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Q: What is the purpose of

A: To empower users to learn more about the impact of private capital-backed companies on the U.S. economy and to continue research on the private-capital investment sector.

Q: How was started?

A: The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global non-profit membership organization founded in 1954, with headquarters in Chicago, IL. ACG's members include the spectrum of the "Growth Community" - executives, investors, lenders and advisors to thousands of middle-market companies. ACG's members are focused on building and growing companies, but because their work primarily involves private companies and private investments, the impact of their work is not well understood by those outside of the field. ACG sought a way to bring more transparency and visibility to the role and value of private capital investment. resulted from collaboration between ACG, The Edward Lowe Foundation's Institute of Exceptional Growth Companies (Cassopolis, MI) and PitchBook Data, Inc. (Seattle, WA), an independent provider of private equity research, data and technology. By combining these two databases, the resulting database provides a historical comparison of the performance of private capital-backed businesses.

Q: What are private capital companies as seen on

A: Private capital-backed companies (establishments) are those that are privately held (e.g., not traded on the public stock exchange) who have received equity or debt investment from private capital investors, which includes private equity and venture capital investors. These types of investors also invest in and manage closed-end funds raised from institutional and accredited investors who primarily make investments in private companies.

Q: What are private capital "ad-on" companies?

A: A significant portion of private capital deal flow consists of add-on deals, which occur when a private equity-backed company acquires another company and combines it with its existing operations. Because the NETS database tracks companies at the establishment level, these add-on deals do not result in any double reporting. The new parent and its add-on company each report individually.

Q: How is the middle-market defined on

A: The data shows most positive job creation occures in the middle-market or 10 - 499 employment stages, with some activity in stage 1 as well. The middle market is also defined as companies valued between $25 million to $1 billion. View more information on employment stage definitions.

Q: Where is this data coming from?

A: The Edward Lowe Foundation, through the Institute of Exceptional Growth Companies (IEGC), provided access to the NETS (National Establishment Time Series) database. PitchBook Data Inc., an independent provider of private equity research and data, provided access to its database of over 37,000 private equity backed companies. IEGC then matched the establishments, jobs, and sales data from NETS with PitchBook's privately backed company data for the historical period of 1995 to 2010.

Both the NETS and PitchBook databases operate independently of the Association for Corporate Growth, the Edward Lowe Foundation and one another.

More info on NETS and PitchBook »

Business census

Unlike many traditional data sets that rely on sampling and use a small subset of data to draw inferences about a larger population, is a census of U.S. private capital-backed businesses. data comes from PitchBook (more than 23 thousand U.S. capital-backed companies) and is matched with the National Establishment Time Series (NETS) database. A longitudinal database, NETS follows the performance of more than 52 million U.S. establishments from 1990 to the present. Thus, provides a dynamic view of the U.S. private capital economy by showing changes at individual establishments over time - and dives into private capital-backed companies to track business activity.

Find Your Growth Economy section

Find Your Growth Economy shows how establishments, jobs, and sales are distributed according to the three establishment sectors and four employment stages. It also uniquely compares GE jobs and sales to the general U.S. economy, and provides a baseline for observation throughout GE.

Congressional Districts

Congressional districts on GrowthEconomy are built from a ZIP code database that lists all ZIP codes and counties that lie within the boundaries of U.S. congressional districts in every state. The Institute for Exceptional Growth Companies (IEGC) has identified and matched more than 52 million establishments (including all private capital establishments on GE) to every ZIP code and assigned it to a specific congressional district. Unfortunately, ZIP code boundaries do not align perfectly with congressional district boundaries. In fact, nearly 15 percent of all ZIP codes cross congressional districts.

To avoid overlaps and redundancies, IEGC has assigned each ZIP code to a single congressional district, basing this match on the highest percentage of business establishments reflected in those ZIP codes. For more info visit congressional district ZIP code database.

Default view

Reflects the last 5 years in the NETS database and enters Find Your Growth Economy with the U.S. aggragate.

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Number (DUNS)

NETS and data is built by tracking individual establishments according to their DUNS number. A DUNS number starts with establishments as they open and stays with them as they grow, contract, move, and close. Each year Dun & Bradstreet contacts businesses and asks them to report changes in activity, employment and revenue.


An economic unit that produces goods or services at a single physical location. An establishment in has matched a PitchBook ID to a unique DUNS number. Using establishments, can accurately study labor markets across all companies and across industries in local communities and across the U.S.


Most traditional data sources track business activity according to firms (a standalone establishment or a collection of all establishments owned by a parent company). has harnessed the volume of establishments in NETS and can track establishment/firm activity from the establishment location.


Establishment employment at a location. This is reported employment and not full time employees (FTEs) as defined by government data.

Move In (Out)

Total establishments (with corresponding jobs) that move physical location in or out of a region (county, MSA, state) for the period (year or years) being viewed.


Metropolitan statistical areas (metro and micro areas) are geographic entities used by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics. A metro area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population. On, there are 365 MSAs available.

