Colorado Companies to Watch spotlight: Vforge Inc.
Snapshot: Lakewood-based Vforge manufactures aluminum alloy parts using proprietary technology. Parts are formed, machined and finished in various styles including painting, plating and polishing for a wide range of industries, including motorcycles and snowmobiles, firearms, medical equipment, aircraft seat parts and industrial valves and fittings.
Leadership: Ken Young has been president since the company’s founding in 1999.
Work force: Vforge’s work force has nearly doubled since 2008, growing from 50 employees to 90 at the end of last year.
Pivotal moment: Vforge incorporated in August 1999 after contracting with Cannondale Corp. to supply parts for its bicycles and motorsport divisions. By December 2002, Cannondale accounted for 92 percent of Vforge’s revenue. Cannondale’s bankruptcy in February 2003 forced Vforge to rapidly diversify and hone its banking and financial management. Now no one customer exceeds 25 percent of Vforge’s revenue.
Competitive Edge: In 2007, Vforge invested $750,000 to develop an independent material preparation and recycling system. This freed up cash flow, eliminated dependence on a sole-source foreign supplier and dramatically reduced product costs, eliminating the need to sell scrap at discounted prices. In 2010, Vforge acquired the assets of a tool and die shop to vertically integrate tool-making, which was the company’s last required core competency for manufacturing independence.
Growth curve: Vforge’s revenues grew 19 percent last year and are projected to increase another 10 percent in 2012.