The Gritty Startups Topping This Year's Inc. 5000

[From Inc.]

Roughly 50 percent of all startups fail within their first 5 years. Many others struggle to stay afloat, let alone grow. But these founders have not merely survived. They've excelled. ...

Consider Shawn Lange and Derek Pietz, who in 2011 founded L2F as an engineering firm that designs customized manufacturing tools for high-tech startups in Silicon Valley. Their first customer dropped into their laps, and they quickly parlayed a $150,000 consulting gig into a $1.5 million contract. The partners invested in hardware, software, and space. But the deal evaporated when the client's funding was yanked because it had pivoted without informing its venture investors. Read more on Inc.