Report: EBay Fastest-Growing Tech Firm in U.S.

EBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) has grown faster than any other technology company in the United States over the past five years, according to a report released Wednesday by consulting firm Deloitte & Touche.

In its annual Fast 500 listing of the fastest-growing high-tech firms, EBay far outpaced all others, recording a five-year growth rate of 115,874 percent, Deloitte said.

EBay had sales of US$372,000 in 1996 and more than $431 million in 2000. The auction leader’s growth rate dwarfs the average of 6,000 percent among all firms on the list and the 90,000 percent growth turned in by the top companies on the list.

Dazzling Debut

EBay’s appearance on the Fast 500 list shows not just rapid expansion, but “sustained revenue growth over five years,” said Mark Evans, managing director of Deloitte & Touche’s Technology & Communications Group in San Jose, California.

The appearance on the list is the first for San Jose-based EBay. The company has made continued growth a centerpiece of its strategy going forward, sticking to an earlier forecast of $3 billion in sales by 2005.

EBay has said it intends to achieve its goal through aggressive expansion into new overseas markets and additional product categories.

So A-List

Other big-name e-commerce companies on the list include Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), which ranked 99th with 5,700 percent growth. Last year, Yahoo! was No. 6 on the list with a 43,000 percent growth rate.

Outpost.com — which gave up life as a public and independent company last week after approving a merger with Fry’s Electronics — ranked 62nd, with five-year growth of about 10,000 percent.

Also on the list were online advertising firms 24/7 Media at No. 51 and Doubleclick (Nasdaq: DCLK) at No. 79. WebMD came in at No. 134, E*Trade (Nasdaq: ET), at No. 239 and e-commerce services firm Beyond.com at No. 293.

E-commerce bellwether Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) did not appear on the list.

Topsy Turvy

In fact, because the five-year growth period studied included the peak years of the dot-com boom, several firms with a hand in the Internet made the Fast 500.

Ranking second behind EBay was InfoSpace (Nasdaq: INSP), a Bellevue, Washington-based provider of wireless and Internet software and application services.

Third on the list was At Home Corporation, also known as Excite@Home, a Web portal that also got into the broadband Internet service provider business. The Redwood City, California company reported a growth rate of 91,080 percent for the five-year period.

However, Excite@Home said in September it had agreed to sell its broadband Internet access business assets to AT&T and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to a published report, Excite@Home now seeks to sell other assets, such as its trademarks, to InfoSpace.

Also in Running

Consulting firm PFSweb (Nasdaq: PFSW) ranked fourth, while Mascon Global Limited, a software and services company, was fifth on the Fast 500, Deloitte said.

Web measurement firm NetRatings (Nasdaq: NTRT), although it did not qualify for the Fast 500 list because it has not been around long enough, was singled out as a “rising star” in the report, with a three-year growth rate of more than 8,500 percent.

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