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Keystone tops dozen Delaware companies on Inc. 5000

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Keystone Funding, a Dover-based mortgage banking firm, broke into the Inc. 500 on the 2021 list. Pictured, left to right, are Robert Pellegrini, John Ghanayem, Ray Crew, Karen Lewis, Jared Martin, Jeff Antoine, Tim Paret, Sarah Duncan, Devon Hoerner, and Don Gallo.  | PHOTO COURTESY OF KEYSTONE FUNDING

The First State saw 12 companies make the 2021 Inc. 5000 list, including a Top 500 finish for Dover-based mortgage originator Keystone Funding.

The annual list by business magazine Inc. tracks the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. through an application process. With few details about such companies publicly disclosed, the list is a sought-after look at growing startups around the country.

This year’s Delaware standout is Keystone Funding, which placed 407th on the 2021 list, its highest finish in three list appearances. It grew its revenue by a reported 1,186% between 2017 and 2020.

“My team and I are very excited [about the ranking],” Keystone Funding CEO Tim Paret told Delaware Business Times. “We obviously knew we had a great year, but we weren’t quite sure where we’d end up. Because of COVID there were some companies that really took off and others that struggled; it was a tale of two different cities.”

The high ranking for Keystone comes as the homegrown mortgage banking firm has already begun taking steps to increase its market share, including adding industry veteran Kevin Harrigan as its board chairman earlier this summer. The former NewRez LLC president and CEO has opened new opportunities for the firm to explore joint ventures and expand its network, Paret said.

“If we just execute on things that we have in the pipeline, we’re going to crush our goals for 2022,” he added.

With the increasing success of Keystone, Paret said the firm has already added more staff this year and will likely add a few more positions as it finalizes new opportunities. It has space to grow in its 12,000-square-foot offices off Red Haven Lane in Dover.

While placing higher on next year’s Inc. 5000 list is a worthy goal, Paret said his firm is more focused on a different achievement.

“We want to be a national brand,” he said, noting Keystone will begin serving Texas, Arizona, Colorado and South Carolina in the next 30 days.

Those additions will total 12 licensed states for the firm, but Paret said that all of the work is gearing up toward one day adding California, the heavyweight in the industry.

“California is a big deal. About 55% of all mortgage volume is done in California,” he explained.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Inc. 5000 list is Placers Inc. of Delaware, a temporary staffing agency, which made its eighth all-time appearance, the most of any of the Delaware-based honorees.

The 2021 class from Delaware includes five first-time placers, including construction firm Battaglia Associates, janitorial services provider Action Unlimited Resources, Breakwater Accounting & Advisory, e-commerce call center support provider Host Merchant Services and construction firm DryZone.

“Action Unlimited Resources is honored to be recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the nation, and it is directly attributed to our hard-working team and the loyal customers that we have the honor of serving,” said Aaron D. Glazar, president and CEO of the janitorial services provider that grew revenue 277% over the past three years, in a statement.

Lee Podolsky, CEO and founder of Breakwater Accounting & Advisory, also celebrated her young firm’s placement in the top 36% of fastest growing private U.S. companies.

“This validates that all of the hard work over the last six years to build a meaningful business is in fact working,” said Podolsky, whose Wilmington firm grew 253% in the report period, in a statement. “We have always been proud of our continuous growth, and even more so of the positive impact we’ve made for our clients and our employees; this recognition just helps us put it in perspective in comparison to the rest of the country. And that is very cool.”

As always, more than a half dozen other companies were listed by Inc. as Delaware companies, but they exist here only on paper, with headquarters listed in New York City, California, India, and the Philippines, among other locations.

Delaware’s 2021 Inc. companies by ranking

  1. Keystone Funding (407) – Financial Services
  2. Battaglia Associates (1,227) – Construction
  3. Action Unlimited Resources (1,656) – Janitorial Services
  4. Breakwater Accounting & Advisory (1,756) – Financial Services
  5. Host Merchant Services (2,106) – Financial Services
  6. Careerminds Group (3,367) – Human Resources
  7. Placers Inc of Delaware (3,457) – Business Products & Services
  8. Chesapeake Climate Control (3,670) – Construction
  9. Chesapeake Heating and Plumbing (4,093) – Construction
  10. Endevor (4,168) – Software
  11. CompassRed (4,634) – IT
  12. DryZone (4,834) – Construction

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1 Comment

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    Dan Pimental August 26, 2021

    Our lawyers won a ruling for Verizon, enforcing the company’s insurers to cover for tens of which judgment was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court. The company opened two years ago and now employs a dozen workers.


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