Representatives of companies recognized for the Fastest Growing Private Companies list in Century City at event.

Representatives of companies recognized for the Fastest Growing Private Companies list in Century City at event.

Also in this special report:

1. Halo Top Creamery

2. Idea Farmer

3. Greenspire

4. Fisherman Labs

5. Hawke Media

Digital media businesses dominated the highest rankings of the Business Journal’s annual list of fastest-growing private companies this year, but a not-so-old fashioned ice cream maker came out on top.

Halo Top Creamery, a Los Feliz company that produces low-calorie, high-protein ice cream, reported revenue growth of almost 7,400 percent from 2014 to 2016, or from $700,000 to $49.1 million.

The average revenue increase among the 100 L.A. County companies on the Business Journal’s list as ranked by growth over that period was 314 percent. Revenue growth for the top five fastest-growing companies averaged 3,700 percent.

Halo Top was the clear leader.

“It’s mind-boggling how much they’ve grown, particularly for a consumer product company,” said Lloyd Greif, chief executive of downtown’s Greif & Co., an investment banking firm that does not have a stake in Halo Top.

Greif said Halo Top founder Justin Woolverton hit a nerve with a health-conscious crowd.

“Everyone wants to eat ice cream but not expand their waistlines,” Greif said. “So he (Woolverton) saw a void in the market, addressed it and met a very receptive audience. Coupled with an aggressive marketing strategy and the winning combination of ‘healthy and tastes good enough,’ it worked.”

The food company was followed on the list by Westlake-based Idea Farmer, a creative agency specializing in developing and distributing branded content. The company’s revenue grew by more than 5,100 percent from $200,000 in 2014 to $10.1 million last year.

No. 3 is Sawtelle-based Greenspire, a home energy technology company that raked in $41 million in revenue in 2016 compared to $1.2 million in 2014. The company jumped from No. 12 on last year’s list, making it the highest ranked returning company.

No. 4 is Fishermen Labs of El Segundo with $5 million in 2016 revenue compared to $300,000 in 2014, equating to 1,900 percent growth, and No. 5 is Santa Monica-based Hawke Media, which reported a 500 percent revenue increase to $5.5 million last year from $900,000 in 2014.

The 100 companies on the list cumulatively accounted for $3.5 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2016, employed 8,018 people in L.A. County and counted 26,064 employees overall.

Digital media growth

The strong presence of digital media firms among the top spots is a reflection of the region’s overall trend, analysts said.

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