Forget Wall Street: Private stock transactions rocked last quarter

It seems like everyone's a winner according to SecondMarket's latest Private Company Report. Investors are investing and some little startups are getting lots of attention.

Regina Sinsky
Regina Sinsky
Regina Hope Sinsky writes about startups. She studied journalism at the College of Charleston and spent several years in television writing and production. After moving to the Bay Area she decided all the best stories came from startups, so she jumped into tech writing. Regina specializes in interviews with interesting people doing nonobvious things with technology.
2 min read

Wall Street's under attack. Riots are erupting. And in startup land, the good news keeps on coming.

SecondMarket, a market for stocks in private companies, today reported its best third quarter to date, with $167 million in private stock transactions.

Year-to-date, SecondMarket, has completed $435 million in transactions, a 75 percent jump compared with last year.

Completed transactions by industry as of September 30. All numbers rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent. Some graphs may not add up to 100 percent. SecondMarket

The chart above shows completed transactions by industry. Consumer Web and social media dominated with 62 percent of the transactions. The newest category of transactions, financial services companies, represented nearly a quarter of transactions. Retailing and commerce had more than 11 percent.

Completed transactions by buyer types as of September 30. All numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent. SecondMarket

SecondMarket said investment activity by asset managers and venture capital funds is on the rise, as illustrated above.

Completed transactions by seller types as of September 30. All numbers have been rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent. SecondMarket

Former employees continue to make up the majority of sellers in the third quarter (above). Transactions by current employees, a group with little activity before, were the second most active. According to SecondMarket, they made more transactions last quarter than the two previous quarters combined.

"The increased participation of current employees may reflect the growing emphasis on secondary liquidity as a competitive differentiator for private companies that are trying to retain and attract talent," reports SecondMarket. Investors made up just above 8 percent of private stock sales last quarter.

Top 10 most watched/venture backed as of September 30. Second Market

SecondMarket ranked the most-watched venture-backed private companies. It's no surprise that Facebook was the most watched (for the fifth-consecutive quarter) with 9,566 watchers last quarter. Twitter came in second with 5,414 watchers.

New companies being tracked by SecondMarket members as of September 30. SecondMarket

My favorite part of the report is the "newbies" section tracking private companies that launched during the quarter with fewer than 10 watchers and started to gain traction by the end of the third quarter. "Watchers" are SecondMarket members who essentially give a Facebook "like" to a company they consider adding to their portfolio.

Pinterest lets you create virtual pinboards to keep track of your favorite things and it topped the list with 22 watchers on SecondMarket. Five startups tied for second place: Billfloat, Firstwind, Proofpoint, Trion, and Zaarly all had 19 watchers.

These are some stunning illustrations. For the full report and more visual stimulation, visit the SecondMarket press room.