Inc. magazine, founded in 1979 and based in New York City, is an American monthly publication focused on growing companies. The magazine publishes an annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., the "Inc. 500."
Inc. was founded in Boston by Bernie Goldhirsh, and its first issue appeared in April 1979.  Goldhirsh was an MIT -trained engineer who worked at Polaroid and on ballistic missiles before becoming an entrepreneur and founding Sail magazine, which he sold for $10 million, using the profits to found Inc. Paul W. Kellam, who had joined Goldhirsh's company as editor of Marine Business, was tapped as the first editor.  Goldhirsh kept a low profile, and longtime editor George Gendron was the "public face" of the magazine for two decades.  Though long considered the younger upstart compared to most business publications, Inc. suffered following the dot-com era as titles like Fast Company seemed to grab more attention, but the tech crash and subsequent retrenchment saw the magazine stabilize its circulation and image.  In 2000, widowed and battling cancer, Goldhirsh sold the magazine to Gruner + Jahr  for a price reported over $200 million.  The magazine was purchased in 2005 by Morningstar founder, Joe Mansueto, and Inc. and its sister magazine Fast Company constitute the publishing arm of Mansueto Ventures. The magazine is now based in New York City, and its editor-in-chief is Eric Schurenberg. In December 2013, Schurenberg was appointed as President of Inc., replacing the long-tenured Bob LaPointe. In late January 2014, Inc. announced that Reuters Opinion editor James Ledbetter would take over as editor of the magazine and Web site. 
Goldhirsh's devotion to the principles of entrepreneurism led him to create the Goldhirsh Foundation  and a unique trust run by his children.  Founder Bernie Goldhirsh's son, Ben Goldhirsh, is the founder of Good Magazine. 
In October 1981, Inc. became the first magazine to feature Steve Jobs on its cover, alongside the proclamation, "This man has changed business forever".
Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000
The Inc. 500 is an annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, introduced in 1982. The Inc. 5000 is an expansion of the Inc. 500, which ranks the country’s top 5000 fastest-growing private companies and also features a special ranking of the top 10% of the list as the Inc. 500. 
The Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth over a four-year period. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of the starting calendar year, and therefore able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31 of the last year measured. Revenue in the initial year must have been at least $100,000, and revenue in the most recent year must have been at least $2 million. 
The Inc.500 | 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony is an annual event produced by Inc. magazine. It was created in 1982 to celebrate the fastest growing private companies in America. In its first issue in 1979, Inc. magazine published the Inc. 100 fastest-growing publicly held small companies; in 1982, the list expanded to the Inc. 500, and in 2007, Inc. magazine, in conjunction with Inc.com, released the first Inc. 5000 list.
This annual conference brings together the current year's class of Inc. 500|5000 honorees, the list's alumni, as well as entrepreneurs from the general public. The event has featured a number of well-known business and political figures and expert speakers including: Bill Clinton, Bob Berry, Marshall Goldsmith, Scott Cook, Bernard Marcus, and Thomas Friedman.   
The Inc. 5000 expanded to a European edition, which was released on February 24, 2015.