I was reading in the Globe and Mail about Micheal Lee-Chin going back into the investment fund business by focusing on private equity.
Private equity is where private individuals (or corporations) invest in a company. This is contrast to public equity where anyone with access to the stock market can invest in a company. All companies start off life as private equity: A person may start a business in their own garage or studio, funding the company out of their own savings or convincing a few friends or investors, or maybe even convincing the dudes on Lion's Den, to fund their company. In any event, it is individual people that are coming forward and putting the money in the company.
As company grow, they often want to get access to a larger pool of capital so the have an IPO (initial public offering). After Facebook's latest experience, IPO should be a common household term. Now in Facebook's case, they did not go public because they wanted access to more capital. They are growing at quite a nice rate and their revenues and investments seem to enable Facebook to go where it wants. Rather, Facebook was regulated to go public because it had too many investors