No. 1 in Real Estate

Platinum Realty
2,011.1% Three-Year Growth
Revenue: $2.5 Million
Employees: 4
CEO: Scott DeNeve
Founded: 2005
Overall RANK: No. 129
Overland Park, Kan.

Scott DeNeve was just 24 years old and had been working as a real estate agent for all of two years when he had his I-can't-possibly-work-for-someone-else moment. He founded Platinum Realty during the housing bubble, but he was wise enough to avoid the high living he saw in his competitors. For the company's first year and a half, DeNeve and his 20 agents crammed into a rented office that was just 110 square feet. He stressed the importance of working backward in order to stay debt free—the primary focus would be on profit, and more spacious digs would come later. DeNeve's approach worked (meanwhile, a number of competitors didn't survive the downturn), and his days in cramped quarters are now a thing of the past. Today, Platinum Realty has three offices and is the largest independent real estate company in Kansas City, with 242 agents.