HEAD­QUAR­TERS: Fred­er­icks­burg, Vir­ginia FOUNDERS: Robert Davis, Ab­bas Haider (CEO) EM­PLOY­EES: 12

Body ar­mor has his­tor­i­cally been ugly, al­beit un­de­ni­ably util­i­tar­ian. Haider and Davis, who founded Aspetto while in col­lege at the Univer­sity of Mary Wash­ing­ton in Fredricks­burg, bet that U.S. gov­ern­ment agen­cies would be will­ing to pay for bet­ter-look­ing bul­let-re­sis­tant ap­parel (of­ten $3,500 per jacket). Since then, Aspetto has ex­panded be­yond fash­ion to tac­ti­cal prod­ucts, win­ning con­tracts this year to make fe­male-spe­cific mil­i­tary out­fits for the U.S. Air Force and stab vests for the Bu­reau of Pris­ons. It ex­pects rev­enue to reach $12.5 mil­lion in 2020, a nearly sev­en­fold in­crease from a year ago.

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