Fans of fund manager Cathie Wood have created websites that track every investment move. They sell t-shirts with his photo in the style of Barack Obama’s “Hope” poster and with the ticker symbol of his flagship exchange-traded fund, ARK Innovation. On social media, they call her “Mamma Cathie”, “Aunt Cathie” and, in South Korea, “Money Tree”.
Behind the adoration lies her unchecked enthusiasm for a certain type of speculative investing: companies that generate little or no profit but which she says have the potential to change the world through “disruptive innovation”. His asset management firm, ARK Investment Management LLC, has put a lot of emphasis on trendy industries, including alternative energy companies, space exploration, and digital currencies.
Her interest in meme-worthy investing and her ubiquitous presence on Twitter and financial news channels pushed her alongside market influencers such as Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, the venture capitalist. Chamath Palihapitiya and Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy, who use Twitter, YouTube and podcasts to get their messages straight to a new generation.
Last month, Ms Wood joined Mr Musk and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., for a one-hour virtual chat about the potential of bitcoin, which has been declining in value for months. “Think how explosive growth could be,” Ms. Wood said at one point.
Among the converts was rapper Busta Rhymes, aka Trevor Smith Jr., who tweeted he was “sold for bitcoin” a day after listening to the three talk about cryptocurrency.