Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2011 (Revised May 2012)

SecondMarket—Providing Liquidity for Shareholders of Privately Held iContact

by William A. Sahlman, Ramana Nanda and James McQuade


In 2011, SecondMarket was an online platform that facilitated secondary transactions of illiquid assets, including private company stock. This case explores reasons for the decline in small-cap IPOs in the United States from the 1990s to the 2000s and how the emergence of SecondMarket provided liquidity to privately held companies like iContact, an email and social marketing software-as-a-service (SaaS) company.

Keywords: Business and Shareholder Relations;


Sahlman, William A., Ramana Nanda, and James McQuade. "SecondMarket—Providing Liquidity for Shareholders of Privately Held iContact." Harvard Business School Case 812-072, November 2011. (Revised May 2012.)