Making Private Data Accessible in an Opaque Industry: The Experience of the Private Capital Research Institute. Josh Lerner, December 2015, Paper. "The level of interest in alternative investments, and private capital in particular (by which we mean both venture capital and private equity), has been intense over the past decade. This interest has stemmed from both investors’ needs for attractive returns and the policy questions around this rapidly growing asset class. Returns from the United States publicly traded equities, the mainstays of investment portfolios for individuals and institutions, have been weak for much of this period, while low (and rising) interest rates suggest limited future returns for bonds. Many other classes of alternative investments, such as hedge funds, have struggled in recent years to match market benchmarks. Concurrently, many public pension funds are facing severe shortfalls, and other institutional investors—from university endowments to sovereign wealth funds—are seeking additional funds to fulfill ambitious agendas ..."