Sixteen North Bay companies made Inc. magazine’s annual list of 5,000 fast-growing U.S. companies. And of them, seven were newcomers, with one debuting in the top 500.
All together, the North Bay enterprises that made the cut from tens of thousands of applicants had $794.9 million in revenues last year and employed 7,194, according to the Inc. 5000 company profiles, released Aug. 16. The rankings are based on revenue growth, starting with at least $100,000 in fiscal 2013 and taking in more than $2 million a year last year.
New to the Inc. 5000 list from Sonoma, Solano, Marin and Napa counties this year were Sausalito’s CleanFund (No. 331), Novato’s The ExecRanks (591), San Rafael’s Email Aptitude (1,037), Novato’s Patra (1,622), Santa Rosa’s The Engine Is Red (3,118), Petaluma’s Solairus Aviation (3,294) and Santa Rosa’s M.A. Silva USA (4,605).
1,344%: CleanFund, Sausalito
While shade has been thrown recently at the state and federal level on property-assessed clean-energy, or PACE, financing for upgrading homes with solar systems or better insulation amid concerns over consumer protection, regulatory clouds haven’t gathered over PACE loans for commercial properties. And that’s where CleanFund shines, surging in the past three years to account for roughly a quarter of C-PACE financing completed nationwide.
CleanFund is a nonbank financier of C-PACE loans, originating, holding and securitizing them. PACE loans are secured through property-level special-assessment districts and paid back with property taxes. The company has grown from $130,000 in revenue in 2013 to $2.3 million last year, and the staff has grown to 25 across several states from five just three years ago. That revenue growth placed the company high on the Inc. fast-growth list at No. 331.
Completed C-PACE lending since the first programs launched nationwide in 2010 totals $469 million on 1,063 projects, compared with $3.67 billion in R-PACE financing so far on about 158,000 projects, according to PACENation. It’s an association whose leadership council includes CleanFund, R-PACE-focused Ygrene Energy Fund of Petaluma and PACE pioneer Sonoma County Energy Independence Program.
CleanFund has closed $125 million in C-PACE financing so far, according to CEO Greg Saunders. Based on the volume of deals increasing by three-quarters or doubling in the past three years and still more states and locales yet to adopt such programs, the company expects C-PACE volume to approach $5 billion annually in the early 2020s.
“We have transaction flow in 15 states and have closed transactions in five states,” Saunders said.
Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia have adopted legislation allowing PACE loans, and 22 have local or statewide programs started or in development, according to PACENation. Most of the programs are only for commercial projects, while California, Florida, Georgia and Missouri have programs that also allow for R-PACE lending.
CleanFund is working with an investment bank and rating agencies on a potential securitization of C-PACE bonds, in what could be the first all-commercial PACE packaging, Saunders said. The target is $50 million to $100 million brought to the secondary market late this year or early in 2018. By comparison, about $2.7 billion in R-PACE loans have been securitized by Renovate America and Renew Financial, plus $655 million by Ygrene, whose offering also include some C-PACE financing, according to PACENation.
John Kinney started CleanFund in 2009, and Saunders became connected with the company in 2010 while chief financial officer for Rohnert Park-based Codding Enterprises. Co-owner of Santa Rosa’s Coddingtown Mall and a major housing and commercial developer in Sonoma County over decades, Codding was buying a second 1-megawatt solar power system for what’s now called SOMO Village — the former Hewlett-Packard plant. CleanFund set up the nation’s first privately financed C-PACE transaction.
North Bay on the Inc. 5000
Whether moving clients around the country in aircraft, providing temporary workers or producing beauty products, it was the growth rates of these 16 North Bay companies that landed each on Inc. magazine’s 2017 list of 5,000 fast-growing U.S. companies.
New to the List
Firm, location, 2016 revenue, 3-year revenue growth
CleanFund, Sausaltio, $2.3M, 1,334.29%
The ExecRanks, Novato, $11.6M, 765.49%
Email Aptitude, San Rafael, $4M 411.66%
Patra Corp., Novato, $28.3M, 243.38%
The Engine Is Red, Santa Rosa, $2M, 105.52%
Solairus Aviation, Petaluma, $264M, 97.01%
M.A. Silva USA, Santa Rosa, $42.1M, 51.76%
Moore Solar/Heating/Cooing, Santa Rosa, $16.4M, 428.59%
Free Flow Wines, Napa, $4.9M, 212.72%
OneHope, Rutherford, $11.2M, 208.17%
ProTransport-1, Cotati, $107.5M, 137.79%
EO Products, San Rafael, $33M, 135.80%
Star Staffing, Petaluma, $25.5M, 109.33%
Before the Movie, Fairfield, $5.5M, 85.61%
Bolt Staffing Service, Sonoma, $9.5M, 79.39%
Nelson, Sonoma, $245.1M, 55.26%