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Business Research:

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Transcript of Business Research:

Business Research:
Finding Information about Private Companies & Startups

Topics & Definitions
Sidenote: Publicly Traded Companies
Researching Private Companies
Researching Startups & Company Patents
Analyst Reports & Other Resources
Depending on the type of research that you're doing, you may wish to consult analyst reports. These reports can provide a broad overview of a specific industry or company, as well as provide data specific to that industry or company.
The best resources for analyst reports are:
Questions?
Then please contact me:
Taryn Marks, tlmarks@law.ufl.edu

Consult UF's Business Library Resource page at http://businesslibrary.uflib.ufl.edu/home.

Consult UF Law's Research Guide on Business Law & Business Intelligence at http://guides.law.ufl.edu/businesslaw


Topics
General Business Law Research

Private Company Research

In-depth & advanced company information: startups, patents, etc.

Analyst Reports

Other Resources
Definitions
Startup Company
Company in its initial stages
Typically has little revenue or profits
Future of company highly uncertain

Often initially bankrolled by the founders or angel investors
Founders seeking to capitalize on perceived lack of product or service

Startup costs typically include:
research expenses;
insurance;
equipment/supplies;
advertising;

Often seeking additional funding from venture capitalists or other investors
General Business Law
Law governing corporations/corporate law
Corporate compliance & regulations
Business organizations

Mergers & acquisitions

Due diligence

Transactional law (some)

NOT tax

NOT securities
(except SEC filings)

NOT commerce
Good resource for business, business law, and entrepreneurship definitions:
Investopedia (http://www.investopedia.com)
Private Company
Company that does not sell its stock on a public market
May still issue stock, but only to limited market
Stock is not issued through an IPO

Owners may participate directly in firm’s business
Owners like the privacy and cross-generational ownership

Not required to adhere to SEC public disclosure & filing requirements (e.g., quarterly and annual reports)
One of the primary reasons a company stays private (or returns to being private).
May increase company’s desire to focus on long-term projects rather than short-term quarterly reports aimed to please shareholders.
borrowing costs;
employee costs (if there are employees);
and technological expenses
Analyst Reports
Reports prepared by experts about a company or industry

Analyze a company or industry for its stability, weak and strong areas, financial status, etc.

Important part of due diligence of a company

Often considers SWOT factors & Porter’s five competitive forces
Examples of Publicly Traded Companies
NASDAQ v. NYSE
There are two primary stock exchanges in the United States

NASDAQ (http://www.nasdaq.com)

Originally stood for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations – now just NASDAQ
Companies must be registered with the SEC, have three market makers (securities broker), and have a certain amount of assets, capital, public shares, and shareholders.
Trades are made through a broker – a dealer’s market
Traditionally thought of as the market for high-tech, more volatile firms
No physical location

NYSE (http://www.nyse.com)
Companies must meet one financial standard (e.g., pre-tax income or global market capitalization) and distribution standards for shares and shareholders
Trades are made by individuals – an auction market
Traditionally thought of as the market for blue-chip, more stable companies
Physical location on Wall Street
Researching Public Companies
Resources for Researching Public Companies
Researching public companies is typically easier than researching private companies.

Step One
: Do preliminary research using Google Finance (http://www.google.com/finance) or Yahoo! Finance (http://www.finance.yahoo.com)
Determine the company's stock ticker, registered stock exchange, financial overview, website, and main executives.

Step Two
: Go to the company's website and look for "Investor Information," "Shareholders," "Company Earnings" or some other similar iteration.
Cons: may not include all filed information; information can be difficult to find.
Pros: may include additional information beyond what is in filings; information may be better organized/easier to access when in a company's website rather than in the strict format of an SEC filing.

Step Three
: Go to Bloomberg Law (http://www.bloomberglaw.com -- password required), LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com -- password required, go to Company and Financial) or Hoover's (IP authenticated, http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376434)

For more details and screenshots
, see the Business Law Research Guide at http://guides.law.ufl.edu/businesslaw.
Best Databases for Researching Private Companies
(2) Hoover's
IP authenticated, access via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376434
Has both private and public companies
Search for a specific company
Or search for a set of companies that have certain criteria, such as:
Industry;
Size (sales, employees, etc.);
Finances;
IPO (date, offer amount);
People, etc.
(1) PrivCo
IP authenticated, access via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376750
Most extensive database of private company information
Typically the best place to start research of a private company
Searchable database of private companies, private market investors, VC funding, and private M&A and Equity Deals
Search for a specific private company, investor, VC
Or search for a set of companies that have certain criteria, such as:
Industry;
Annual Revenue or Revenue Growth Rate;
Ownership Criteria (e.g., family-owned; PE-VC backed)
Amount of capital raised through VC
PrivCo also has an excellent User Guide, available at http://www.privco.com/media/assets/etc/PrivCo-User-Guide.pdf.
Using Hoover's to Research Private Companies
Using PrivCo to Research Private Companies
Researching Startups
Company Patents
Step One: Use PrivCo & Hoovers
Researching a
Known
Startup Company:

