Secondary Markets

SecondMarket CEO Announces Layoffs: ‘I Admit It, I Screwed Up’

"I have done a poor job managing our cost structure."

SecondMarket was having a pretty good week. On Tuesday came a flurry of articles about the startup’s crowdfunding-flavored partnership with Angellist, and just yesterday, CEO Barry Silbert announced that Tennessee’s First Advantage Bank was using the service to go private while remaining open to investors. He called the move “validation of our model.”

Today, according to a post on SecondMarket’s blog, several employees got the ax as part of “org changes.”

To his credit, Mr. Silbert takes responsibility for the layoffs:

“I admit it, I screwed up. While the transition of SecondMarket from a telephone broker of illiquid assets in 2005 to the technology-driven reinvented stock market that we are today has been quite successful, I have done a poor job managing our cost structure during this transition.”

Consequently, he added, “there are a number of high quality, hard-working SecondMarket family members who are now looking for their next challenge.” If only there were some way to monetize euphemisms, Silicon Alley would be swimming in cash.

But Mr. Silbert wouldn’t want to leave you with the impression that the company is in trouble. “I remain extremely optimistic about SecondMarket’s future and the important role we plan to play in reinventing the stock market and redefining the modern company,” he wrote, adding that the company has $25 million in the bank and “an expected break-even bottom line” within sight. Rather, “we have decided to double down on what is working, eliminate any unnecessary costs and get our company back to the lean, mean, high performing organization that we once were before hubris took over.”

The company also went through a round of layoffs in March 2012, thanks to the Facebook IPO.

SecondMarket declined to comment further to Betabeat, so we’re not sure how many were let go. (UpdateValleywag says as many as 40.) Let’s hope those “smart, capable people” are at least getting glowing references.

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Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com