Cathie Wood is a leading investor and serves as the CEO of ARK Invest. Her investment management firm invests in innovative technology companies and has $14 billion in assets under management. According to Forbes, Cathie Wood has a net worth of $140 million in 2023. Her fortune peaked at $400 million in 2021 but fell sharply due to the decline in tech stocks.
Catherine Duddy Wood was born on November 26, 1955 in Los Angeles. Her family is of Irish descent and growing up she was a devout Catholic. Cathie’s father was a radar systems engineer in the US Air Force and Irish Army. Cathie credits her father with encouraging her to learn about technology and economics.
She graduated from the all-girls high school Notre Dame Academy in 1974 and graduated from USC in 1981 with a degree in finance and economics. Here she was a student of Arthur Laffer, an economist who became well-known for serving as an advisor to Ronald Reagan.
Arthur Laffer helped get Wood a job at Capital Group as an assistant economist in 1977. She worked for three years at the asset management firm and moved to New York to become Jennison Associates’ chief economist.
Over 18 years she climbed the corporate ladder there, progressing from portfolio manager to managing director. After reaching the top, she co-founded a hedge fund with Lulu C. Wang in 1998 called Tupelo Capital Management. At its peak, the fund had nearly $1.4 billion in assets under management. Once the tech bubble burst, that figure shrunk to $200 million.
Cathie left the hedge fund in 2001 to link up with AllianceBernstein. She was their chief investment officer of global theme strategies for 12 years and her returns for clients were volatile. Here she was managing $5 billion in assets.
Founding ARK Invest
Cathie took a huge career risk and quit AllianceBernstein at 57 years old. The company believed her idea of managing ETFs for new innovative technologies was too risky. She set up ARK Invest in January 2014 and in the early years, she invested using her own money.
ARK invests in a wide range of cutting-edge tech businesses, including gene editing, AI, the Internet of Things, automation, space exploration, and cryptocurrency. No other than Bill Hwang was the first person to write Cathie a big check, he invested $20 million in four ETFs.
Wood’s first home run was their investment into Tesla and her media profile took off when the pandemic hit. By December 2020, Ark Invest was one of the top performing funds on Wall Street and Cathie was being hailed as a genius investor. The fund peaked in February 2021 but since then things have been a disaster.
Analysts feel that ARK overinvested in tech firms and failed to sell their holdings when the market was booming. Now ARK is down 63% since the start of the year but she continues to invest despite the ongoing sell-off as interest rates rise. Jerome Powell isn’t doing her any favors!
Even with the recent failures, Cathie believes ARK will recover. The legendary investor is standing her ground and remains one of Tesla’s biggest supporters. She forecasts the electric car company will be worth $5 trillion in the future.
She is also a major supporter of the crypto movement. ARK Invest sold a large amount of its Tesla stock to buy Coinbase shares when it went public. Wood also thinks Bitcoin is significantly undervalued.
In February 2021, she predicted that Bitcoin’s price would reach $250,000 if big funds began adding Bitcoin to their balance sheets. Cathie Wood’s most recent crypto-related move adding to her Coinbase investment.
Cathie was married to Robert Wood but they divorced in 2003. Sadly, her ex-husband passed away from cancer in 2018. They had three children together: Robert, Caroline, and Caitlin. Currently, Wood is living in Wilton, Connecticut.