If you spend any time conducting business research, then you know that finding private company research can be really difficult. Especially if the company is new or small. Private companies are not required to release information about themselves to the SEC, so tracking down things like sales figures, revenues, private equity funding, company history or future company plans can be trying at best. One of our favorite resources for private company information is "The American City Business Journals" or, more commonly, BizJournal. BizJournal comes out every week and covers 62 markets nationwide. Some of their information is subscription-based but a fair amount of it is available freely on their websites. While it's possible to search their main site for companies, I typically go straight to my local BizJournal, Austin in this case, and start my local company search there. Austin is a town of startups, including Whaleshark Media, MapMyFitness, UShip, BuildASign and countless others. I've had great luck finding in depth articles about most of them in our local BizJournal. As an example, this article on Whaleshark Media, tells me when the company started, how many employees they have and how much money they've raised and who the investors are. Not bad for free, easy-to-find information.
Another helpful thing to do is follow the national BizJournals and your local BizJournal on Twitter. The local one is especially helpful for keeping up with not only local businesses, but also events going on around town. You can follow the national account @bizjournals.