Uncover Private Company Financial Data

Introduction

Company research can be an arduous task for business researchers and investors alike. The elusive financial information from privately-held companies can make company research all the more difficult, especially compared to their publicly-traded counterparts.

Definitions

Publicly-traded companies, by definition, trade company stocks on the public market, and regularly disclose business and financial information to the public through the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Public companies are required to provide audited financial information within an annual 10-k report, executive income through an accompanying proxy statement, and other company filings. Privately-held companies, in contrast, do not trade company securities to the general public and are instead owned by non-governmental entities or by a small number of shareholders. Since private companies are not publicly-traded, they are not required to disclose business or financial information.

Question

If privately-held companies do not typically disclose financial information to the public, how can YOU access private company information for research projects and papers?

Answer

The UW Libraries subscribes to multiple databases that provide accurate and reliable estimates for private company data. This includes:

  • PrivCo: Estimated revenues and valuations of privately held companies
  • PitchBook: Investment trends and transactions in private equity and venture capital sectors
  • CB Insights: Ven­ture cap­i­tal and pri­vate equity activ­ity by indus­try, geog­ra­phy, and com­pany status
  • D&B Hoovers: Public and private company profiles, news, financials and industry reports
  • Mergent Online (D&B Private Company Database): Global business data for private and public companies

Database Spotlight: PrivCO

Tablet dislaying PrivCo report of Airbnb, Inc. financial data

What does PrivCo do?

PrivCo provides in-depth company financial information for U.S private companies that earn $10 Million or more in revenues. After creating an individual account, users can search or browse private companies and retrieve income statements, growth rates, valuation estimates, funding activity, investment history, mergers and acquisition activity, and more. Financial information can also be exported to an excel spreadsheet for further analysis.

Where does the financial data come from?

PrivCo’s data sources are not always directly identified and are often guarded due to commercial reasons. PrivCo gathers data from proprietary sources, which could include the private companies themselves, as well as former employees and investors. PrivCo has also developed its own proprietary data-gathering technology, and utilizes manual research from expert financial analysts to provide unique and in-depth company information.

Limitations

As mentioned, PrivCo only provides information about U.S. private companies that earn $10 million or more. Consequently, international companies and small private companies are not included in this database.

Learn more

To learn more about Business Resources available to UW Students, be sure to check out the Business Research Guide. Further questions? Come visit the Research Help Desk in the Snoqualmie building, or chat with a librarian online!

References

Wu, K. (2013). PrivCo Review. Library Faculty Publications and Presentations. 240. Retrieved from https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1242&context=ulib_fac

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