Very interesting report from Caris & Co. Internet analyst Sandeep Aggarwal today. Although Aggarwal mainly follows the big publicly traded Web stocks — your Googles, Amazons and eBays of the world — he obviously keeps track of the top private firms as well.
Aggarwal and his team put out an exhaustive list of 400 top private Internet companies Monday morning. They ranked their top 15 by looking at “traction, business momentum, global impact, brand, and revenue generation potential.” Here’s the list. As you’ll see, there are some surprises.
The fact that Craigslist, Wikipedia and Mozilla are “hotter” than Zynga, Groupon and Twitter was somewhat shocking given how much press the latter three get. But it goes to show that being boring isn’t a bad thing if it means you are actually generating solid sales.
It was also very interesting that LivingSocial, which seems to lag Groupon badly in the “buzz” department, was ranked so closely to its Chicago rival. I was also surprised that Foursquare did not make the cut.
Aggarwal and his team didn’t stop with this list though. They also ranked a top 20 list of IPO candidates. Facebook obviously topped that list too.
But Craigslist, Wikipedia and Mozilla were not among the top 20. Aggarwal told me in a phone interview that’s only because he thinks those companies are unlikely to ever go public based on comments made by their founders and top executives.
Groupon was number 2 on the IPO list. Twitter was # 6, behind LivingSocial, LinkedIn and Zynga. Of course, several private Web companies have already filed to go public, including LinkedIn, Pandora, Skype and Kayak.
Now, everyone is wondering just how well some of these companies will do and if there is a new bubble brewing in Silicon Valley.
For what it’s worth, research firm GreenCrest Capital is trying to dial down the expectations a bit. In a report it e-mailed me Monday, analysts said it estimated a market value of about $11 billion for Groupon and $7 billion for Twitter.
While that’s still extremely rich, it’s considerably lower than the $25 billion some others estimate Groupon could be worth and $10 billion targets for Twitter. Hopefully though, all the speculation will soon be put to rest.
It’s not yet clear when LinkedIn or Pandora will graduate from private companies to publicly traded stocks. But once they do, their success (or failure) will go a long way toward determining whether Facebook, Groupon, Zynga and Twitter really deserve those eye-popping 11-figure valuations they are fetching in the shadowy private market world. — Paul
Consumers might buy an album using Facebook Credits virtual currency, and then stream it within the social network, with an update appearing on their friends’ walls every time they play a track.
— Musically’s April Fool’s report on the social gaming company getting in the ring with LiveNation and others to compete for Warner Music Group (it’s a record label, they put out overly-priced discs that play music). Sadly, this fake business plan actually makes sense. -Matt
Zynga’s FarmVille leaped off the computer screen in New York City and London today, in celebration of the global launch of the game’s first-ever new release, FarmVille English Countryside. This morning, live sheep paraded around New York City streets and visited London landmarks, bringing FarmVille — played by over 200 million people since its launch — to life.
— That’s from an e-mail pitch from a PR person representing Zynga. If this isn’t a sign that private Web companies are a bubble, I don’t know what is. But for what it’s worth, you can check out cute photos of frolicking sheep by clicking here. PR rep also promised video later. Baaah! — Paul
Last year when I was here, I was told I only had a few minutes and they advanced my slides for me, trying to get me to hurry up. Heh. Let’s see if that happens THIS year.
— Mark Pincus, CEO of FarmVille maker Zynga, at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco…right before Julianne started daydreaming of throwing a tomato. Or a brick.
Your intrepid reporter has just landed in San Francisco to cover the Web 2.0 Summit. They’ve got a helluva lineup this year, so I expect to file lots of stories this week after hearing from execs at Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Twitter, Adobe, Netflix, Zynga and more.
Zynga, the FarmVille maker, certainly has a presence in Silicon Valley; during the cab ride from the airport to my hotel, I saw a BILLBOARD advertising Zynga games. Crazy…but I’m sure there’s a lot more exciting stuff coming up this week. Stay tuned! -Julianne