Fast 50 Updates

Thirty-three of the companies on last year's Fast Company 50 didn't make the list this time. But that doesn't mean they've lost their luster. Here's what they've been up to.

 

Affymetrix:
The life-sciences company had a rough financial year as the market for genome and RNA analyzers has waned. Rival Illumina, meanwhile, did well by selling gene sequencers.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

AirAsia:
The no-frills Malaysian airline has continued to buck industry trends, adding routes and keeping prices low, low, low -- but it also slipped to its first loss since going public in 2004.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

AKQA:
The digital-marketing wizards continued to rack up industry accolades. Among the cooler new projects is eco:Drive, a computer app with Italian carmaker Fiat that analyzes driving habits and trains people to become more fuel efficient.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Alibaba:
The year 2008 was an active one for the Chinese e-commerce site: It beefed up security with a quality-supplier program and expanded operations in India, Japan, Taiwan, and beyond.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Anomaly:
The ad agency–cum–product incubator had flat revenues and scaled back ambitions for its offspring, Another Anomaly. However, the model did find some success: A women's shaving-cream venture called Eos landed in more than 100 Target stores.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Arup:
Continues to be involved with high-profile contracts, such as the new handball arena for the London 2012 Olympics and green projects like an energy-independent island off Shanghai.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Ausra:
In October, with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on hand, the company opened its first solar-thermal plant in California -- a pilot project capable of powering about 3,500 homes (for half the cost of a traditional photo-voltaic solar plant). Ausra plans to open a full-scale plant in 2010.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Autodesk:
The design-software giant may be cutting costs -- who isn't? -- but last November, Autodesk opened a major R&D center in Singapore's Fusionopolis tech complex. The company's Asia-Pacific business brings in almost a quarter of its total revenue.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Baidu:
Last summer, Baidu became the world's third-largest search engine, behind Google and Yahoo. Then in November, a scandal hit: A Chinese state TV report accused the company of promoting paid advertisements -- from unlicensed medical-product suppliers, no less -- as legitimate search results. This on the heels of accusations that the company had censored information on tainted milk.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

BMW:
Not even Bimmer could escape a sales slump last year; the company is slashing production by 65,000 vehicles. But it's also showing a way forward with next-gen diesel engines and a suite of Efficient-Dynamics features, including regenerative brake power and an automatic stop-start function.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Boeing:
The 787 Dreamliner is a hell of a step forward ... but it's also getting to be a hell of a delayed step, with delivery of the first plane now slated for 2010 -- nearly two years late.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Burton:
The constant flow of gear innovations and provocative art choices (including a controversial line of snowboards adorned with nude Playboy models) hasn't stopped attracting hipster customers. FC cover boy Shaun White signed a 10-year endorsement deal.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Corning:
Flying high just six months ago, the leading maker of glass for flat-screen TVs has been hit hard by the economy.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Current Media:
A round of layoffs didn't stop Al Gore's fledgling cable network from spreading its reach to Italy and Canada, and partnering with Twitter for its election coverage. Revenue was up, and the company filed for a $100 million IPO.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Herman Miller:
Last October, the design kings of the office-furniture world released a 96% recyclable, rocketship-worthy follow-up to the mighty Aeron chair: the Embody. Six years in the making, it promises to boost productivity and health. For $1,600, it should.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

iRobot:
Robots for the home aren't exactly a growth market in a recession, but iRobot continues to rack up lucrative military contracts. After the company's success with the bomb-sniffing PackBot and other land-based machines, its move into the underwater realm last year bodes well.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

LG Electronics:
The South Korean manufacturer is cutting production on its moneymaker LCD TVs, and sales are generally down; a price-fixing scandal in the U.S. didn't help. But a partnership with Netflix and a new line of broadband HDTVs has geeks swooning.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Live Nation:
After severing its partnership with Ticketmaster, the concert promoter moved into the ticket business last year -- and continued to sign A-list artists to expensive "360 deals," amassing a roster that now includes Madonna, U2, Jay-Z, the Jonas Brothers, Nickelback, and Shakira.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Method:
Despite Clorox muscling into the eco-friendly cleaning-products market with its less-expensive Green Works label, Method's sales have held on.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

News Corp.:
The Fox Business Network has so far failed to muster an audience. On the other hand, the revamped Wall Street Journal is the only positive story in the newspaper industry, MySpace is holding on against Facebook, O'Reilly and friends haven't slipped in the ratings, and the rest of Rupert's juggernaut chugs on.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Omniture:
The Web-analytics leader moved hard into the mobile field, with new apps that offer access to real-time data via iPhone, Google Android phones, and other mobile devices.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Payless:
Amid aggressive expansion by parent Collective Brands, the discount-shoe shop announced an affordable green line and signed Project Runway phenom Christian Siriano to design a line of shoes and handbags. Fierce.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Procter & Gamble:
Brands such as Crest, Pampers, and Tide have kept P&G relevant, economic crisis or no.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Prosper:
In late October, the SEC ordered Prosper, the leading peer-to-peer lending site, to suspend making new loans, claiming the company was selling unregistered securities. At press time, the company was in a "quiet period," waiting for the SEC to finish its review to establish a regulated secondary market for Prosper loans.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Real D:
The pioneer in digital 3-D cinema display continues to lock up deals with major theater chains as several studios release 3-D movies. This year will be a big test for 3-D's viability, with James Cameron's Avatar, DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens, and as many as 10 other high-profile releases.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

RealNetworks:
After launching the Rhapsody MP3 store to take on iTunes, the company took on another giant -- Hollywood -- with a highly touted DVD-copying program called RealDVD. One problem: The studios sued, and for now the product is unavailable.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Samsung:
Its touch-screen mobile phones with fragrance names like Eternity and Instinct have sold relatively well. Outside of the phone biz, a new line of superslim, energy-efficient HDTVs has been met with raves.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Sun Microsystems:
The company is restructuring in hopes that a push in its cloud- storage business will offset the decreasing sales of its servers.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Target:
Recession-minded shoppers are flocking to Wal-Mart, which actually saw a bump in sales last year, but design-focused Target hasn't been able to pull off the same trick. Time for deep discounts?

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Tata Group:
From violent protests delaying its much ballyhooed $2,500 People's Car to the terrorist attack on its prized Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, 2008 was not the year of the elephant.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Tesco:
Worldwide, the British super-market giant has held up relatively well in tough times. Stateside, Tesco's aggressive rollout of the innovative Fresh & Easy brand has slowed after hitting 100 stores in November.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Timberland:
Sustainability-preaching CEO Jeff Swartz's heart has always been in the right place, but now he needs to get his company's identity (and sales) back on track after being abandoned by the hip-hop set.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

Whole Foods:
Apparently, consumers think buying fresh organic sunchokes is a lower priority than, say, paying the rent.

Read the 2008 Fast 50 Profile

 

Add New Comment

0 Comments