The appetite for private comany investments continues to soar. Private transactions on SecondMarket were $435 million in the first nine months of this year, up 75% from last year. In the third quarter alone, there were $167 million in private-company stock transactions.
Not surprisingly, the companies that saw a lot of interest were in the consumer Internet space. Nearly two-thirds of the completed transactions came from this sector, followed by 24% in financial services and 11% in retailing and commerce.
As for who's buying these shares? It looks like the buying activity is coming from wealthy individuals who are accredited investors. About 52% of the number of transactions completed came from wealthy individuals. Asset managers were the second most active. By dollar amount, wealthy individuals also accounted for the lion's share of transactions, accounting for 63% of the dollar value of the deals done in the third quarter.
As has been the case for some time, ex-employees are the ones doing the bulk of the selling.
Which companies are the most widely-watch across SecondMarket? Not surprisingly, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga and Foursquare are in the top five.