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Deloitte & Touche High-Tech Ranking Shows Explosive Growth and Striking Diversity

SEATTLE, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Call it a coming-of-age for Washington's technology sector. Results from a ranking of the state's fastest-growing technology companies announced tonight reflect an industry thriving on entrepreneurial zeal, skilled management and a vast array of new products and services.

This year's Washington Technology Fast 50, an annual statewide ranking of the 50 fastest-growing high-tech companies compiled by Deloitte & Touche LLP, includes companies from all corners of the rapidly expanding industry. This year's winner, Bellevue-based Optiva Corporation, manufactures the highly advanced Sonicare(R) toothbrush -- far different than the technology of runner-up Vixel Corporation of Bothell, which provides intensive data storage and retrieval solutions.

While Optiva, Vixel and the rest of the Fast 50 vary widely in terms of core disciplines, they share a penchant for exponential revenue growth. Optiva ran away with the award this year by posting a growth rate of 31,943 percent based on revenues over the past five years. Vixel posted impressive revenue growth of 3,794 percent between 1992 and 1996.

Overall, the 1997 Fast 50 had a combined average five-year revenue growth of 1,390 percent. Deloitte & Touche, and co-sponsors Nasdaq, Piper Jaffray Inc., US WEST Communications and the Washington Software & Digital Media Alliance conducted the second annual ranking in an effort to highlight that success, according to Larry Hile, partner with Deloitte & Touche and chairman of the Fast 50 program.

"In our second year of the Washington Technology Fast 50, we already have a sense of the depth and breadth of Washington's technology arena," said Hile. "These 50 companies, with different products and different customers, share a passion for innovation and an ability to stand out in an increasingly crowded field."

Rounding out the top five spots for exceptional growth were:

* WinEstimator, Inc., a Kent-based firm that provides professional construction software solutions, with revenue growth of 3,794 percent;

* Bothell-based CellPro, Incorporated, a biotechnology company which developed a monoclonal antibody-based system to separate specific cells from complex cell mixtures with revenue growth of 3,061 percent;

* Rod Asher & Associates, a Bellevue company that has a proprietary database, custom software, consulting and tools for software engineers with 2,567 percent growth.

(A complete list of the Fast 50 follows.)

Seattle-based CSI Digital, winner of the 1996 Fast 50 with 7,026 percent growth, managed to remain in the top 10 with 1,909 percent growth in this year's ranking.

"More than two-thirds of the companies qualifying this year represent the bits, bytes and brains of the industry as opposed to tangible hardware products," said Hile. "Technology breeds new technology and high-tech services, a process that bodes well for future growth across the board."

Hile points to the fact that 20 new companies appeared on the list this year as evidence of how competitive Washington's technology sector has become. In fact, four of the top five companies this year are on the ranking for the first time.

Michael W. Brown, retiring chief financial officer of Microsoft Corporation, was the keynote speaker at the Fast 50 event held this evening in Seattle. He acknowledged the growing pressure companies are feeling to attract and retain skilled workers, a phenomenon made clear in a Fast 50 survey conducted by Deloitte & Touche as part of this year's ranking.

Among the key survey findings, CEOs were united when asked to choose what are the most difficult issues their companies face when attracting qualified employees. Eighty-two percent felt it was "availability." Another 65 percent pointed to a "lack of qualified applicants," while 31 percent suggested that part of the problem was "increased labor costs."

The Fast 50 evaluation process began in April when Deloitte & Touche sent nomination forms to high-tech companies throughout the state. Qualifying entries met three requirements: gross revenues of at least $50,000 in 1992, and at least $1 million in 1996; U.S. corporate headquarters located in Washington; and business activities centered on the development of high technology products or provision of services used in the application of high technology systems or products.

The 50 winners, representing companies throughout Washington state, are eligible for inclusion in the National Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies across the United States. Finalists for the Fast 500 will be recognized at a CEO summit which will be held in spring 1998 in San Jose, California.

