SwanLeap tops Deloitte’s Fast 500 and CEO Hollister talks “secret sauce”

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SwanLeap, a leading end-to-end transportation technology provider for logistics managers and supply chain decision-makers, today announced its No. 1 ranking on Deloitte’s 2018 North America Technology Fast 500 list with a staggering 77,260 percent growth. The list recognizes the fastest-growing North American companies in technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech sectors based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2014 to 2017.

“It is both humbling and validating for SwanLeap to be listed as the No. 1 fastest-growing company on the Deloitte Fast 500,” said Brad Hollister, CEO and co-founder of SwanLeap in a prepared statement. “Our team has worked relentlessly to deliver unprecedented clarity and control to a fragmented shipping market through technology powered by artificial intelligence, curating cost-effective and personalized supply chain recommendations in real time. We are grateful to our employees and customers for making this achievement possible.”

After SwanLeap leaped to the top of the Inc. 5000 rankings, of which 162 were transportation and logistics companies, FreightWaves featured the organization and covered some of its early beginnings. This time around, when we caught up with the visionary CEO, we asked Hollister for a little more insight into the insane growth the company is seeing.

FreightWaves: While a lot of companies see A.I. and automation as the highest level of achievement when it comes to the application of their data and analytics and software resources, you all seem to have already arrived. How did you seemingly skip ahead with such speed? 

Hollister: “I think the minute that we tell ourselves we’ve arrived, we’ve lost. The world of technology changes so fast, it is essential that we continue to listen and learn to ensure we are solving the right problems in the right ways.”

“We are in an industry that is in desperate need of disruption; it’s long overdue. I like to joke that we don’t even have the ‘I’ figured out yet in this industry, let alone the ‘A.’ It’s a very antiquated space. Businesses that are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue are still managing their global supply chains with Excel spreadsheets. We believe that a TMS should be leveraged as the lifeblood of an organization—not just as a label maker or a way to push shipments off the dock. The current market leaders in TMS utilize technology that was built in the early 90s and is incredibly limited in its capacity and capability. Having an on-premises server that dumps data at the end of the day does not mean you are leveraging data and analytics. It’s impossible to do something valuable with a pure data dump. With that kind of foundation, organizations will discover extraneous needs for auxiliary solutions to improve their fundamental processes. SwanLeap fixed the foundation. We offer our customers an artificial intelligence platform that saves money, optimizes visibility, and increases control.”

FW: If there is a “secret sauce” how would you explain it? Everyone says it comes from extremely hard work. What else do you attribute your astounding success to?

Hollister: “I think one of the most significant ingredients for success is courage. Hard work is, of course, essential, but you can also work really hard on the wrong things. It takes courage to be able to say, ‘We’re heading in the wrong direction,’ or, ‘This made sense when we first started, but it’s time to make a change.’ Building a business is incredible and exciting, but it’s also terrifying! Being successful means that more and more people are depending on me and depending on SwanLeap. You can’t scale and grow successfully without courage.”

SwanLeap was also recognized as the sector leader in the software category, which continues to dominate the overall list. Software companies delivered the highest growth rates for the 23rd year in a row, representing 64 percent of the entire list and six of the top 10 winners overall. 

“Software, which accounts for nearly two of every three companies on the list, continues to produce some of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century, including innovations in artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and robotics,” said Mohana Dissanayake, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and industry leader for technology, media and telecommunications in Deloitte’s audit and assurance practice. “This year’s ranking demonstrates what is likely a national phenomenon, where many companies from all parts of America are transforming the way we do business by combining breakthrough research and development, entrepreneurship and rapid growth.”

Earlier this year, SwanLeap was also listed on the Wisconsin Inno 50 on Fire. For additional details on the Technology Fast 500, including the complete list and qualifying criteria, visit