How to Gather SEC Filings

To make it easier for you to find information about companies that sell stock on stock exchanges as public companies, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has a website that provides search capabilities of companies. This SEC website gives you access to the SEC’s EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval System), which is an openly available database. Here is a link to the public database for company information on sec.gov.  

Doing company searches on EDGAR is a practical and easy way to gather useful and relevant information for your research, which will feed into the planning and formation of your startup company.

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How It Works

When you go to the EDGAR Company Filings page, you type in the name of a company that you want to research. You can also type in the “ticker symbol” that the company has on a stock exchange, such as NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. If you do not know the names of, let’s say, virtual reality companies, you can do a Google search on “virtual reality companies,” identify a list of recognized and established companies that are publicly traded, and then type in the name of each company on the sec.gov page.

EDGAR will immediately pull up filings by the company. These filings have valuable information not only about the company (as a potential competitor or partner), but also information about the industry and the target market(s).

You can save the information to your hard drive as you build your “library” of publicly available information about companies in your potential market.

Additional Resource

The SEC also provides “Guides” to help you use EDGAR. Here is a link to a useful guide for further guidance.