NETS (National Establishment Time Series) Database

The NETS longitudinal database used to generate statistics is large, with more than 52 million records for U.S. establishments that existed any time between 1990 and the current NETS data year. Among these 552 million establishments, 27 million are still active and report over 171 million employees. NETS has many features that set it apart from other data sets. Also among these are more small businesses, more industry classifications, historical accuracy, establishment verification vs. business sampling, and business relocation accuracy. Its statistics are derived from the entire population of establishments in D&B records. D&B attempts to identify every establishment in the country.

Noncommercial establishments sector

This includes educational institutions, post offices, government agencies and other nonprofit organizations. Below are the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes used to identify noncommercial establishments:

SIC codes:

43 - United States Postal Service

82 - Educational Services, which includes elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, business and vocational schools and educational services

84 - Museums, Art Galleries and Botanical and Zoological Gardens

86 - Membership Organizations. Sub-categories include business associations as well as professional, labor, civic, social, political, religious and membership organizations

91 - Executive, Legislative & General Government, except Finance

92 - Justice, Public Order and Safety, which includes courts, police and fire protection, correctional institutions

93 - Public Finance, Taxation and Monetary Policy

94 - Administration of Human Resource Programs, which includes administration for educational, public health, social and manpower programs as well as veterans affairs

95 - Administration of Environmental Quality and Housing Programs

96 - Administration of Economic Programs

97 - National Security and International Affairs

NAICS codes:

491110 - Postal Service

61 - Educational Services

519120 - Libraries and Archives

712 - Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions

813 - Religious, Grant making, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations

92 - Public Administration

Note: Although most hospitals are nonprofits, we've included all healthcare-related companies in the resident and nonresident categories due to the large variety of businesses - both profit and nonprofit - that make up the healthcare industry.

Nonresident establishments sector

Businesses (establishments) that are located in the area but headquartered (if their headquarters is not themselves) in a different state.


PitchBook, the leading provider of independent private equity research and data, delivers the comprehensive intelligence on deals, funds and key players that private market professionals need to confidently source and price deals, understand trends and make informed decisions.

PitchBook gathers its data on private company investment through a multi-step research process that starts with a daily systematic review of thousands of news and public filing sources. We then confirm, clarify and refine this data through direct communication with key contacts at target companies, investors, limited partners and professional service providers. All of our data is relentless managed and cross validated to ensure its accuracy and completeness.

PitchBook defines private capital-backed companies as companies that have received some sort of equity or debt investment from professional investors focused on private companies. These investors are commonly known as private equity and venture capital investors. PitchBook's formal definition of private capital investors are those that invest in and manage closed end funds raised from institutional and accredited investors who primarily make investments in private companies.

Resident establishments sector

Either stand-alone businesses in the area or businesses with headquarters in the same state. makes the distinction between resident and nonresident sectors because resident companies have more influence on job creation than businesses headquartered outside the state.


Establishment reported and estimated sales at a location.

Sole proprietors and partnerships

NETS includes sole proprietors and partnership establishments that are active enough for D&B to find. In contrast, proprietorships and partnerships that haven't hired employees aren't included in the Census Bureau's Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) or Business Information Tracking Series (BITS) because they are considered to be non-employers. Also, if a business is listed in SUSB or BITS, its owners and partners are not counted as employees. These differences mean that NETS represents a greater total of small business establishments and employees than the SUSB and BITS databases.


The resident sector is subdivided into different stages that reflect operational and management issues establishments face as they grow from startups to mature companies. Stages provide a different framework for understanding the needs of businesses and supporting their growth - one that could help communities better leverage resources. For regardless of their industry sector, companies in the same developmental stage experience similar challenges. And, as companies move through these stages, not only do their internal needs change, but their external needs - what they need from the community - also change.

Notes: 1) Middle-Market summary and time series reflect totals for stages, and not just the resident sector; 2) movement between stages and sectors is not shown

Self-Employed (1 employee)

This includes small-scale business activity that can be conducted in homes (cottage establishments) as well as sole proprietorships.

Stage 1 (2-9 employees)

This includes partnerships, lifestyle businesses and startups. This stage is focused on defining a market, developing a product or service, obtaining capital and finding customers.

Stage 2 (10-99 employees)

At this phase, a company typically has a proven product, and survival is no longer a daily concern. Companies begin to develop infrastructure and standardize operational systems. Leaders delegate more and wear fewer hats.

Stage 3 (100-499 employees)

Expansion is a hallmark at this stage as a company broadens its geographic reach, adds new products and pursues new markets. Stage 3 companies introduce formal processes and procedures, and the founder is less involved in daily operations and more concerned with managing culture and change.

Stage 4 (500 or more employees)

At this level of maturity, an organization dominates its industry and is focused on maintaining and defending its market position. Key objectives are controlling expenses, productivity, global penetration and managing market niches.

United States totals

The U.S. totals for aggregate the 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC), and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, rather than a comparison of national and international data.