pick and shovel company
n. A company that supplies an industry‘s equipment rather than its goods or services.

Example Citation:
"The smart money is not just spreading bets on individual companies. Rival biotech firms are pursuing vastly different approaches to profiting from the basic research. There are, for example, the 'pick and shovel' companies, an allusion to the fact that the only people who made real money during the gold rush were those who sold supplies to the miners."
—Adam Bryant, "The Gold Rush," Newsweek, April 10, 2000

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