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Have a founder-friendly private equity firm?
Apply today and let Inc. tell the world


 Application Deadline: June 26 (Fee: $995) 

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Inc.'s second annual list of 50 Founder-Friendly Private Equity Firms will highlight shops that treat entrepreneurs as partners--not as employees.

Apply today and let Inc. show the world that your firm believes in backing founder-led businesses and helping them thrive, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. Be recognized as an investment partner that entrepreneurs can trust, collaborate with on new strategies, and look to help in financing acquisitions during these uncertain times. 

All winning firms will appear in the October Issue of Inc. magazine and on Inc.com.

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To apply, your firm must meet at least one of the two following criteria:

  • Your PE firm invested in a U.S.-based founder-led company after January 1, 2017.
  • Your PE firm exited an investment in a U.S.-based founder-led company after January 1, 2017. 

For existing investments to qualify, portfolio company founders must continue to hold an equity stake in the business and must have remained actively involved in the business for at least one year post-transaction. For investments that closed within the past 12 months, founders must still be actively involved in the business. 

Founding family members of multigenerational family businesses are considered founders. Please email our team with any questions: Email Inc. senior editor Graham Winfrey at Graham.Winfrey@Inc.com.

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Why Apply?

For more than 40 years, Inc. magazine has been devoted to providing entrepreneurs with all the tools and resources they need to start, run, grow and sometimes exit their businesses. Last year, Inc. highlighted 50 private equity firms that have a track record of helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Here’s what to expect if your firm makes this year’s list:

  • National Recognition: Elevate your PE firm’s brand by being recognized as an investment partner that helps founder-led companies accelerate growth and create value.
  • Visibility and Media Exposure: Be featured in the October issue of Inc. magazine and see your firm’s listing on Inc.com.
  • Signal of Approval: Receive the Inc. signal of approval that your firm has an impressive track record of helping entrepreneurs.

Be proud of the firm you've created. Take a few minutes to apply and let Inc. magazine declare your firm one of the best for founders.

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How It Works



Complete the short application here. Deadline: June 26 (Fee: $995) 


Provide Founder References

Inc. will reach out to the portfolio company founder(s) of the one to three companies you’ve provided in your application and ask a series of questions about their experience partnering with your firm.



The list goes live on Inc.com in mid-September 2020 and will be featured in the October print issue of Inc. magazine. All applicants will be notified via email in September if they have made the list or not.



 Application Deadline: June 26 (Fee: $995) 


For full application details see our FAQs here.
Questions? Email Inc. senior editor Graham Winfrey at Graham.Winfrey@Inc.com