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12.17.10

Facebook's $56 Billion Valuation and More Signs of the Tech Apocalypse

Are we headed into another tech crash? It's sure starting to look like it—Facebook shares traded at a $56 billion valuation Friday and Groupon recently turned down a $6 billion offer. Dan Lyons on more indications of a bubble about to burst.

1. Private Tech Startups' Stock Is Soaring
Stock in private tech startups has risen 54 percent in the past six months, according to a research firm called Nyppex.

2. Facebook's Valuation? $56 Billion
A batch of Facebook shares traded at a $56 billion valuation in a secondary market auction Friday. Two weeks ago, Facebook was valued at $35 billion. Nevertheless, some people say Facebook is still a screaming bargain. One analyst predicts Facebook will easily be worth $200 billion by 2015. Right on! And by 2020 could be the first company with a $1 zillion market value, so buy-buy-buy, everybody!

3. iPod Nano Wristband Producer Gets $1 Million in Venture Funding
A company that makes a wristband for using your iPod Nano as a wristwatch has raised nearly $1 million in venture funding.

4. Company Gets $18.5 Million to Make Pants
A company that makes pants—that's right, pants!— just raised $18.5 million. On top of the $7.7 million it had raised previously.

5. Twitter Valued at $3.7 Billion
Twitter just closed a round of funding at a $3.7 billion valuation, even though it hasn't generated any revenue yet. The valuation was so high that Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, an early investor in Twitter, declined to participate in this latest round. Wilson has been warning people that we're in another tech bubble.

6. Groupon Turns Down $6 Billion Offer
Groupon, which runs online coupon deals for merchants, recently turned down a $6 billion offer from Google. They turned it down! What are these kids smoking?

7. Ex-Facebookers' Quora Valued at $86 Million in First-Round Funding
Quora, founded by former Facebook employees, is a new website where you can ask questions and get answers. In its first round of funding, the company was valued at $86 million, according to TechCrunch, a blog that tracks Silicon Valley startups.

8. Foursquare Was Valued at $95 Million—in June
Foursquare—a site that lets you tell people what bar, restaurant, or other venue you're in—raised $20 million in June at a reported valuation of $95 million. The company had only 27 employees at the time.

Food for thought: Back in 2007, Fortune raved about how huge Second Life was going to be, and some visionary person who could see into the future because he knew so much about technology said: "In two years, I think Second Life will be huge, probably as large as the entire gaming community is today."

Caveat emptor.

Dan Lyons is technology editor at Newsweek and the creator of Fake Steve Jobs, the persona behind the notorious tech blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Before joining Newsweek, Lyons spent 10 years at Forbes.