SecondMarket will today announce that it’s raised $15 million from the Li Ka Shing Foundation and Dunearn Investments (a subsidiary of Singapore-based investment company Temasek Holdings).
SecondMarket calls itself “the largest secondary market for illiquid assets,” but it’s best known as one of those sites where accredited investors can buy and sell stock in startups such as Facebook, Twitter and Zynga.
The company tells us it got into selling startup stock back in March 2008 when a Facebook shareholder asked if SecondMarket could find him a buyer.
Thirteen months of research and later, SecondMarket began facilitating private company stock sales on a regular basis in April 2009. Transactions reached $45 million by August 2009, grew $75 million between August and the end of the year, and will hit $70 million between January 2010 and March 2010. In all, says a company rep, “we have between $150 to $200 million in completed private company transactions since the market launched in April 2009”
SecondMarket currently has over $280 million of private company stock listed for sale. For the right buyers, it has over $1 billion worth of private company stock “available” for sale.
The distinction between “listed” and “available” arises out of the fact that while every shareholder has a price, not every shareholder wants to publicly disclose that price.
SecondMarket tries to find out those prices and keep an eye one potential buyers who might be willing to reach them. SecondMarket employs humans to faciliates these trades, and says that’s its competitive advantage against rivals such as SharesPost.com.
The company tells us roughly half of the volume on SecondMarket’s private company market is trading of well-known startups like Facebook, Zynga, and Tesla.
The Li Ka Shing Foundation is the charitable foundation started by famous entrepreneur guy Li Ka-shing, who also happens to be a big Facebook investor. According to a statement, Temasek has a $172 billion portfolio invested “principally in Singapore, Asia and the emerging economies.”