Comarco - Powering the Mobile Lifestyle

Fastest Growing Public Companies - No. 2 : Lake Forest-based Comarco Inc.


By Sarah Tolkoff

Lake Forest-based Comarco Inc. charged up its revenue growth last year when it struck a deal with another local company.

In mid-2009, Comarco signed an exclusive deal with Anaheim’s Targus Inc., the top maker of laptop bags, backpacks and related computer accessories.

Comarco designs power adapters for charging a variety of consumer electronics, including laptops, iPods, cameras, cell phones and other mobile devices. It makes the chargers in Asia and markets the adapters here under the ChargeSource name.

Comarco’s chargers also are sold under the Targus brand at Best Buy, Staples, and other stores.

“The biggest guy in the universal aftermarket power business is Targus,” said Fredrik Torstensson, vice president of sales and marketing for Comarco. “We are now kind of married together.”

The deal gave Comarco “an instant $32 million in yearly revenue,” Torstensson said.

“That’s where most of the growth came from,” he said.

Comarco came in at No. 2 on the Business Journal’s 2010 list of the fastest-growing public companies in Orange County.

The company posted 228% revenue growth for the three years through June 30. Comarco went from $3.8 million in revenue for the 12 months through June 2008 to $37 million for the same period through this June.

Comarco’s chargers come packaged with a series of specialized ports—dubbed “smart tips”—that allow a variety of devices to be charged from one adapter at the same time.

The company sells four chargers at stores and through resellers. They range from $80 to $140.

The other part of Comarco’s business is selling chargers directly to makers of laptops, which in turn sell them to corporations and individuals.

Comarco’s two biggest resellers are Dell Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd.

“Dell was another new customer of ours last year,” Torstensson said.

Comarco’s charger business is what’s left after the company restructured in 2008. It sold two unrelated businesses, which aren’t accounted for in the company’s 2008 figures on our list.

“We looked at this business and saw that it had the most value,” Torstensson said of Comarco’s chargers. “The focus is better. There are no other distractions.”

In 2008, Switzerland’s Ascom Holding AG bought a former Comarco unit that makes and services wireless testing gear for $13 million.

That same year, Comarco sold off its business making and servicing emergency roadside call boxes in a management-led buyout to Case Systems LLC in Irvine.

Orange County Business Journal