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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Emerging Rockets vs Ready to Rocket

I noticed from questions received and in some of the messages flying over the social media channels that there can be some confusion about what a "Ready to Rocket" company is versus what an "Emerging Rocket" company is.

On the program's website, there is a brief explanation.

Essentially, an "Emerging Rocket" is entering the market and trying to establish a base of initial customers and its primary milestones are first sales, partnerships and investment. An "Emerging Rocket" can be a startup, but many times it is a company that has been around a number of years and a change in strategy, product or market conditions open up a new opportunity.

A "Ready to Rocket" company has clearly established a base of initial customers and revenue and is rapidly increasing headcount and revenue, with the potential to exceed sector growth rates and sometimes doubling in company size in less than a year. After achieving a significant revenue base (ie. for ICT companies, this is $25 million in revenue), a company graduates from consideration for "Ready to Rocket" as the dynamics for growth will differ from companies with less revenue.

A related question seems to be "how come companies are Ready to Rocket for multiple years?" ... As long as companies can repeatedly hit our hurdle rates for superior growth rates, they are competitive for consideration for the "Ready to Rocket" list each year. A few companies have been able to be selected for recognition for 3 or 4 years in a row by meeting double digit growth targets, while others with triple digit growth quickly exceeded the "graduation" hurdle mentioned above within a couple of years.

In our public presentation in Vancouver recently we showed our "Napkin to NASDAQ" chart from the 1990's which illustrated the lifecycle from startup to IPO (see slide #7) and highlighted that a "Ready to Rocket" company is entering a phase of maximal revenue growth while an "Emerging Rocket" company is earlier in the cycle. As you can see in this chart, the ranges of these two categories overlap and cover a significant amount of time in the growth cycle.

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