How to Find Private Company Financials
Whether you’re researching possible investment opportunities, sourcing acquisition targets for your company’s corporate development, or exploring insights for your MBA thesis on small businesses, you’ll need to understand the private financial markets. We’re breaking down how to source and discover private company financial data.
Finding private company financial data is hard.
Private companies are not required to report their financials to the SEC or make them public, so there is no central reporting system for private companies whereas public companies are required to disclose quarterly earnings to their investors, i.e. the public. If private companies were required to do the same, you could easily hop on any business’s website and view their most recent financial statements. If only!
Private equity and venture capital investors know there is huge potential in private markets.
While the stock market undergoes major shifts and selloffs, private companies are an increasingly attractive investment opportunity. For investors, deal intermediaries, and others, locating accurate private financial data is a laborious and uncertain process.
Here we provide several steps to finding private financial data.
Step One: Define what kind of private companies you are interested in.
If you don’t already have a set list of companies you’re interested in, start by researching the industry as a whole. For instance, if you’re looking to source venture-backed e-commerce companies you’ll want to start with a Google search of “high growth e-commerce startups”. If you’re looking for small businesses within a geographic area, you might start your search with “small businesses in Atlanta, Georgia” and use lists such as “75 best small companies to work for” as a resource to compile your own list. Speaking of lists...
Step Two: Create a system for tracking and recording the relevant company insights you’re interested in.
Do you prefer Excel, Google Docs, Word, or some other application to keep record of your research? We recommend tracking the company name, website, headquarters, employee count, fundings, loans, or deals, as well as any insights into revenue, plans for growth capital, etc.
Step Three: Use social media and Google to detect business health factors.
LinkedIn, Google, and the company’s own website will give you plenty of information about standard details such as the company’s headquarters, year founded, business description, etc.
For a more in-depth understanding of a company’s health, check to see if they have any recent articles about user-acquisition, funding rounds, CEO-drama, or new partnerships. You can dig even further by checking their job postings, Glassdoor reviews, and participation in industry specific trade shows or events. Articles from financial journals such as the Wall Street Journal or TechCrunch can provide key financial information, while it is only a specific subset of companies that are reported on.
Given the widespread availability of PPP loans during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is plenty of public information about private companies who received loan amounts to support a certain number of jobs. You can search several media sources (Washington Post and Propublica, for instance) for an accessible version of the SBA’s own records.
If you have an insider source at the target firm, you can also ask them if they know of any metrics that might be relevant to your search.
Step Four: Subscribe to trade journals and financial news sources in the geographic or target area you're interested in.
Subscribe to trade journals and financial news sources in the geographic or target area you're interested in. You'll have access to company financials and other information that could help you determine whether a business is worth your time or not. For example, when I was looking for private companies with a market cap of $10 million to $500 million, I subscribed to magazines for business owners such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Bloomberg Small Business Report, American Express OPEN Forum and others.
Skip these steps. Use the #1 Database for U.S. based privately-held companies.
PrivCo is the leading provider of financial information on private companies. With over fifteen years of private financial data collection and modeling, our multi-step approach provides you with the most accurate and in-depth intelligence.
Start with a free membership.