Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Stratolaunch Systems, XCOR, and Blue Origin. These companies have all been formed since 1999, and together are the bulk of the truly private space industry (i.e. are not dependent on government contracts or subsidies and intend to develop space for commercial purposes). There are also very well-funded startups looking beyond LEO for business - Planetary Resources and Bigelow Aerospace.
These companies have big bucks behind them, much more than earlier attempts. The success of SpaceX (admittedly the only commercial success so far, and still greatly bolstered by government business) makes the success of the others seem likely for the first time.
Why is this happening now?
One answer is the sudden flurry of nerd billionaires. A gaggle of Google billionaires, two dot-commers, and two MicroSoft billionaires are responsible for the bulk of this. They've got lots of money and they like space. But I wonder if the maturity of certain key technologies have now brought us to a tipping point. Is it the micro-sensors, micro-controllers, and microchips? Is it the vast power of CGI design software? Are there other things?