Executive recruitment company Heidrick & Struggles has released its 2018 Superaccelerators list—an elite group among the world’s 500 most highly valued companies that have achieved high levels of sustained organic growth and profitability.

Now in its third year, just 19 companies globally made the cut, down from 25 companies in 2017 and 23 in 2016. This year’s list included 11 newcomers, or 58 per cent, compared with 44 per cent in 2017.

“The Superaccelerator companies have demonstrated the proven ability to achieve enduring, profitable growth in an era of rapid change and market disruption,” said a company spokesperson.

“They come from a variety of industries and, this year, more than two thirds are from outside the United States.”

While the US dominated the list for the past two years, the 2018 Superaccelerators have shifted toward more representation from Asia Pacific companies, with 11 hailing from the region. That includes seven from mainland China and one from Hong Kong, China—up from six from Greater China in 2017 and just three in 2016.

Only six of the 2018 Superaccelerators are based in the United States, down from 16 in both 2017 and 2016. Two 2018 Superaccelerators are based in Europe, up from zero in 2017 and one in 2016.

2018 Superaccelerators (ranked by market capitalisation in US dollars as of May 31, 2018; asterisk indicates company is a first-time superaccelerator):

Heidrick & Struggles deliberately designed it to be difficult to achieve the Superaccelerator designation. To qualify as a Superaccelerator, a company must pass four “rules of 20” that demonstrate its ability to achieve sustainable profitability and organic growth:

  • Be in the top 20 per cent for revenue growth, both in the past three and the past seven years,
  • Have generated no more than 20 per cent of its growth through acquisitions,
  • Received no more than 20 per cent of its revenue from its home government,
  • Have not seen its profit margin reduced by more than 20 per cent as a percentage of revenue year after year as it grew in scale.
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