A month ago, Harbor Compliance moved to a new, 25,000-square-foot headquarters that has room for about 150 employees.
Since just 35 people now work at the Lancaster firm, there’s a lot of empty space in the recently renovated building in the Greenfield Corporate Center.
But the company’s founders aren’t too worried about filling the space — they’re mostly glad to finally have room for all the new employees they plan to bring on.
“We can’t just move every year,” said Mike Montali, who founded the firm in 2012 with Megan Danz and has moved four times times since then as the company keeps growing.
Harbor Compliance was recently ranked 370th on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing privately-held companies, the highest ranking for any Lancaster County firm.
The list is organized by percentage revenue growth when comparing 2014 to 2017. With 2017 revenue of $4.3 million, the firm’s revenue has increased 1,341 percent in the three-year period.
The hot pace is continuing in 2018.
Since the beginning of the year, Harbor Compliance has nearly doubled its workforce from 20, which is also the number of open positions it now lists on its website.
Montali said the growth is happening because the firm has hit on a needed service with its software-based system that helps companies track, and stay up to date, on licensing and compliance issues.
“We’ve built a software that keeps track of all of those requirements, all of those licenses, all of a company’s renewals,” he said.
Originally from Connecticut, Montali moved to the area in 2011 to work for Stevens & Lee, but then had to look for something else when he got laid off. Now 30, he lives in Lancaster.
Danz, 34, is originally from North Carolina and now lives in Washington Boro. After traveling a lot for her previous job with management consulting firm Accenture, Danz decided to settle here in 2010 because she liked the area so much.
Soon after they both made their homes in Lancaster County, the friends saw an opportunity to combine their expertise with a technology-based solution for the legal services industry.
Working out of a living room, their initial idea focused on helping entrepreneurs create corporate entities, then manage the ongoing compliance issues.
But they soon saw an opportunity to drill down and give clients more details about specific licensing and reporting requirements.
“What a lot of our clients needed was a little more service and a little more help with the complexity than they were getting in the market,” Danz said. “There were a lot of state-specific nuances so your one-size-fits-all products don’t really help.”
Across all levels of government, Danz estimates there are more than 150,000 licensing agencies across the country, creating a thicket of complexity for firms operating in a number of jurisdictions and needing to stay current on all licensing requirements.
“If you get a big portfolio of licenses, every single week there may be something going on, such as filing a renewal or following up to check on approvals,” Danz said.
Making it simple
Today, Harbor Compliance has more than 20,000 clients across the country, including some foreign firms doing business in the United States.
Harbor Compliance’s innovation was to make software that automates many of the ongoing requirements of getting various licenses, gleaning information from agencies about renewal and reporting requirements so firms never miss a deadline.
“Merely obtaining a license is one matter — or 20 or 30 across these jurisdictions — but then it’s keeping track and keeping up with the rules,” Mike said.
While Harbor Compliance doesn’t offer legal or tax advice, Montali said it can free companies from worries about compliance issues so they can instead focus on what they do best.
“A license provides an ability to do some sort of work and capture an operation,” he said. “Having them in place, all of them maintained, across various states across various agencies, that allows the organization to just operate freely.”
And looking ahead, Montali sees a future with more growth.
“We see that this is an untapped market that has huge potential and we’ve really honed in on our business model,” Montali said.“I think we would be able to build a global brand. And we’re doing that right here in Lancaster.”
Danz also sees some obvious growth potential, which triggers a familiar worry about their amount of office space.
“We could be outgrowing this building soon,” she said.