SecondMarket bends to social media hype again

The market has so far seen $268 million in private company stock transactions, Facebook leads

Financial trends and news by Ronny Kerr
July 26, 2011
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SecondMarket on Tuesday released its online secondary trading data, revealing that it handled $268 million in private company stock transactions in the first half of 2011, a 75 percent year-over-year increase. In 2010, transaction volume totaled $153 million.

(Note: the company has updated total transaction volume for Q1 2011 to $156 million, a good bit more than the $115.4 million reported in May.)


Once again, consumer Web services and social media, which includes the likes of Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify, dominated private market trading, accounting for 87.6 percent of completed transactions. Business products and services made up 7.3 percent and retailing and commerce made up 5.1 percent.

As expected on the secondary market, ex-employees made up the vast majority of sellers in transactions (94.2 percent in the last quarter). For buyers, 62.0 percent were accredited individuals, with the rest sliced up between secondary funds, asset managers, hedge funds and more.

Like last quarter, Facebook, Twitter and Groupon ranked highest on SecondMarket’s list of private companies with the highest number of watchers. Rounding out the rest of the list are Zynga (which has filed its S-1 to IPO), Foursquare, Skype (which Microsoft bought for $8.5 billion), Yelp, Dropbox, Gilt Groupe and LivingSocial. Two names that used to be on the list--LinkedIn and Pandora--have since dropped off due to their recent public offerings.

Rising stars, which SecondMarket defines as those companies with the largest increase in watchers, included Kickstarter, PopCap (which EA just bought for $650 million in cash), SharesPost, LegalZoom and LendingClub.

Newbies, private companies that started the quarter with less than 10 watchers only to grow significantly by the end of the quarter, include SurveyMonkey,, Hipmunk, and YouSendIt.

It’s all so... bubbly.

If you want a good idea of the venture capital firms investing in the highest number of most-watched companies on SecondMarket, check out the graphic below. Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Union Square Ventures top the list, unsurprisingly.

Transaction volume for all of SecondMarket, which handles other alternative investments like bankruptcy claims and public equity, now totals over $750 million for more than 650 transactions completed since 2008.

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