Abstract: High-growth firms have received considerable interest recently since they create most of the new jobs in the economy. The purpose of our paper is to investigate the characteristics of high-growth firms prior to their
growth period, and whether these characteristics differ across industries. Using data on a large sample of limited liability firms in Sweden for the period 2007-2010, we find that high-growth firms do not have the characteristics that we typically associate with successful firms. On the contrary, our results indicate that high-growth firms have low profits and a weak financial position. This might explain why studies have found that high-growth firms are seldom capable of sustaining their high growth rates in subsequent periods, and thus question policies that are targeted towards these companies.