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Post & Courier Inc. 500 2011 coverage

Growth spurt

What a difference a few years make. Just ask Grier Allen, CEO of BoomTown, who in 2006 launched his real estate software company out of the old Faber House on East Bay Street.

‘There were rats running around,’ the Summerville native and Clemson graduate recalled last week.

Since then, BoomTown has relocated its headquarters twice, and on Thursday, hosted a wine-tasting to ‘christen’ its new Rutledge Avenue office’s refurbished backyard, Allen said. But BoomTown had more than a crosstown move and some pretty landscaping to celebrate last week.

It had also made the Inc. 500 | 5000, the ‘it’ list for young companies that in its 30 years of publication has featured eventual giants such as Microsoft and Oracle.

From 2007 to 2010, BoomTown, which provides web-marketing services to real estate brokers, was the second-fastest-growing private company in South Carolina, behind Greenville-based apparel company
Southern Tide. It also was the 18th-fastest-growing software company nationwide and 174th-fastest-growing company overall.

‘It’s huge,’ said Allen, 31. ‘… This is something that we sort of set out as a goal for ourselves and were able to get there.’

From its humble beginnings, BoomTown grew a whopping 1,700% over the past three years, from $121,218 in revenue in 2007 to its $2.2 million haul last year. It went from three employees to 19 over that period. And, Allen noted, it’s now up to 34 and is looking to hire to sustain the boom, as it were.

But as much as Charleston has done to make itself a burgeoning tech hub, Allen said, there’s still a ways to go.

‘Talent is something that’s hard to come by,’ he said. ‘Constantly a challenge for us in terms of growing is finding the right talent.’

In all, 35 South Carolina businesses of all stripes were on the Inc. list.

Southern Tide’s meteoric growth was good enough for 73rd nationwide.

The other locally based employers that made the 2011 cut: Ishpi of Mount Pleasant (No. 304) LevelWing of Charleston (481); Try Sports of Mount Pleasant (1,239); Total Beverage Solutions of Mount Pleasant (1,785), avVenta Worldwide of Mount Pleasant (1,834), UEC Electronics of Hanahan (2,290); SmartLinx Solutions of North Charleston (2,332); and Call Experts of Charleston (4,469).