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Article from SF Gate.

“Chamath Palihapitiya, a former executive at Facebook Inc., made the first two investments for his new venture fund, buying stakes in business-software maker Yammer Inc. and private-stock exchange SecondMarket Inc.

Palihapitiya’s fund, called the Social+Capital Partnership, led a $17 million investment in Yammer, a San Francisco company that makes social-networking programs for businesses.

The fund, which announced both deals separately Tuesday, bought its SecondMarket stake from existing investors. SecondMarket lets investors trade shares of closely held companies before they hold an initial public offering.

After a four-year career at Facebook, where he worked on mobile products and expanded the company internationally, Palihapitiya left this year to form Social+Capital.

The Palo Alto fund is raising about $300 million, with an eye to investing in Internet technology, health care, education and financial services. Before joining Facebook, Palihapitiya spent a year at venture-capital firm Mayfield Fund.

“The things I like tend to have very disruptive elements to an existing established infrastructure,” Palihapitiya, 35, said.

“SecondMarket disrupts the IPO process by giving you completely different alternatives. Yammer is highly disruptive to established enterprise software companies.”

With Tuesday’s investment, Yammer has now raised $57 million. The company, started by PayPal Inc. co-founder David Sacks, provides software to more than 100,000 businesses in 160 countries, serving clients such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Ford Motor Co. Existing investors include Charles River Ventures, Emergence Capital and U.S. Venture Partners.

“Social networking is destined to have as significant an impact on the enterprise as it has already had in our personal lives,” Palihapitiya said in a statement.

The SecondMarket deal, meanwhile, involving buying stock from employees and early investors, Chief Executive Officer Barry Silbert said in a blog posting.

Shareholders of the New York company sold about $13 million of stock at a valuation of about $160 million, in what the company expects to be an “annual liquidity event,” Silbert said.

SecondMarket helps investors in privately held companies buy and sell their stock. The company has handled transactions totaling almost $1 billion, Silbert said Tuesday. Shareholders of Facebook, Twitter Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. have sold stock on the exchange.

Palihapitiya was joined by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and actor Ashton Kutcher in buying the SecondMarket shares.”

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Here is an article from CNN Money.

“The stars may very well align for the IPO market in 2010. Literally.

Following one of the worst years in recent memory, public offerings are expected to rebound nicely this year, with potentially much of the action centered around several high-profile companies.

Embattled automaker General Motors, for example, has hinted since last summer that it could once again become a publicly-traded company by year’s end.

Private equity giants Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apollo Global Management, both of which missed entering the market at the peak of the buyout boom, have both mentioned as possible entries in 2010 recently.

And the IPO rumor mill has been working overtime since social networking giant Facebook introduced a dual-class stock structure in November, a move that often times has preceded a public offering. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) did the same thing before it went public in 2004.

“I don’t think it is a matter of if[Facebook] can or cannot, it is a matter if they want to,” notes finance author Tom Taulli, who has written extensively about the IPO market.

If Facebook, GM and other brand-name firms decide to enter the public markets, that could help push the number of U.S. offerings far beyond 2009 levels. Last year, just 63 companies went public as investors avoided wading into the market chaos that defined the first half of last year.

Those that did brave the turmoil included a rather strange group of bedfellows –including a Chinese online gaming firm, a company developing lithium-ion batteries for cars and nearly two dozen companies that were backed by private equity firms.

This year though, experts are betting that the IPO market will largely be dominated once again by companies that have been bankrolled by venture capital investors. These companies are typically younger firms as opposed to the mature companies that private equity companies often buy.

During the final months of 2009, 16 venture-backed firms filed to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, a Greenwich, Conn.-based investment firm specializing in IPOs, including drugmaker Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and solar panel producer Solyndra.

With that in mind, Linda Killian, a portfolio manager of the IPO Plus Aftermarket Fund at Renaissance Capital, said that more growth companies are likely to be in this year’s crop of IPOs.

And in the growth company category, there is no industry more buzzed about than social networking.

In addition to Facebook, social networking hotshots Twitter, LinkedIn and Zynga have all been rumored as possible IPO candidates.

Experts tend to agree that it is only a matter of time before many of these firms start considering acquisitions however. And with publicly traded stock, that would certainly give them the currency to do so.

John Fitzgibbon, founder and publisher at IPOScoop.com, said if one social networking company goes public and does well, then conditions would be ripe for the rest to follow.

“You need the trailblazer,” he said. “If Facebook goes into the pipeline, you will probably see more of its competitors start there.”

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Here is some good insights from Chris O´brien at SiliconBeat.

“This morning my inbox contained the latest report from Renaissance Capital. It has some hopeful news about IPOs, but not necessarily for Silicon Valley.

First, the good news: ”After an uptick in filing activity, there are 67 companies in the active IPO pipeline, up from 29 in March 2009.”

As far as Silicon Valley is concerned, that’s about as far as the good news goes. Now, here’s the bad news.

According to Renaissance:

“Today, the tech, healthcare and retail growth stories that have driven past market revivals have been conspicuously absent from the latest wave of  IPO hopefuls.  This makes sense, given the historic consumer shut-down and the anti-business and investment rhetoric emanating from Washington.  In their place, there is a pool of unusual candidates shaped by an era of cheap credit and  the unprecedented mortgage crisis that followed.  At least for the near term, it appears that the IPO market will be dominated by opportunistic investment vehicles and businesses from the mid-decade buyout bubble.”

And his post concludes:

Currently, there are seven venture-backed companies in the IPO pipeline. Could there be more? Renaissance gives a round up of likely suspects:

“Besides the social networking giants Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, there have been several other rumored IPO candidates from the VC community as the market began to recover in early March.  Near-term, we expect the majority of new venture-backed IPO filings to come from the technology and alternative energy sectors.  Potential IPO prospects from each of these industries include online games company Zynga, ethernet network equipment provider Force10 and property & casualty software maker Guidewire in the technology sector, and smart grid company Silver Spring, solar panel maker Solyndra and electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors in alternative energy.”

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