Secondary Branding Battle Heats Up

What is up with SecondMarket and SharesPost? The two companies, which both last year made a dive into the fast-growing market of buying and selling shares of privately held companies, say publicly that there’s room for different business models in the same space.

SharesPost bills itself as a sort of eBay model, essentially a platform through which any seller and accredited buyer can come together. SecondMarket runs what it describes as a controlled market, allowing the company to determine how many shares get sold and who can buy them.

But it seems like their branding battle is heating up. Both companies are hosting events Thursday night – SecondMarket at Menlo Park’s Rosewood Hotel and SharesPost at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. And both seem to be eagerly establishing a presence anywhere there’s a gathering of venture-backed startups or their investors.  And both are eager to talk about how their sales stats are growing.

SecondMarket Chief Strategy Officer Jeremy Smith says the company did $70 million worth of private company share transactions in March, up from $40 million in February. The company makes money taking a fee of 3% to 4% on those transactions. Across all asset classes (which includes a range of illiquid securities), transactions are expected to total close to $3 billion this year, Smith says, with company revenue on track for reach the $50 million to $55 million range.

Greg Brogger, SharesPost’s CEO, mentioned that the company did something like $2 million in transactions the other week, if I’m recalling correctly from memory. Virtually all transactions are in a handful of companies, led by usual suspects such as Facebook, Zynga and LinkedIn.