Deloitte & Touche LLP is a leading professional service firms, specializing in tax, accounting, auditing and management consulting services. Deloitte & Touche serves more than 100 technology-based clients in the Pacific Northwest. The technology practice group at Deloitte & Touche is dedicated to serving the needs of young, emerging companies as well as large publicly- and privately-held corporations. Deloitte & Touche's Seattle office, with more than 400 people, has the Northwest's largest practice. Globally, the firm is part of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu International, with member firms employing more that 63,000 people in more than 125 countries.
 The 1997 Washington Technology Fast 50
 Deloitte & Touche LLP
 1997 Fast 50 Award Winners
 Rank '96 Company Name City 5-Year Growth
 1 -- Optiva Corporation Bellevue 31,943%
 2 -- Vixel Corporation Bothell 3,794%
 3 -- WinEstimator, Inc. Kent 3,733%
 4 8 CellPro, Incorporated Bothell 3,061%
 5 -- Rod Asher & Associates Bellevue 2,567%
 6 2 Apex PC Solutions, Inc. Woodinville 2,419%
 7 4 Excell Data Corporation Bellevue 2,316%
 8 1 CSI Digital Seattle 1,909%
 9 3 MicroCrafts, Inc. Redmond 1,497%
 10 -- HyperBole Studios Seattle 1,271%
 11 15 ARIS Corporation Seattle 1,121%
 12 11 Geosafe Corporation Richland 986%
 13 14 Boxlight Corporation Poulsbo 902%
 14 17 SolutionsIQ Bellevue 840%
 15 -- Data Dimensions, Inc. Bellevue 662%
 16 39 Nova Information Systems, Inc. Redmond 629%
 17 24 Applied Precision, Inc. Issaquah 520%
 18 20 Sage Electronics/Pulse Power Redmond 501%
 19 -- Expert Buying Systems, Inc. Vancouver 442%
 20 12 Labtec Enterprises, Inc. Vancouver 440%
 21 -- Prototron Circuits, Inc. Redmond 426%
 22 13 Allstar Magnetics, Inc. Vancouver 420%
 23 -- Catapult, Inc. Bellevue 418%
 24 22 Seitel Leeds & Associates, Inc. Seattle 404%
 25 -- Cascade Software
 Consulting, Inc. Vancouver 390%
 26 -- Advanced Digital Information
 Corp. Redmond 359%
 27 32 Datalight, Inc. Arlington 359%
 28 35 Shannon Electronics Kent 357%
 29 21 Wall Data Incorporated Kirkland 338%
 30 29 Cellular Technical Services
 Company, Inc. Seattle 338%
 31 -- The Walter Group, Inc. Seattle 289%
 32 -- MACROSEARCH, Inc. dba
 MACROSTAFF Bellevue 268%
 33 7 The Cordada Group, Inc. Bellevue 262%
 34 23 Puget Sound Systems Group,
 Inc. Lacey 256%
 35 43 Telect, Inc. Liberty Lake 254%
 36 -- Scope International, Inc. Seattle 242%
 37 42 Sierra On-Line, Inc. Bellevue 230%
 38 48 Active Voice Corp. Seattle 215%
 39 47 Microsoft Corp. Redmond 214%
 40 40 GraphiCode, Inc. Mountlake
 Terrace 206%
 41 44 Applied Technical Services
 Corp. Bothell 203%
 42 -- Dexter + Chaney Seattle 202%
 43 -- SeaMED Corporation Redmond 202%
 44 -- Applied Voice Technology Kirkland 193%
 45 41 WRQ, Inc. Seattle 177%
 46 -- The Macabe Associates, Inc. Seattle 168%
 47 33 Itron, Inc. Spokane 151%
 48 19 DataPro Solutions, Inc. Spokane 148%
 49 -- Nova-Tech Engineering, Inc. Edmonds 144%
 50 -- Physio-Control Corporation Redmond 125%

SOURCE Deloitte & Touche LLP
 -0- 09/11/97

/CONTACT: Tim Brennan of The Fearey Group, 206-343-1543, for Deloitte & Touche LLP/

CO: Deloitte & Touche LLP ST: Washington IN: CPR SU:

CL-RB -- SFTH039 -- 6665 09/11/97 22:00 EDT
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Date:Sep 11, 1997
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