Episode 24: David Brace at PrivCo
We were happy to speak with David Brace, Head of Sales at PrivCo, about what makes PrivCo different, and the use cases. Learn more about the Library Lever offer for Privco at:
PrivCo details for Library Lever Members
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Rough Transcript for Episode 24: David Brace
Hello and welcome to the Common Stacks podcast. This is the show that brings together professionals from within the library world, as well as interesting experts from other professions to engage in discussions around the issues affecting libraries, and looking at the ways in which libraries are dispelling the myth of, Hmm, well, this is how it's always been done. I'm your host, Heather Teysko. This is episode 24. It's an interview with David Brace, the Head of Sales for PrivCo. PrivCo is the premier source for business and financial data on major, non-publicly traded corporations, including family owned, private, equity owned, venture backed, and international unlisted companies. But first, your regular reminder that this podcast is brought to you by Library Lever, a new kind of library buying club. Do you know how much you're paying in transaction fees when you purchase databases and resources through the buying club or consortium that you're using now?
Most buying clubs and consortia add a surcharge of anywhere from up to 12% to your price from the vendor. We have a different model, and we don't do that. See how much you can save by pledging your support to library lever at librarylever.com/calculator, librarylever.com/calculator, and you can see how much you would save by purchasing through library Lever. But now our interview with David Brace at PrivCo. David has a long history of having worked in the financial world. He was the head of sales at places like the 4 51 group and the Nielsen Company. We're gonna hop right into it with him starting out discussing what PrivCo actually is and the use cases.
So PrivCo is a private company database mainly of US companies. We have about 800,000 companies in the database. The company's about 10 years old. It was formed, you know, 10 years ago by two or three brothers that had great success with an exit with vault.com, which was a employment recruiting platform. They had sold it and they had realized that there was a need for, you know, private company information from the recruiters and, you know, the job placement firms, you know, looking to see when companies got funding for, when they wanted to add staff to, to their companies. Al also, if a company was getting purchased, sometimes there were a lot of layoffs that the company being purchased, so then they would place those people. So it, it, it was formed out of a need to get information on private companies that were getting funding rounds that were getting acquired.
And then over the years it's evolved into way more than that, where, again, in, in, in the US it's very, very hard to get private company information. In Europe even private companies file with the government. So you, you can figure out their revenues and they have to file certain tax forms in the us you know, we have full disclosure on all the public companies out there, but over the last seven years, seven to 10 years there has been you know, there's the, there's been, you know, more smaller private companies than ever and about, you know, 75% of, you know, all companies and all industries are, are private companies. So getting that information, you know, getting how much that company's worth getting, how much revenue they're doing, getting their employee account is very difficult information to get. So at PrivCo, you know, our goal is to, you know, try to provide our clients with that information.
And it's a very, you know, rigorous PO process. There's a lot of artificial intelligence involved. But, you know, some of our competition is very good at like tracking the funding rounds, tracking the deals. And it's fairly easier to get information on companies that had had rounds of funding from a venture capital firm or rounds of funding or purchased by a private equity firm. But we're the, you know, we're PrivCo really solves a problem is with all the companies that don't have pe don't have VC backed companies that are like, you know, bootstrapped, self-started family owned businesses that, you know, no one really knows anything about. So, you know, what we do is we have a, you know, over 800 sources. We have, you know, a data scraping team, artificial intelligence team that's looking for anything they can on that company. And then once we get information on the company, we have a a data scientist team that does a quality assurance and pretty much a human back check and puts it into our model to you know, get valuations and revenues on these companies that no one else has. And it's, they're the, most of the numbers are estimated numbers, but you know, we, our goal is to try to get in the ballpark into a single percentage for accuracy.
Wow. I can see this solving a lot of problems with libraries, especially, I'm thinking, well, academic libraries with course studies. Yes. and also with public libraries, say other small businesses wanting to do research and wanting to find potential clients and things like that. What, what are the main kind of problems that it's solving within? I know there's business, like the corporate world that has it within libraries and speak to both, but within libraries as well, what are absolutely kinda
Problems that, so, so maybe I'll just, I'll just talk about like who, who our typical client is and, you know, academics are a big part of it, but, you know, for use cases in the business world our main, you know, not there's a bunch of different use cases, but mid-level private equity, lower level private equity folks that are looking to source companies to fund that haven't had funding before, looking for companies to buy. Corp dev folks at larger companies are also using us to see, you know, smaller companies to buy in, in their sector. And then, you know, we have 134 academic clients in libraries and business schools that are using us and, you know, they're using us. And, you know, one of our strengths which I should mention is how we classify the companies. So some of our competition who who've been doing this for a while, we hear that their taxonomy and their industry classifications and how they bucket these companies are a little outdated.
So we take pride in, you know, we have over 1900 keywords that are tagged in our companies, and then we have, you know, larger industry classifications and sub classifications. And we do a really good job at putting these companies in the right buckets and having professors or, or, or librarians or students giving them the ability if they're doing a project or working on a thesis to search companies in a sub-sector of a sub-sector, of a sub-sector and get really granular on, on their searches. And when they're comparing companies for projects or they're looking at a a tam or they're looking at an industry in whole you know, our keywords are very modern. You know, you could tag a, some companies are tagged as women-led firms, Latina owned firms minority led firms, African-American led firms. So it's very specific not just to the business, but to the owners of the company and the classification of the company. So we, we take pride in that.
