Common Industry Categories for Buyside Projects

Axial’s industry taxonomy evolved out of the NAICS system, and currently offers over 15,000 industries. We’re proud of the power and precision that comes from such a broad array, but we see its flaws, too.

How, for example, can an HVAC investor feel confident that they’ve selected every single relevant industry, when the options are scattered throughout the taxonomy like an unknown number of needles in a haystack?

The truth is, when you say “business services” or “aerospace”, NAICS has never been the perfect tool to interpret what you mean.  That’s why we created Common Industry Categories.

What are Common Industry Categories?

Each Common Industry Category refers to a cluster of industries, grouped under a more “common” term, allowing you to search for your industry of interest, and with one click, select all applicable nodes.

They cover areas frequently of interest to Axial’s buyside members – think HVAC, Pet Supplies, Consumer Goods, et cetera. Categories simplify the project creation and editing process – saving time and making it easier to ensure you’re not missing out on relevant deals.

When to use Common Industry Categories vs. the Advanced Industry Selector

Any time you’re setting up a buyside project with a broader industry focus, like for a new platform investment, we recommend starting with Common Categories. For some broader add-on projects, like HVAC or IT Services, Common Categories might also be helpful – but you’ll likely want to use them as a jumping-off point and refine your selections in the Advanced Selector.

Projects intended to source within a narrow industry focus (corporate acquisitions / add-ons for financial buyers) will benefit from the specificity afforded by the Advanced Industry Selector.

Using Common Industry Categories to Create New Buyside Projects

First, find the Common Industry Category you’re looking for – for example, Consumer Goods – and select its checkbox.

You’ll then see the Category’s sub-industries appear below in grey. Review these, and remove any you’re not interested in by X’ing them out.

To quickly drill down and explore a Category’s underlying industries in context, you can always click “View sub-industries”, which will pull up the Advanced Industry Selector, filtered appropriately.

Using Common Industry Categories to Improve Existing Buyside Projects

To make sure you’re not missing deals, we recommend reviewing any existing projects focusing on a Common Category. Here’s how:

Find your project on your Homepage or Buyside Project List and click on the name.

From here, you can either edit the project directly, or copy the project and edit your new version (to preserve your existing project, as is).

Once in the Project Editor, note the Live Buyside Feedback count at the bottom of the page:

Open up the Industries section and use the search bar to find the correct Common Industry Category, for example, Pet Products.

Is “Pet Products” semi-selected (with a dash), or fully-selected (with a check)? If it’s semi-selected, you might want to fully select, save your project, and see if your projected deal flow improves.

You’ll see the sub-industries that make up the Category appear below in grey. Click the X beside any sub-industries you’re not interested in to refine, if needed.

If you copied the project before editing it, make sure you Archive the old project and Activate the new one in its place!

Interested in an industry and feel that it should become a Category? Please let us know at – we love to hear your feedback!