Five Elms Capital seeks fastest-growing companies for Flyover 50
"The middle of the country has ridiculously been viewed as a flyover zone," Fred Coulson, managing partner of Five Elms Capital, said in a release. "We think the Flyover 50 will show that there are plenty of reasons to land here."
All companies that apply for the contest will be ranked according to percentage of revenue growth, and the 50 fastest-growing will be deemed The Flyover 50. To apply, companies must have brought in annual revenue of greater than $1 million in 2011. All revenue and growth figures used in Flyover 50 applications are confidential.
The Flyover 50 is open to companies from all industries. Companies can submit themselves for consideration by visiting the contest's application page, and nominations of other companies are also allowed. Applications are due by May 18. Winners are scheduled to be announced in late May and recognized at a banquet in early June. BKD, LLP, a Midwest-based accounting and advisory firm, will tabulate all results.
Winners will receive an honorary plaque at the awards banquet and a press packet with the Flyover 50 logo for their website and marketing materials. Honorees will also receive free services from Flyover 50 sponsors, including a capital structure and governance review from Husch Blackwell, a business and tax physical from LWBJ Financial, and an insurance review from IMA Inc.
The contest is open to companies from 20 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
"There is a lot of entrepreneurial-driven growth in the middle of the country, but because we are so geographically spread out, it often results in a lack of interaction with other businesses not immediately visible in one’s strategic path," Coulson said. "We created the Flyover 50 to both recognize leading companies in our region and facilitate networking between companies that previously may not have interacted."
Silicon Prairie News conducted an email interview with Coulson (below) to learn more about the Flyover 50:
Silicon Prairie News: How much did the team's experience working on the coast play into the decision to create the Flyover 50?
Fred Coulson: We have seen firsthand that the coastal money centers don't always pay attention to companies in the middle of the country until they get to a certain size (usually $5 million in annual cashflow). The central U.S. has ridiculously been viewed as a "flyover zone" to some, but that is changing. We think there is a massive imbalance: a huge number of great businesses in the Central U.S., yet limited awareness. SPN is an amazing megaphone highlighting what is exciting in our region. We hope the Flyover 50 will add to that.
SPN: When and how did the idea of the Flyover 50 first take root with your team, and what was involved in the decision to greenlight it?
FC: While there is a ton of activity in the central U.S., the lack of density sometimes has the side effect of limited interaction with other businesses not directly in the path of one’s strategic direction. We wanted to create a vehicle that would both recognize leading companies in our region and create opportunities for entrepreneurs to get together and build bridges between organizations that previously may not have crossed paths. People talk a lot about trying to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the middle of the country, but it's not done overnight. We hope this is one small seed in that process.
SPN: What does the Flyover 50 mean to Five Elms in terms of lead generation? For companies looking for funding, is this a potential avenue to that?
FC: Lead generation isn't our main goal, but we do think it's likely that we meet someone through this process that will be a good partner for us. The Flyover 50 is open to all industries, not just those we target for investment.
SPN: What is Five Elms' ultimate hope for what the Flyover 50 can mean — both internally, to businesses that participate and to the region as a whole?
FC: We want the Flyover 50 to highlight strong companies for potential employees and customers. Hiring fast enough to keep up with growth can be a challenge – we see the Flyover 50 as a great recruiting tool to keep top-tier talent within our region.
The Flyover 50 is a great way to bring entrepreneurs, employees, investors, influencers, and others together to ensure all are connected to the resources they need to succeed.