Private Companies

Private companies do not sell shares on a publicly-traded stock exchange. They include partnerships, sole proprietorships, or corporations. They usually do not want to be public so that they can protect proprietary technologies, maintain unique marketing strategies, and control disclosure of their financials. Therefore, in order to find information about a private company, you need to determine likely sources where they would be found. In addition to directories and websites, those include industry publications, regional sources, trade shows and expert interviews.

gold triange Lists of private companies

gold triange Interviews

gold triange New Media Sites

gold triange Articles

gold triange Local News

gold triange Local Organizations

gold triange Trade Associations

gold triange Public Sector Sources

gold triange SEC Filings - Going Public

Lists of Private Companies

The URLs listed on this page aren't solely for private companies, but can list both public and private companies. Since private companies aren't required to publish as much data as public companies, you probably won't be able to find out as much about them.

  • Free web sites America's largest private companies
      Published by Forbes magazine. The list can be sorted by name, rank, industry, state, revenues, and employees.
  • Only for Baker students Business Insights Global (see also: Company Background Information)
      This database provides information about more than 400,000 companies. Most are public, but there will be beneficial information on private companies, as well.
  • Only for Baker students Lexis/Nexis Academic (see also: Company Background Information)
      This database pulls from numerous sources, some of which are completely devoted to covering private companies.
  • Free web sites inc.5000
      Fastest growing private companies in America. Offers the most comprehensive look at the entrepreneurial engine driving the U.S. economy.
  • Free web sites Price Waterhouse Coopers, National Venture Capital Association: Money Tree Report
      When private companies need capital, one of the alternatives is Venture Capital. The MoneyTree Report is a quarterly study of venture capital investment activity in the United States. The MoneyTree Report is the definitive source of information on emerging companies that receive financing and the venture capital firms that provide it.
  • Free web sites Thomas Register
      A large index of manufacturers. In some cases, links to on-line product catalogs. Good site to visit if you want to know what a company does, or if you want to know which companies make a certain type of product.


An important method of of finding out what is happening within a private company is to locate interviews of the CEO or senior management. By peering into their thoughts, you may determine what makes them tick and what determines the way they run the company. You will find out about their attitudes, opinions, and strategic thinking. In addition, they might reveal their revenue, the number of employees in their company, their culture, and their growth rate.


  1. Free web site provides company profiles prepared for job seekers and as such, attempts to encompass corporate culture as a way to help those seeking employment. They offer various guides for sale along with interviews of employees who work for individual companies, plus job seeker discussion lists. At one time, their profiles were free but they now provide some, but not all info for free, and charge a moderate fee for accessing additional information.

  2. Baker ID neededBusiness Insights Global

    Follow these steps to find an interview in this database:

      • In the main search screen, select: Advanced Search.

      • Type your search into the search boxes.
      • For example: Eisner and interview

      • From the Limit By column on the left, select the appropriate name you are searching.

  3. Baker ID neededBusiness Source Premier

    Follow these steps to find an interview in this database:
    • From the blue bar along the top, under More, select: Indexes
    • In the "Browse an Index" search box, select: People
    • In the "Browse for" search box, type a name. (last name first). For example, Gates, Bill
    • When the selection list appears, scroll down and select the name - interviews. For example, GATES, BILL, 1955 -- INTERVIEWS

  4. Baker ID needed Lexis/Nexis News Transcripts

    Follow these steps to find an interview in this database:
    • From the opening screen, slide down to: Search the News.
    • In the "Search for" box, enter your search terms:
      For example:
      Warren Buffet and interview
    • In the "By source type" box,  use the down arrow and highlight: Broadcast Transcripts
    • When the results appear, slide to the left navigation column. You can limit the transcripts from a particular radio or t.v. show
    • You can also limit to a particular name under the People label.


You can refine your results by:
  1. Using the truncation symbol, ! to accommodate all endings of a name.
    eg: Phil! will pull Phil OR Philip.
  2. Using the W/2 connector to eliminate stray names that might appear in a document. This will ensure that one name is "within two" words of the other.
    eg: Phil! w/2 Knight

New Media Sites

You can learn a great deal about any company based on the publicly accessible feedback you glean from professional and employment websites. Based on what people list on their employment histories, you can fill in isolated bits of information such as: salaries, type of employees, job openings (which would lead to knowledge of their projects and priorities), etc. When searching, use as many titles as you need to complete the picture; sales, business development, account manager, etc.


Finding information on public companies in ABI/Inform Complete or Business Source Premier is not very difficult. The same is not true for private companies and/or divisions of public companies. Try to find Promega in the company search box of ABI/Inform or the Company Profile section of Business Source Premier. The results will be satisfactory but general. All this means is that you have to change your search strategy.

