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eBay leads top 500 tech firm list

By T.K. MALOY, UPI Deputy Business Editor

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Internet auction firm eBay Inc. topped the Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America based on average five-year percentage revenue growth.

The San Jose, Calif.-based eBay Inc. posted a five-year revenue growth of 115,874 percent from $372,000 in 1996 to $431,424,000 in 2000. This is the first time eBay has appeared on the Fast 500 ranking, according to Deloitte& Touche, a large management consulting firm.

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"Being one of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in the United States and Canada is an impressive accomplishment, because it measures sustained revenue growth over five years. In fact, 39 percent of our 2001 winners are repeat winners, an amazing accomplishment considering that these companies have an average five-year percentage growth of more than 6,000 percent," said Mark Evans, managing director of Deloitte & Touche's Technology & Communications Group.

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The eBay company was founded in September 1995, has 29.7 million registered users and is the most popular shopping site on the Internet when measured by total user minutes, according to Media Metrix, a division of New York-based Jupiter Research, which ranks the top 50 Web sites in the United States.

The Deloitte Fast 500 ranking reported that 57 percent of the 2001 Fast 500 winners are in the software and communications industries. Software companies accounted for 44 percent of the ranking, and communications companies comprised 13 percent, up from 9 percent in 2000.

Computers and peripherals companies represent 6 percent. Internet companies comprise 15 percent, down from 17 percent in 2000, the first time this segment has decreased in three years. For the past two years, the percentage of Internet companies had doubled each year. Semiconductors, components, and electronics companies account for 6 percent of the Fast 500 ranking.

Biotechnology companies represent 8 percent of the Fast 500, down slightly from the 9 percent this category held for the 2000, 1999 and 1998 rankings. Medical, scientific and technical manufacturing companies comprised 7 percent, down from last year's 9 percent.

With eBay Inc. ranking No. 1 on the Deloitte Fast 500 list, Internet companies occupy the first four spots on the Fast 500 ranking. This is the first time Internet companies have topped the list in the seven years since the program's inception.

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Second on the Fast 500 is InfoSpace Inc., a provider of wireless and Internet software and application services based in Bellevue, Wash., with a five-year revenue growth rate of 107,704 percent. Its revenues grew from $199,000 in 1996 to $214,530,000 in 2000.

Third-ranked Excite@Home Corp., a top digital broadband company, offers consumers residential broadband services and businesses high-speed commercial services. Based in Redwood City, California, Excite@Home has a growth rate of 91,080 percent, growing from revenues of $676,000 in 1996 to $616,375,000 in 2000.

Ranked No. 4 was PFSweb, Inc., a Plano, Texas-based company that provides technology outsourcing solutions, including professional consulting services, order management, Web-enabled customer contact centers, customer lifecycle management, and international distribution services. PFSweb had 77,924 percent growth, growing from revenues of $111,000 in 1996 to $86,607,000 in 2000.

Rounding out the top five was Mascon Global Limited, a global IT and software services company that provides end-to-end technology solutions based on a delivery model that combines offshore and onsite software services. Based in Schaumburg, Ill., Mascon Global Limited had a five-year growth rate of 74,900 percent, growing from revenues of $100,000 in 1996 to $75 million in 2000.

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