Decoding Company Growth with Gazelle

Published on Jul 14, 2023

Updated on Sep 25, 2023

Written by Miriam Glassman

In today's rapidly evolving global economy, the ability to identify companies on the brink of growth is paramount for economic developers and workforce attraction professionals. Driven by our profound understanding of the significance of detecting expanding companies and the positive influence it could have on communities, we embarked on a groundbreaking journey to harness the power of AI and unravel the intricacies of growth signals.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating realm of accurately predicting growth patterns and growth signals. Additionally, we will explore the profound implications of Gazelle's innovative G-Score, which ranks companies based on their growth potential. These insights hold tremendous value for foreign direct investment (FDI), business retention and expansion (BR&E), and workforce development strategies, providing stakeholders with tools to make better decisions to positively impact their future.

What is Gazelle?

Gazelle indexes companies based on their likelihood to expand. By employing advanced algorithms, Gazelle identifies growth companies, providing valuable insights for economic development and workforce professionals.

Why is Identifying Growth Companies Essential for Community Success?

Growth companies play a pivotal role in driving economic development. These types of companies tend to hire more employees, invest more in research and development, require more infrastructure, space, and allocate significant capital for expansion. Simply put, they need more of everything and as a result, significantly contribute to the prosperity of a region.

Traditionally, one might assume that a company is experiencing growth when its revenues and employment numbers are on the rise. Although they are indeed a part of the picture, they only scratch the surface of growth signals required to accurately detect and predict future growth potential. On top of that, a couple of significant challenges arise when attempting to use and obtain revenue data.

Firstly, privately held mid-market and smaller companies often do not disclose these numbers, making it challenging to gauge their growth trajectory by relying solely on this factor. Secondly, there are thousands and thousands of data points, far beyond just revenue, that could point to an expansion company.

The problem is that no one human being can process and make sense of this multitude of data points. Gazelle's pioneering approach capitalizes on the power of AI to surmount these limitations, uncovering thousands of crucial signals with remarkable precision in growth prediction.

Cracking the Code: How Gazelle Predicts Growth

Over a 12 year period, our team of Ph.D. economists studied over 150,000 companies across 22 industrial groups with known expansion or non-expansion events. We looked at predictor data specific to three unique categories, totaling over 1,000 individual data points. The categories include: firm-specific data, industry-specific data, and geographical-specific data.

Examples of firm-specific data includes employment, sales, distance to urban centers, distance to ports and airports, VC funding, amongst others.

From a geographic perspective, we looked at data including broadband infrastructure, ratio of Gen Xers versus millennials in the workforce, percentage of the population with associated bachelor's degrees, cost of living, local business tax burden, energy costs, amongst many others.

And at the industry level, we examined data such as export intensity, employment growth, salaries and benefits, financial ratios, monthly industrial output, again amongst many other data points.

The data comes from a multitude of proprietary, public, and trusted private sources which are constantly being updated. From there, we trained 176 concurrent and custom-designed machine learning algorithms to spot the data fluctuations over time that were associated with the firms that actually expanded. We then used the algorithms to look for the same predictor signals amongst the 10 million companies in our database. By training our AI algorithms on these growth patterns, we developed a systematic method for accurately detecting and ranking growth with our “G-Score”.

The Growth Score: How it Works and its Practical Application

Gazelle’s G-Score ranks companies on a scale of one to six based on their propensity to expand.  

What the ratings mean (1-6):

6 Stars: Human confirmed expansion via contact with firm
5 Stars: Top 25% of companies predicted to expand
4 Stars: 2nd quartile of companies predicted to expand
3 Stars: 3rd quartile of companies predicted to expand
2 Stars: 4th quartile of companies predicted to expand
1 Star: Companies least likely to expand

A ranking of six is a human confirmed expansion project via direct contact with the firm. A ranking of five means the company is in the top 25% of companies predicted to expand. The ranking of 1 are companies least likely to expand.

The G-Scores generated by Gazelle offer numerous benefits for economic development organizations (EDOs) and workforce professionals seeking to understand growth and workforce dynamics. The G-Score enables:

Targeted Outreach: By identifying firms or industries with high growth potential, professionals can optimize their outreach initiatives by targeting the right people. By focusing on the most promising opportunities, professionals can maximize their efficiency and success rate.

Talent Alignment: Professionals can confidently approach expanding companies, knowing that they possess the necessary talent pool to accommodate proposed expansion initiatives. This allows for better articulation of the likelihood of success in a specific region.

Real-Time Insights: G-Scores provide short-to-medium term business dynamism predictions, offering more "real-time" insights on the growth potential of industries compared to traditional linear regressions that provide a longer-term view. This enables professionals to stay ahead of trends and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Geographic Focus: The ability to provide data on county-level clusters of high G-Score firms in specific industries and locations, allows professionals to concentrate their outreach efforts in targeted geographic locations.

Local Data Correlation: The data can be correlated with unique local data to understand how factors like politics or workforce characteristics align with growth potential. This correlation aids in evaluating policy prescriptions and assessing the impact of workforce investments.

Performing Cutting-Edge Research: Gain valuable insights to build a compelling case for showcasing your region as an ideal destination for expanding companies seeking investment opportunities.

The Shifting Landscape of Growth Signals in 2023

In the ever-evolving realm of business growth, recent discoveries have unveiled a fascinating transformation in the significance of growth predictors across the different categories we outlined earlier. Recent findings indicate a shift in the importance of growth predictors within different categories.

When comparing the impact of regional, industry, and firm-level features on a company's propensity to expand in 2022-23, regional variables have emerged as the primary driver, surpassing industry characteristics. This signifies the increasing significance of local conditions in determining expansion potential. While industry characteristics remain influential, they have somewhat diminished in importance compared to previous periods.

Additionally, firm-level signals continue to hold value as the second most relevant factor. These findings highlight the evolving dynamics of growth drivers and emphasize the need to prioritize regional factors when identifying expanding firms.

With this new insight on the complexities of growth signals, economic developers and workforce attraction professionals now have the opportunity to make data-driven decisions that drive economic growth and maximize the impact of their initiatives. However, realizing the full potential of this understanding requires equipping themselves with the right tools. By leveraging cutting-edge AI technologies like Gazelle, professionals can enhance their capabilities in unprecedented ways.

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