) -- The tech IPO market

continues its heat-up this year

. Yet while new tickers are performing well in public markets and a handful of prominent Internet start-ups have recently filed their paperwork, investors are still waiting for a blockbuster IPO to open the floodgates.

An IPO from, say,


-- a highly-valued private company already generating about $2 billion in revenue, according to reports -- would help prove that the IPO market is mature and could bring about a slew of other offerings, say analysts.

"I'm looking for a bombshell IPO," Scott Sweet, senior managing partner at IPO Boutique, recently told


. "A premiere name like Facebook would literally bring pandemonium for months."

More than 40 tech firms are currently lingering in the IPO pipeline, many of them household names. Business social network


filed its S-1 registration statement in January, followed by online radio company

Pandora Media

in February


But until a couple of these known firms take the public plunge, IPO activity in the near future will come from smaller companies.

Within the last 12 months,

four of the top five IPO performers

have been little-known tech firms, including voice-over-Internet provider



, Chinese Internet television company


, business software company

Qlik Technologies


and property management software provider

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Led by these companies, the tech sector has seen the highest number of IPOs -- 15 -- out of any other industry this year, according to research firm Renaissance Capital. The sector has also performed solidly, posting an average first-day return of 23.8%, the second highest return of any industry.

Venture-backed IPOs are also up. Last quarter, 14 venture-backed offerings -- valued at $1.4 billion -- priced, up from 9 offerings with a total of $936 million raised during the same period last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

The three-month period also marked the strongest opening quarter for venture backed IPOs since 2007, as venture capitalists start to take

stronger, riskier bets

funding small, high-growth firms like real estate Web site


, which

filed for an IPO last week

despite its relatively modest financials. The company saw $30.5 million in revenue for 2010 and a net loss of $6.8 million -- a far cry from the revenue benchmark that

analysts say firms should hit

before going public.

As the market continues to heat up, it could encourage tech start-ups rumored to be considering public offerings, like casual games company

PopCap Games

in Seattle, media company

Glam Media

in Brisbane, Calif., and real estate search engine


in San Francisco, to file an S-1.

But for tech investors hungry for a big growth story, they'll have to wait.

"From our perspective, the next wave of growth IPOs is still in the early stages," said Paul Bard, a vice president at Renaissance Capital. "Stay tuned."

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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