PE Firms: Josh Lerner Wants Your Data

Josh Lerner will discuss more details of his nascent non-profit research project, the Private Capital Research Institute, during his talk at Super Return in Berlin next Wednesday, the Jacob H. Schiff Professor at Harvard Business School told Buyouts.

Lerner started the organization last spring to provide academics more data to produce unbiased research into the pros and cons of buyout and venture capital firms, as well as angel investors and sovereign wealth funds.

You might remember Lerner generated headlines in 2008 with his widely circulated study, “The Economic Impact of Private Equity.” The study found that, while private equity-backed companies tend to shed certain jobs initially, they also add other jobs during the PE firm’s ownership, evening out headcount.

“Today, there are a number of databases, each with their strengths and weaknesses, and it is probably fair to say that for most professors and grad students it is hard to get access to that data,” Lerner said. “We’re doing this to try to accelerate the development of research and knowledge about private capital in a way that’s not just good for academics but for industry about what works and doesn’t work.”

For the past few months, Lerner and a research director have sought at least “several dozen” general partners, limited partners, data vendors and other industry participants for the project. The plan is to assemble a database consisting of fund performance and transaction details–who invested how much, where and when.

Unfortunately for reporters, all of the data will be anonymous. For more details, read here (SUBS only).