Refer to the previous slides to look up the company name on PrivCo or Hoovers.
PrivCo is the most comprehensive, but occasionally Hoover's has a private company not covered by PrivCo.
Ensure that you have the company's name spelled correctly; refer to the company's website.
If you have trouble on PrivCo or Hoover's:
Try searching PrivCo or Hoover's by industry, company location, etc. (any information you already have about the company): this may capture a company with a weird/difficult to search name (consider AT&T or Häagen-Dazs -- a search engine may be confused by the non-alphabetical characters).
Though unlikely for a startup, it may have gone through a name change at some point. Industry searches can also help catch these companies.
Step Two: Use the Company's Website, Google & the Internet
Finding an unknown startup using Google can be challenging. Always double check the information that you find using a reliable webpage.

(1)
Search using the SIC or NAICS
number for the industry in which you're interested.
Look up the SIC number (https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sicsearch.html)
Last resort: look up the NAICS (http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics)
SIC replaced NAICS in 1997; is an outdated source of industries but is still used by databases
NOTE: a company may have multiple SIC or NAICS numbers.

(2)
Google search
for the industry/type of company and "startup"
E.g. "biotech startup"
You will likely get several search results that are lists of companies -- these can be good starting points for preliminary research.
Also try searching for venture capital or investor companies

(3) Entrepreneur & Early-Stage Company Resources
There are several resources available for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. While not necessarily a citable source, they can provide some ideas and information about other startups, as well as introduce you to some of the lingo used in certain industries. Some examples:
http://www.startupnation.com
Look at the Start a Business > Inspiration for Entrepreneurs; or Start a Business > Read our "Starting" Blog; or at Manage Your Business > Legal, Insurance & Compliance
what entrepreneurs are looking at; recent ideas for startups
https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-initiatives/startup-america
President Obama's initiative to support and grow startups
http://angelresourceinstitute.org
Try the Resource Centers available for Entrepreneurs and Startups (links on the top right of the page)
http://www.angelcapitalassociation.org
Click "For Entrepreneurs" or "For Startup Community" (top right)
Try searching these websites for the industry in which you're interested
Other Resources for Private Company Research
(1) The company's website
Scroll to the bottom of the page to look for information about company structure, any investor relations information, or financial/earnings links.
If the website has a search function, use it to search for the information you're seeking
E.g., finances, money, patents, etc.
If the website has no search function (or it's terrible), try using Google
In the Google search box, type site:full web address of the site (search terms)
Uses the Google search algorithm to search just the website identified.

(2) Google
Use Google to find any other information available about the company.
Refer to Google's Advanced search page (http://www.google.com/advanced_search)
Add keywords; try industry keywords rather than the company name

(3) Local Business Journals
The American City Business Journals collects several local business journals.
http://www.bizjournals.com
Type the name of the private company in their search box
Some information subscription-based (if you run into a paywall, try searching the catalog (http://www.law.ufl.edu/library) for the journal to see if we have access via another database).
Also try searching City, Regional, and Local Business Magazines
Organized by geography, so you will need to determine the company's location.
Links to a variety of magazines available at:
http://www.bibliomaven.com/citymags.html
http://www.bibliomaven.com/businessjournals.html

(4) State Secretaries of State
Companies are required to register with the Secretary of State for the state in which they are located.
Google the state name and secretary of state business registration; OR
Visit the National Association of Secretaries of State Corporate Registration page, which features a drop-down menu connecting you directly to the individual state's webpage.
http://www.nass.org/state-business-services/corporate-registration/
Finding an
Unknown
Startup Company:

Refer to the previous slides to use the advanced search functions on PrivCo (use Hoover's only as a last resort for this type of search).
Limit by Industry or SIC number
Industry searches using PrivCo's own industry breakdown
Differs from an SIC search
May be a more refined search and incorporate newer industries not yet listed in the SIC database
Look up the SIC number (https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sicsearch.html)
Type the SIC number into the database to search
Not as granular as the PrivCo industry search but widely-used, "official" industry database
Last resort: look up the NAICS (http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics)
SIC replaced NAICS in 1997; is an outdated source of industries but is still used by databases
NOTE: a company may have multiple PrivCo Industries, SIC, and NAICS numbers.
Step One (a): Advanced Searches for Startups on PrivCo
(1) Go to the company's website.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to look for information about company structure, any investor relations information, or financial/earnings links.

