A "board meeting" at Laguna Beach, California-based computer commodities trading company Arbitech is more likely to include the Pacific Ocean and surfboards than a big table and office chairs.
Co-founders Torin Pavia, 31, and William Poovey, 32, really know how to have fun. Lunches for all 26 employees are catered every day, the group often surfs together, and an annual corporate retreat sends everyone off to lovely locales like Puerto Vallarta. Arbitech has the opposite problem most businesses do: "I have to call people and tell them to go home at my company," says Pavia.
Pavia and Poovey also know how to get down to business. Arbitech doubled its 2001 sales by hitting the $60 million mark last year. They've come in at No. 2 on our Hot 100 list for the second year in a row. They're shooting for $90 million this year and are already well on track.
Founded in 2000 with $500,000 from the founders' savings, Arbitech is blazing its way as a less expensive alternative to big computer products distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data. Most people don't think of computer memory being a commodity like corn, but Arbitech does. "We take a securities and commodities approach.
It's very much like Merrill Lynch or PaineWebber," explains Pavia. "Why reinvent the wheel?" Their sales floor looks a lot like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. This way of conducting business helps them offer computer products at low prices to mostly small resellers across the country. "We sell HP cheaper than HP sells HP," Pavia boasts.
Integrity is a way of life at Arbitech. Its marketplace has long been tainted by used and counterfeit goods and shady businesses, a fact that spurred the company's slogan: "Bringing integrity to the channel." Judging by its growth and the increasing number of small resellers that rely on the company as a lifeline, Arbitech is doing just that. Looking ahead to the company's healthy future, all we can say is, the surf is most definitely up.