Post-Facebook, SecondMarket Sees Rise in Gaming Company Activity, Hedge Funds Get Interested

The post-Facebook era has arrived at SecondMarket, and several observations are worth making.

First, gaming startups are driving secondary market transactions on the SecondMarket private company platform in place of software and social Web ones. Second, hedge funds seem to be playing a bigger role as buyers than before.

SecondMarket issued on Monday its first private company market report since the Facebook IPO. The report is a bit difficult to compare to previous reports because it has been redesigned. (If SecondMarket releases a study in its traditional format, we will revisit this story with the new data.)

What the new study finds is that companies in the gaming industry made up nearly half of liquidity events on the site in the first half of 2012, or 48.3% of deals. Consumer Web and social media companies generated the second biggest number of transaction, or 21.8% of liquidity events. Education was third at 18.4%.

This is a big shift from the first quarter and could be tied to Zynga’s poor performance in the public markets. In the first quarter alone, software company transactions surpassed consumer Web and social media for the first time with more than half of transactions, or 53.7%. Consumer Web and social media still came in big (and in second place) with 43.7% of deals.

As for buyers, the new study found that hedge funds accounted for 47.9% of transactions by dollar value during the first half of the year. Asset managers were third on the list, behind family offices, with 15.3% of dollar value. In the first quarter report, hedge funds accounted for just 7.7% and asset managers, 44.3% of dollar transactions–another big reversal.

What’s interesting as well is an increase in the number of investors selling positions on the site. Investors accounted for 13.8% of transactions during the first half of the year compared with just 1.3% in the first quarter by itself. The new report also shows a big increase in current employees selling shares in their startups.

Among the companies attracting the greatest interest on the site is Airtime, the video chat service from Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning.

Let’s hope SecondMarket begins breaking down its site data by quarter again so that comparisons are easier in the future.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.