A rare condition: Hyper-Growth – catch it while you can

Tom Paine

I’ve seen evidence of what I refer to as “hypergrowth” in a few tech-related industries in the Philly area. These are sectors that are in transformational states, in which high demand is constant, and new approaches are developing. However, hypergrowth can fade as quickly as it began.

Pharma DTC (Direct to Consumer) advertising is booming. In November, the top 10 brands spent $204 million, well above typical November spending. Last year, the top 10 spent $157 million, versus $158 million in 2018.

Pharma media planning & buying agency CMI / Compas (King of Prussia) added 51 people to the firm in September alone. It now has more than 700 employees, according to FiercePharma.

Clinical Trials are a quintessentially Philly industry, and the companies or institutions that manage and conduct them, as well as their technology providers, have been fully occupied by demand in 2020.

This has been true not only for Covid-19 related vaccines and therapies, but for a range of other products coming out of the labs. The recent merger of BioClinica and ERT was another step in a gradual trend towards industry consolidation.

Online Sportsbooks are starting up and for now Pennsylvania, as one of the first states where it is legal, along with New Jersey and Delaware, are major beneficiaries. Companies participating in the business are gearing up, spending alot upfront to establish long-term market positions. See legal status by state. Some investments are media oriented, others are for building technology.

Big players are Berks County-based Penn National ( and its Penn Interactive unit based in Conshy as well as its Barstool Sports Book) , FOXBet in Cherry Hill, BetMGM in Trenton, FanDuel and DraftKings.

Early FanDuel Investor Paul Martino (Bullpen Capital) is banking on Philadelphia being the Sports Betting Capital of the US. A venture named Bankroll is his latest bet on sports betting.

The business of preparing large volumes of data for ingestion into Business Intelligence, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence models is growing rapidly. Fishtown Analytics is the best Philly-based example of this: Talend subsidiary Stitch is another example.

Companies like Qlik and SAP are major users, as well as the medical and financial research sectors.