If the website has a search function, use it to search for the information you're seeking
E.g., finances, money, patents, etc.

If the website has no search function (or it's terrible), try using Google
In the Google search box, type site:full web address of the site (search terms)
Uses the Google search algorithm to search just the website identified.
Researching an Unknown Startup Company
Researching a Known Startup Company
(2) Search Google to find any other information available about the company.
Refer to Google's Advanced search page (http://www.google.com/advanced_search)
Add keywords; try industry keywords rather than the company name
Step Three: Use Other Business & Business News Databases
Because startups can encompass such a broad variety of topics, there isn't a resource that will include all startups.
The databases listed below encompass business journals, news, magazines, small business, etc.
Try searching these databases for the name of the startup or the industry in which you're interested.

(1) Avention/OneSource Business
(IP authenticated, access via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5377400)
Limited to North American companies; includes both company reports and news.
Type the name of the startup, industry, or concept into the main search box.
Click Advanced Search; narrow to companies, news, or triggers (information that might impact the business world), then select answers and enter keywords.

(2) ABI/Inform Complete
(IP authenticated, access via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=7687)
Business journals, data, and magazines.
Click Advanced Search > under more search options, enter the name of the company or click Look up Companies/organizations
Can also search by NAICS or Classification (topical) code
Also try searching using the search boxes at the top of the Advanced Search page
Limit to Document Text, Subject Heading, or Abstract (depending on what you're searching) using the drop-down boxes to the right of the search box.
Also try searching product name, another drop-down menu option.

(3) Business Source Premier
(IP authenticated, access viahttp://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376261)
Academic business journals, trade publications, news, & more.
Search by NAICS, Duns, company name, or ticker (scroll down to the bottom of the page)
At the top of the page, select either (AB) Abstract or Author-Supplied Abstract; or (KW) Author-supplied Keywords from the drop-down menu, then type your search terms into the search box.
If no results, try a (TX) all text search
Analyst Reports
Other Resources
IBISWorld Industry Market Research
Access IBISWorld via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376435.
MarketLine Advantage
Business Insights: Essentials
Gale’s Business Plans Handbook Series
Search tip: Click Advanced Search > Subject Guide Search > enter broad keyword for the industry for which you are seeking business plans

Gale’s Small Business Collection
Search tip: Click Subject Guide Search > search Startups; Business Plan; the specific industry in which you’re interested> click Subdivisions
Click applicable, then use the filters on the left to limit further

Gale’s Small Business Resource Center
Click Business Topics, Business Types, or Sample Business Plans to limit search (has similar content to Business Plans Handbook Series but easier to navigate and search)
Access all of the Gale databases via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376731
Google "research guide" & (entrepreneur/startups/business plan)

BCC Research (access via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376991)
More analyst reports; user-friendly interface.

Business & Company ASAP (access via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5376722)
Has a lot of information & business journals; poor user interface.
Try clicking Business Index ASAP and searching by company name.

Small Business associations and development centers (see http://researchguides.library.tufts.edu/content.php?pid=56189&sid=411352)
Also look at the U.S. government's Small Business Administration, http://www.sba.gov.

Depending on what you are researching, you may need to consult other business law resources. UF has access to several databases; here are a few that may be most useful:
Other Resources for Patent Searches
The USPTO's website is the official source for patents, but there are other resources if you get stuck:

Google Patents (http://www.google.com/patents.)
Does not have field searches, but search algorithm is sometimes better.

The company's website or any known products' user manual or instructions.

For a public company, SEC filings sometimes note patent numbers.
Look at the company's asset report.

Other research guides on locating patents:
Stanford Library's guide at https://lib.stanford.edu/swain-library/patent-research-guide

Tufts University guide at http://researchguides.library.tufts.edu/patentdatabases
Great resource for what information is in different databases -- excellent chart.

Clemson has a decent guide on searching for patents in the business context at http://clemson.libguides.com/content.php?pid=259627&sid=2668914
Access MarketLine via http://tinyurl.com/yaq59t
Access Business Insights: Essentials via http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/go.php?c=5377700.
Full transcript