If you want to launch and build a successful company, it sure helps to have mentors and role models. There's no better place to look than the Inc. 5000, an annual list of fastest-growing private companies in America. 

The 2019 list was released this morning, and Freestar, a tech company that helps publishers maximize advertising revenue, took the No. 1 spot.

Its enviable numbers include:

  • A roster of 300 clients in the digital publishing space
  • $37 million in revenue for 2018
  • 36,680 percent revenue growth since 2015 

Not bad for a company whose co-founders' first product was a calendar featuring swimsuit models from Arizona State University, back in 2004.

As my colleague Leigh Buchanan writes, this isn't just "a list of America's biggest or most profitable companies. Rather, it is a list of the most promising. The excitement lies in seeing what they will do next." 

Here are some of the other resources you'll find published today:

With its No.1 ranking, Freestar, along with the other honorees, are now members of an esteemed group. 

Among those Inc. has included on its list over the years -- many before they were household names -- are companies like: Apple, Southwest Airlines, Sonic Drive-In (then called Sonic Industries), Nike, and FedEx (then known as Federal Express).

Of course making the list -- or even hitting number 1 -- doesn't guarantee long-term success. Just recently we learned that Loot Crate, which was number 1 a few years ago, has filed for bankruptcy

That's the thing about building something great. There's always the risk that it won't turn out. If it weren't the case, everyone would be doing this. 

But everybody doesn't do this. You do (or at least, you aspire to). And that's why these companies deserve the accolades they'll be receiving for making the list.