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Phila.'s SEER Interactive lands on Inner City 100 list

The Northern Liberties search engine optimization firm was the only area company to make the annual list of fast-growing firms based in the nation's inner cities.

SEER Interactive is the lone Philadelphia company on the 2012 Inner City 100 list of the fastest-growing companies in -- where else? -- the inner city.

For the last 14 years, the nonprofit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City has been highlighting the entrepreneurial activity that goes on in U.S. cities. And for about just as long, I've wondered why more Philadelphia firms don't pop up on it.

See if you detect a trend: Last year, there were just two Philadelphia-area companies on the list, three in 2010, and four in 2009.

In fact, the list probably should be renamed the Inner City (Especially Chicago) 100, given its historic dominance of it. Twelve Chicago firms, including the nation's fastest grower -- Coyote Logistics -- made the 2012 list.

The Windy City's closest challengers were Nashville, Tenn. (six companies), Washington, D.C. (five), and Oklahoma City, OK, and Los Angeles (four each).

SEER, based in the city's Northern Liberties neighborhood, is in the search engine optimization business. Founded by Wil Reynolds in 2002, the company had a five-year growth rate of 50 percent in sales to place it No. 25 on the Inner City 100.

ICIC said the top 100 companies employ a total of 7,965 employees and generated a total of $1.5 billion in revenues. Thirty-six percent of the companies are minority-owned.

To qualify, a firm had to have at least 51 percent of its operations in an economically distressed urban area. It must have at least 10 full-time employees as well as five years of revenues, including at last $200,000 in its first year.