WIRE

Employees Not Waiting to Cash Out on SecondMarket

The secondary market trading platform released who is selling, and who is buying so far in 2012.
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SecondMarket has created an online marketplace for shares of private companies, and it seems like workers are eager to sell shares of their current employer. 

A majority (59.8%) of the transactions that occurred on SecondMarket during the first half of 2012 involved employees selling private shares of their current company, according to a recent SecondMarket study. The most common buyer, however, were hedge funds, who accounted for 47.9% of the dollars exchanged via the web service.

The second most common SecondMarket seller group was former employees, whose sales made up 24.1% of all transactions. Founders only constituted 0.6% of SecondMarket transactions.

Aishwarya Iyer, a SecondMarket spokeswoman, said that the company does not disclose any financial information on the companies that use its platform. However, the recent study offered a snapshot of the typical SecondMarket company user. 

On average, a company offering private shares via SecondMarket has $108 million in funding, 200 employees, a $329 million market cap, and is seven years old and located in Northern California.

Almost half (48.3%) of the companies that partnered with SecondMarket to make private shares available were in the gaming industry, with the next most common sector being consumer web and social media companies who made up 21.8% of liquidity events.

Airtime, the video chat struggling start-up co-founded by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, was the most viewed company on SecondMarket for the second quarter and its number of "watchers" increased by 207.7% from the first quarter despite losing half its users from July to August

Warby Parker, an eyeglasses company that actually has interested users, increased its number of watchers--people who added the company to their SecondMarket watchlist--by 127.9% since quarter, making it no. 2 on that list.

Last updated: Aug 16, 2012

JOHN MCDERMOTT | Staff Writer

John McDermott is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com.




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