That's great. That's awesome. So what, yeah, let, talk to me about like the, the main use cases and maybe some wins that you've had, like some of the positive things, stories that you've heard out of people who've been using it.
Yeah, absolutely. So any, we on the, on the library perspective, you know, we get a lot of positive feedback for professors who are doing like, larger projects on private companies and they couldn't get the information anywhere. And they'll call us after we do like a mapping exercise for them of 5,000 companies and their calls be like, you, you saved this report and we're published, and then they'll send us the research that were published and they'll cite PrivCo. So that's, that's always, you know, always great to see that, you know, on the business side, we've been a part of, you know, a lot of private equity companies that have purchased a smaller company. And, you know, they're paying us whatever they pay us, but, you know, we, for that transaction, it was worth whatever their subscription was to us. So we have a lot of use cases and a lot of you know, wins where a private equity company has acquired a smaller company and it, it just really helped the exit and helped them, you know, on both ends. It helped them find this family owned company in, in the industry that no one else knew about. And, you know, it's great for the people that sold the company, but it's also great for the private equity company who found exactly what they were looking for. So we, we have a lot of those stories.
And I'm just thinking are, are you in any public libraries yet? Cuz could there, like, could there be a, a use case where, for example, this would be a database or a, a service to use for like an on an entrepreneur to build a mailing list with, or build like contact lists, things like that. Is there anything like that?
I mean, it would be great for them, but we would prefer those entrepreneurs to pay us for a subscription to crypto. No. So the hope with the academics and we, we, we we're more cost effective for a library to buy us. But obviously our business model and the hope with the academics and business schools are that they get accustomed to using PrivCo. They get, you know, they, they look at us as a source for private company information, and then when they graduate and go out into the business world, and whether they're working in for financial institution or private equity or a larger bank, or if they're working in a, you know, as a corp dev person or a CFO o at a company that they a bell goes off on their head and like, oh, we're gonna get this information from, oh, that's right. When I was at business school, we got this private company information for PrivCo, let's call PrivCo and see if we can get a, a trial or a license for PrivCo. That, that's the whole goal with academics.
Gotcha. I understand. Okay. So what are the, why should a library be using this? Like, as opposed to, I mean, gosh, I'm thinking one of my very first jobs ever outta college, I worked as a researcher in a headhunting firm. And so when you're talking about this kind of finding people Yeah. And, and employees. Like I, my job was to like look up contact. I used Hoovers and that done in Bradstreet and stuff that's like 25 years ago. Yeah. What, so what makes this different and or better and why should a library be looking at this? I absolutely still exist.
Oh yeah, they do. So one of our board members is from Hoovers. Ok. Sold Hoovers. Yeah, no, they, they're very relevant still. And those are great comparisons. So Hoovers and Dunn and Bradstreet, you know, Dunham Bradstreet gives es like very broad estimates and they don't have much information on private companies. Hoovers is very good at contact information for a company like who the CEO is, who the CFO is, why folks, why professors and academics and everyone else uses proco over some of those other sources is that we ha actually have recent revenue number estimates. So 2021, 2022 revenue estimates for private companies and valuation estimates on private companies that no one else has. So when a professor or a student is doing a project or research, they're able to search by, you know, classify these companies by revenue in a certain industry. So they could do a bottom-up approach or a top-down approach if they're looking for a specific industry classification. So say, you know, a sub-sector of technology or a sub-sector of, you know, some type of manufacturing, whatever they're doing, they could source all those private companies by revenue and valuation size and you're not gonna be able to do that with any other tools.
Understood. Okay. And it's just US companies, right?
Correct. US base. We do have some European companies in there, but it's very rare. And we do have some public companies in there, but all the public companies that are in the database were recently private and we're still kind of following them to kind of show off how Right we were.
Oh, interesting. Interesting. Well, okay, so I've gone through my five questions. What should I be asking you that I am, that I haven't asked you yet?
You kind of stu me there, but you know, I would say, you know, there's a lot of competition out there and the big differentiators of PrivCo are, you know, getting those modeled estimates that no one else has. The industry classification and taxonomy that we think is better than our competitors. And then the human touch and the quality assurance for the quality of the data, because there are a lot of ar, artificial intelligence, AI tools that are just scraping data and just throwing it into a database and then producing that as is and letting academics or business folks use that data. What PrivCo does, we clean it up like we have a system and a human touch to it. So it's, it's, it's machine learning combined with human quality assurance that I think really sets us apart.
All right. Well this was short and sweet. I don't have any other questions. So where can people learn more? How can people learn more about you if they want?
Go to privco.com. There's a bunch of different landing pages. There's you know, you don't have to sign in. You could also set up a free trial, especially if you're an academic. You could set up a free trial and then if the trial goes well, reach out to your librarian and tell 'em to buy PrivCo.
Thanks for listening everybody. Thanks to David Reist for the chat about proco. You can learn more about proco and the offer for library lever email@example.com slash proco. Offer library lover.com/proco offer. Hop in our community, discuss any questions, any takeaways, community dot library lever.com. It's free to join. You don't have to be a member of Library Lever to hop in, and we will be back again in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we'll see you online. Thanks for listening.