The Big Apple and Greater Provo Host the Most Fast-Growing Firms


Like the ice climbers on its mountains, Provo-Orem’s entrepreneurial firms are not averse to the adventure that comes with a fast-growing venture.

Photo courtesy of Visit Utah

In last week’s Snapshot you learned that California, Texas and Florida lead the pack of states with the most Inc. 5000 firms, with D.C., Virginia and Utah boasting the most per capita.

Today we examine which metro areas and cities have the most fast-growing companies. These Top 10 correspond closely with the most recent Census Bureau list of the most populated metro areas — only the Bay Area and Greater Boston are not also among the nation’s 10 most populous metros:

Top 10 States by Number of Inc. 5000 Firms in 2023

Metro Area Population Inc. 5000 Firms

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 19,768,458 355
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 6,356,434 297
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 12,997,353 290
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 9,509,934 220
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 7,759,615 215
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 6,144,050 211
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 6,091,747 204
San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 4,623,264 147
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 4,899,932 138
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 6,228,601 124



Two of the 10 most populated metros to just miss the above list were Greater Houston (No. 5 in population and No. 14 by Inc. 500 firms with 95) and Greater Phoenix (No. 10 in population and No. 12 in Inc. 500 firms with 117.) However, Houston proper is No. 7 when the numbers are broken out by municipality instead of overall metro. It’s one of three Texas cities in the Top 10:

City Inc. 5000 Firms
New York City 192
Chicago 120
Atlanta 111
Austin 106
Dallas 83
San Francisco 70
Houston 63
Miami 61
Los Angeles 60
Denver 50

Dividing those cities’ numbers by their respective overall metros’ numbers shows Houston to be the most namesake-city-dependent, with 66.3% of the metro’s Inc. 5000 firms in the city proper. Chicago claims 54.5% of Chicagoland’s firms and the Big Apple hosts 54% of its metro’s firms. The metros with the most dispersed pattern from their namesake cities include L.A. (only 20.6% in the city), Miami (30%) and Dallas (38.6%).

Next, we look at the Top 10 Metros by Inc. 5000 Companies Per Capita. Setting a minimum bar of at least three qualifying companies produces the following Top 10 — a compelling mix of brainpower regions in the Southeast and the Mountain West bolstered by institutional firepower, startup culture, university communities or some virtuous blend of all three:

Top 10 Metros by Number of Inc. 5000 Firms Per Capita

Metro Area Population Firms Firms Per 1M People

Provo-Orem, UT 697,141 39 55.9461
Oxford, MS 56,884 3 52.7241
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 2,352,426 122 51.8619
Heber, UT 79,266 4 50.4414
Bozeman, MT 122,713 6 48.8998
Huntsville, AL 502,728 24 47.7422
Charleston-North Charleston, SC 813,052 36 44.275
Boulder, CO 329,543 14 42.4886
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 2,972,566 107 35.9954
Chattanooga, TN-GA 567,641 20 35.2361

Setting the bar at a minimum of five companies would bring metro Atlanta (211 firms) and metro Miami (204 firms) into the fold, an impressive showing for regions with populations over 6 million apiece. Austin proper, with 106 firms, accounts for 86.9% of its metro area’s Inc. 5000 companies.

Among companies in the Provo-Orem region are women’s supplement company Legendary Lady Labs in Lehi (No. 119) and fashion e-commerce company Baltic Born in American Fork (No. 168). Provo earlier this year was No. 1 among large cities for the third year in a row in the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities (BPC) rankings. Austin-Round Rock, Texas, No. 3 in the above list, was No. 2 on the Best-Performing Cities scorecard. — Adam Bruns and Daniel Boyer

Thesis, a company that offers “a customized approach to cognitive performance products based on an individual’s unique brain chemistry” and has raised over $13.5 million in funding, is the highest-ranking Inc. 5000 firm in New York City at No. 12.

Photo courtesy of Thesis via Business Wire