Cathie Wood at conference
Source: CNN

How ARK Invest Founder Cathie Wood Made Her Fortune

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Sep. 14 2021, Updated 9:15 a.m. ET

Since cryptocurrencies became mainstream, we’ve seen an ever-increasing number of investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and other Wall Street professionals jump on the crypto bandwagon. Some of these early crypto investors made fortunes by buying Bitcoin or Ethereum when they were at a fraction of their current price.

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One woman who has been making headlines as a top tech investor is Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of investment management company ARK Invest. ARK runs the largest actively traded ETF in the world. In addition to investing in cutting-edge industries such as gene editing and electric vehicles, ARK Invest has been making major plays in the crypto market, and most recently, has filed to buy Canadian Bitcoin ETFs.

Cathie Wood and ARK Invest

Wood started off working as an economist with Capital Group in 1977 before spending almost 18 years working as a portfolio manager and analyst at Jennison Associates. In 1998, Wood started an independent hedge fund, Tupelo Capital Management. Three years later, she signed on as the CIO of AllianceBernstein, a large asset management company.

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ark logo
Source: ARK Invest

Wood ended up leaving AllianceBernstein after the company turned down her idea to start up an ETF based on disruptive technologies. After departing from the company, she started ARK Invest in 2014 as a way to do exactly that. Since then, it has been one of the best-performing hedge funds on the market, alongside dedicated crypto funds such as Pantera Capital.

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ARK invests in a variety of cutting-edge tech markets, including gene editing, AI, Internet-of-Things (IoT), robotics, space exploration, and crypto. In regards to crypto, ARK Invest sold a substantial portion of its stake in Tesla (TSLA) to buy up shares of Coinbase (COIN) after it went public in Apr. 2021.

Cathie Wood’s net worth

Wood would already have been a millionaire before she started ARK Invest. If anything, she probably crossed that point earlier in her career as an economist and portfolio manager. By the time she became CIO of AllianceBernstein, her net worth probably was in the seven-to-eight figure range.

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cathie wood net worth
Source: ARK Invest Facebook

Fast forward to 2021, ARK Invest’s recent success has made her one of the wealthiest female fund managers on the planet. Current estimates put Wood’s net worth at around $250 million. She’s also on the Forbes “America’s Self-Made Women” and "50 Over 50" lists for 2021.

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Cathie Wood’s Bitcoin prediction

Like most crypto investors, Wood is optimistic about Bitcoin—she thinks that the cryptocurrency’s market cap could easily skyrocket from its current $867 billion market cap. In Feb. 2021, she said Bitcoin's price could hit $250,000 if major corporations started adding the cryptocurrency to their balance sheets. We’ve already seen that happen with MicroStrategy (MSTR).

While $250,000 is over five times higher than Bitcoin's current price, that prediction is mild compared with others. Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, sees Bitcoin rising to over $1 million within the next few years.

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