Top 10 most popular tech companies

SecondMarket, a firm that facilitates investments in private companies, released a report Tuesday that discloses which companies buyers are most interested in.

Interest was determined by how many investors on the platform listed each company on their “watch lists.” When SecondMarket investors and potential investors add a company to these lists, they get relevant articles about them in their SecondMarket profile newsfeeds. It’s somewhat analogous to “liking” a Page on Facebook.

Just like in December, when SecondMarket released a similar report, Facebook takes the cake again. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as the social network is reported to be eyeing an IPO in 2012 that could value the company at as much as $100 billion.

LinkedIn, which has its IPO set for Thursday, fell from second to fourth on the list as Groupon jumped from sixth to third. Groupon is also facing a handsome payday, anticipating a valuation as high as $15 billion when it goes public.

Twitter, on the other hand, managed to sneak into the second slot on the most-watched list with no payday in sight.

SecondMarket also listed “rising stars,” companies that had the highest quarter-on-quarter increase in wish list appearances. Among them are Foursquare, Dropbox, Spotify, Skype and Gilt Groupe.

Not all of these companies necessarily have shares available on SecondMarket’s platform. The ones that do are largely sold by ex-employees, who accounted for 86% of completed transactions in Q1 of 2011. In contrast, founders accounted for just 2%; it was the first quarter any have sold shares on the platform in the past 12 months.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, AlexKalina

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