You can tighten the search for information on the private companies by changing the parameters of your search to look for mentions of the company name in the kind of documents that will dwell on more in depth information.
In ABI/Inform Complete, the search screen would look like this:


The problem with this type of text searching is that an article can mention the word Promega but the article might not have anything meaty to say about the company or yield very little information. What often happens is that an official of the company is quoted in an article. There are ways to handle this.

You can sort your results by date or relevancy. The default is date, but in this kind of search if you change the box to relevancy it will rank your searches by how many times (relevancy) the word you are searching for is mentioned in the article. Also, you can select the Document type, which means you can eliminate seeing wire stories and brief news articles.

Search results box in ABI/Inform, using relevancy and limiting the Document Type:

You can do the same thing in Business Source Premier.

In Business Source Premier, the search screen defaults to showing the results by relevancy and the screen would look like this:

Local News

It doesn't matter if a firm is large or small; local companies are usually well-covered by the local press. Coverage is generally more in-depth and ongoing than what you may find in the national sources. Newspaper and periodical articles can provide extensive and varied types of information on companies--for example, historical background, new ventures, marketing campaigns, analyses of financial situations, and biographical profiles of key executives. Remember that news comes in all forms. Be sure to check radio and television news in addition to newspapers.

  • Free web sites American City Business Journals
    Perform an advanced Google Search by linking to Google and entering [your keywords] 

    Articles from the 40 local business newspapers published by American City Business Journals. [Including the Kansas City Business Journal]. Sometimes it's possible to obtain hard to find information on companies located in a region that were not available anywhere else.  Issues—going back decades in some cases—can be freely searched via an advanced Google search, allowing you to pinpoint, link and then view the full text of previously published articles on whatever company (or other topic) you are currently researching.

  • Only for Baker students Lexis/Nexis Academic
    There is an important technique that involves searching in newspapers, and especially databases that support an "at least" connector, like Lexis/Nexis. Let's say you wanted to find information about your company's main competitors specifically in newspaper articles. You can command the system to retrieve articles where the name of the company appears at least five times, and the truncated form of the word, competitor, occurs one or more times. Limiting your query in this manner practically ensures that the search yields articles that discuss the company.

    In Lexis/Nexis, the search screen would look like this:

    atleast LexisNexis 

  • Only for Baker students Regional Business News
    Often you will find more info on a private company in the hometown newspaper, or a special regional business publication. This
    database provides full text coverage for 75 business journals, newspapers and newswires from all metropolitan and rural areas
    within the United States.

  • Free web sites Radio-Locator
    Links to webpages and audio streams of private and public radio stations around the world.

Local Organizations

Local organizations are a great place to turn when you need to fill in the blanks about privately held companies.Try the following sites by searching or browsing by location:

Trade Associations

One of the best strategies for locating information on private companies is to contact the trade association that monitors the company's specific industry or product. On the web, their home pages cover news, legislative concerns, and, most productively, data, analysis, and trends for their industry.

To identify the name and address of a trade association:

  • Only for Baker students Business Insights Global
    You can find a subset of the Encyclopedia of Associations, featuring only associations that are linked to business.

    In Business Insights Global, follow these steps:
      1. Select: Advanced Search

      2. In the search box, enter the name of the association. In the fields box, scroll down to Associations and highlight Name:

To Locate a Trade Association in a Search Engine:

Key in the name of the association using quotation marks: "national restaurant association." From the home page, look for links called "research", "trends", "library", or other terms indicating industry data.

Public Sector Sources

  • Free web sites Secretaries of State
      Depending on the state in which it is registered, a private company may have to file annual reports with the Secretary of State, although the actual reports may or may not be available on the web. Secretary of State offices may provide articles of incorporation, UCC info, etc. Use this site to access each Secretary of State's web site.

SEC Filings - Going Public

  • Free web sites FormDs
      Form D is the document that startup firms need to file when they are raising money and are a type of firm that is exempt from registering with the SEC. While you can search those documents on the official SEC EDGAR site, this site is optimized just for finding a Form D. It has several advanced and filtering functions, including a "newest" filings feature. A range of startups are included, from high tech, social media, bio-tech, hedge funds, and those that are considered in "stealth" mode. Consider this site if you need to find information on all kinds of startup firms around the country.

  • Free web sites Securities and Exchange Commission
      When a company is private, but has plans to go public, they must file either a form S-1 or SB-2 with the SEC. The S-1's and SB-2's contain the full prospectus of a company at the time of filing, including financials, marketing, risk factors, competition, industry overview, executive compensation, and other information.

Another reason a private company might have to file with the SEC is because they have issued public debt. In that case, they file registration statements (S1, S3, Prospectus), financials (10Q And 10K) and some material events (8K). It does not file a proxy and there are no insider/stakeholder filings (forms 3,4,5 and 13D).