profit (20%) , and operating cash flow (40%) during the past three years
● 12-month stock return as of Dec. 31, 2005 (20%)
Here were the top ten, with Business 2.0's quick take on 'why it's hot':
1. aQuantive (AQNT)
In just a few years, it's become the No. 2 online ad-industry conglomerate behind Digitas (No. 54). In 2004 it acquired Razorfish, combining it with its Avenue A agency to double sales of marketing services.
2. Hologic (NASDAQ:HOLX)
Its scanners detect osteoporosis and breast cancer better than older film-based equipment. Hologic had a $140 million order backlog in 2005.
3. Talx (TALX)
HR staffers hate the chore of verifying employment and income for lenders and landlords, so they're increasingly outsourcing the job to Talx.
4. Quality Systems (NASDAQ:QSII)
Hospitals and dentists are switching from paper to software to track patient records and slash costs. Its new PDA syncs clinics with main offices.
5. SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK)
When the iPod's success cut into its sales of memory chips to makers of MP3 players, SanDisk started making its own. It's now the No. 2 U.S. player. More than 150,000 retailers sell its memory cards for digital cameras.
6. Neoware Systems (NWRE)
Sales of "thin client" PCs that offload processing to central servers are growing 23 percent a year. No. 4 PC maker Lenovo resells them for Neoware.
7. Par Technology (NASDAQ:PTC)
It's the market leader in order-taking systems for restaurants, including 11,000 McDonald's. High-margin software sales led to a recent profit surge.
8. Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG)
Talk about a reversal of fortune: Sales are booming, thanks to thalidomide, a drug banned for decades for causing birth defects. Celgene pioneered it as a top treatment for leprosy and multiple myeloma.
9. Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL)
2005 was another banner year for Steve Jobs & Co., as Apple introduced the $199 iPod Nano and the $499 Mac Mini computer. The debuts helped add $6.4 billion to sales without putting a dent in profit margins.
10. Schick Technologies (Pending:SCHK)
Its digital X-rays can cut radiation exposure by 80 percent compared with film systems. Sales growth outpaces profits because of slim margins.