17 People Making Way More Money After Leaving Finance for Start-Ups

Inc.
11 of 14

Barry Silbert was a bored investment banker with a start-up idea. That led him to SecondMarket, an online hub where users can buy and sell illiquid assets.

Barry Silbert got his idea for SecondMarket, a marketplace for illiquid assets, while working as an investment banker.

He tells Inc. about founding SecondMarket:

"I was an investment banker for about 5 ½ years, working on distressed type of situations like bankruptcies, things like that, and I was a bored investment banker. I'd been doing it for a while and the idea for to create this marketplace really kind of came out of a lot of the deals I was working on where I kept on seeing situations where there was a liquid assets being held by customers or clients that we had who needed liquidity. It was shocking to me that there was no one place where you could go to, an eBay-like marketplace, to sell these assets. And so I decided that I was going to leave investment banking with the big salary and roll the dice. I kind of figured I could always go back and be banker again and fortunately, I never, ever looked back."