Silbert was advising distressed companies when he had an epiphany: if there were a marketplace for trading illiquid assets, hard-hit companies might be able to move them off their books.
So he created SecondMarket, a marketplace for the hard-to-trade CDOs, mortgage-backed securities and other exotic creations that helped bring down the biggest Wall Street banks. It also creates a market for other kinds of hard-to-value assets, like Facebook shares.
It's gaining traction: Total inventory reached $10 billion this year. But that's still just a sliver of the some $52 trillion illiquid asset market.
NEXT: Niko Canner