techMARK puts spotlight on high-tech companies

LSE launches new exchange designed to help UK prosper in Internet economy, fend off advances from Nasdaq

The London Stock Exchange Thursday launched techMARK , a new market for technology companies. The market is an attempt to lure high-tech startups from Britain and the rest of Europe to list their shares in the UK rather than flee to the US, with its Nasdaq, or Germany's Neuer Markt (see European Tech Bourses ).

The market goes live with 181 companies already listed on the main market. FTSE International will list several techMARK indices including a techMARK 100 and a techMARK All-Share. The techMARK 100 will list companies with a market capitalisation of under £4bn, allowing investors to track the small and medium-sized companies that are currently driving the tech boom.

Participants aren't limited to online companies, however, originating from such sectors as biotechnology and semiconductors as well as software, Internet and fibre-optics.

"techMARK is part of our long-term drive to support younger, fast growing companies," said London Stock Exchange CEO Gavin Casey, in a statement. "It brings a new dimension to the relationship between companies and investors, giving innovative technology companies greater visibility and profile and enabling investors to identify technology companies with ease."

The UK has been criticised for announcing a tech exchange only after similar moves in Germany, France and other European countries. Another competitor could present itself in the form of a possible European sister exchange to the Nasdaq, which could appear as early as next year. (See Europe threatened by Nasdaq .)

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