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Tech's Top IPOs of 2010

Top tech IPO story updated with 2011 outlook and an additional firm, Motricity.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Splashy tech startups like Twitter and Facebook opted not to sell their shares on the public market this year, but the technology industry held strong, capturing the largest number of IPOs of any sector in the U.S.

Since the beginning of 2010, 42 technology companies have gone public, with total proceeds of $5.9 billion, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO research firm. That's a big uptick from the same period last year, which saw 17 IPOs priced.

"There's a lot of rhetoric and stories about the absence of the IPO, but activity from the tech sector has still been active," said Paul Bard, vice president at Renaissance Capital.

Newly-public tech firms have also delivered more solid returns than any other industry (with the exception of consumer and business services), posting an average first-day return of 19.3% and an average total return of 35.5% from their initial pricing.

Tech's IPO Outlook

Most tech companies that completed IPOs this year are far from household names. The well-known startups sitting in the IPO pipeline -- meaning they filed an S-1 but have yet to price -- include Skype, car rental outfit Zipcar and content farm Demand Media. These firms, said analysts, are likely waiting for better economic conditions.

"These companies want a firm showing that they can get a reasonable price and not have to slash the offering price which was the norm several months ago," said Scott Sweet, senior managing partner at IPO Boutique, an IPO advisory firm in Lutz, Fla.

Earlier this year, online marketing company ReachLocal (RLOC) and mobile-data service provider Motricity (MOTR) -- both highly anticipated IPOs in the venture community -- were forced to cut their offerings due to the economy.

Sweet is hoping that next year will be different.

"I'm looking for a bombshell IPO," said Sweet. "A premiere name like Facebook would literally bring pandemonium for months ... even General Motors (GM) has nothing on Facebook."

Four other tech companies rumored to be exploring a public offering next year include Google-coveted daily deal site Groupon; Brightcove, an online video company that recently hired a new CFO with public company experience; Chegg, a textbook rental company; and e-mail marketing company ExactTarget, which postponed its IPO in 2007.

Here's a look at some of the most notable tech IPOs of 2010, as well as their outlook for next year.
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