Who are the large secondary buyers of shares in private companies?

Now that the frenzy to acquire private shares in hot consumer web companies has quieted down , who are the guys left standing to offer a form of interim liquidity to shareholders?

These guys are in the market to buy shares from existing shareholders such as employees and founders, and usually do so in cooperation with the company itself:

Millenium Technology Value Partners: Millennium works closely with companies to implement liquidity programs designed to meet the strategic needs of management, shareholders, and Boards.

Saints Capital: Saints assists investors and founders who desire liquidity for their investment stakes and is a flexible purchaser and investor. Depending on the situation, Saints can partner with existing managers, assume future capital requirements, or purchase ownership stakes outright. In addition to providing liquidity and future capital solutions for investors, Saints also provides companies with a stable, long-term focused investor.

W Capital Partners: a private equity firm that provides liquidity in direct private equity. Since 2001, W Capital has become the leading provider of secondary market liquidity to private equity firms, mezzanine lenders, venture capital firms, financial institutions, corporations and company founders for illiquid, minority equity positions in private companies.

Glynn Capital Management: When Richard Melmon, a co-founder of Electronic Arts (ERTS), left the video game pioneer shortly after it was founded in a dispute with his co-founder, he sold a portion of his holdings to a Valley financier named John Glynn, who recalls working hard to cultivate a relationship with EA before the deal. “These were very occasional transactions, and it was done the old-fashioned way,” Glynn says. “You earned the respect and trust of the company, and they ended up wanting you as a shareholder.” (source)

Industry Ventures: a leading investment firm focused on the venture capital market. Founded in 2000, the firm manages over $1 billion of institutional capital. Industry Ventures invests with two strategies: i) secondary funds that offer liquidity alternatives for direct investments and limited partnership interests and ii) funds of funds that invest in small funds with outsized return potential.

HighStep Capital: a long/short equity hedge fund focused on successful Internet businesses and companies that have been disrupted by the Internet. HighStep also consults with large institutional investors to construct portfolios of private shares purchased through secondary transactions.


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