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Private Tech Surge Fuels Unicorn Stock Indexes

Private tech stocks have hit dizzying highs in recent years, but access to hot deals is often limited to an exclusive club. To meet widening demand from investors, some financial firms are creating ways to bet on fast-growing tech companies that aren’t traded on public markets.

At least two indexes are being developed that track the shares of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest privately held technology companies. One firm, Lagniappe Labs, has created an index of valuations of 112 U.S. venture-backed companies, including Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX. The firm expects trading to begin on its Prime Unicorn Index before the end of the year. Equidate, a trading platform for private stocks, also has been working on an index backed by underlying shares of venture-backed private companies, said a person familiar with the matter.

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The new indexes could fill a void for investors who have long sought a way to short private tech stocks.