Silicon Valley Cashes Out in Secondary Markets

Vince Thompson doesn’t appear in any accounts of Facebook’s early years. Few of the more than 2,000 employees at the company even know his name. The AOL (AOL) veteran’s brief stint as Facebook’s first official ad-sales chief lasted less than six months. Even so, when Thompson left the company in early 2006, he exercised his options to buy Facebook stock, as is the custom in Silicon Valley, and took a sizable chunk of shares with him. About 18 months later he moved to Los Angeles and started consulting for media clients such as on how to tap new sources of revenue, and he began to think about how to create one for himself. He set out on a quest, talking to friends in the New York investment banking world about an unorthodox idea: selling a portion of his Facebook shares, packaged with those of a colleague who left Facebook shortly after he did. Read the full feature story on