Cathie Wood Net Worth: How Rich is the ARK Invest Founder & CEO?

A star stock-picker and one of the most aggressive bulls of Wall Street, Cathie Wood has amassed an impressive fortune that is largely tied to the performance of exchange-traded funds managed by ARK Invest.

Cathie Wood head portrait

Cathie Wood, a star Wall Street fund manager known for her aggressive bets on the technology and innovation sector, made quite a name for herself in the world of finance. However, the glory days of her flagship ARK Innovation fund seem to be over, as most ARK ETFs trade drastically lower over the last couple of years. As Wood's funds fail to attract investors' interest, how much is she worth now?

Early life, education & career

Cathie Wood was born in 1955 in Los Angeles to a family of Irish immigrants. The eldest child in the family, Cathie admitted in an interview that she was raised as her parents' "first-born son" and was encouraged to pursue her interests and passions regardless of gender. She attended an all-girls Catholic school, Notre Dame Academy, that she finished in 1974. Then, Wood went on to pursue a BA degree in economics and finance from the University of Southern California, graduating summa cm laude in 1981.

Before she even graduated, Wood landed her first job in finance as an assistant economist at the Capital Group. Three years later, she accepted an offer to work as a portfolio manager for Jennison Associates, where she worked for the next 18 years. As Wood started making more connections in the industry, she met other high-ranked women economists, such as Lulu Wang, with whom she co-founded the hedge fund Tupelo Capital Management.

In 2001, Wood signed on as a chief investment officer of AllianceBernstein, where she spent the next 12 years overseeing the $5 billion fund's global strategies. She eventually resigned after the management refused to greenlight her plan for a disruptive technology-focused fund, an idea that would later become the backbone of Wood's ARK Investment Management fund.

The creation of ARK Invest

After parting her way with Alliance Bernstein, Cathie Wood registered ARK as an investment adviser in January 2014, following her vision for a fund focused exclusively on disruptive innovation. The seed funding for the first four funds was provided by Bill Hwang of Archegos Capital, whose overleveraged business empire collapsed in March 2021, triggering a failure of Credit Suisse that sent shock waves across the European banking sector.

A research team behind ARK funds is constantly on the look for investing opportunities in cutting-edge tech sectors such as robotics, AI, blockchain, genomics, fintech, and space exploration. All funds but two are actively managed, as Cathie Wood believes it allows to capitalize on rapid price movements and quickly close underperforming positions. Such an approach, however, has so far failed to deliver results that would beat the market: even though Wood's flagship ARK Innovation ETF was the top-performing fund in 2020, over the ten years ended in December 2023, it generated a 122% return, as compared to 330% yielded by Nasdaq over the same time.

ARK Invest ETFs

At the time of writing, ARK Invest manages eight exchange-traded funds:

  • ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK)
  • ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW)
  • ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG)
  • ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (ARKQ)
  • ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF)
  • ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (ARKS)
  • The 3D Printing ETF (PRNT)
  • ARK Israel Innovative Technology ETF (IZRL)

The 3D Printing ETF and ARK Israel Innovative Technology ETF are index funds, while the rest are actively managed, which means that they rely on a team of professional portfolio managers to hand-pick the stocks that together could potentially outperform the market.

Besides actively managed and indexed equity funds, ARK Invest also offers private equity and digital assets, which are products directed primarily at institutional investors.

Cathie Wood's investment strategy

Cathie Wood's investment strategy revolves around identifying long-term growth trends and investing in companies that she believes are poised to benefit the most from those trends. A Wall Street darling is also a big fan of a thematic investing approach, where investments are centered around specific sectors that Wood and her team believe expect to create significant value for investors in the future, such as autonomous technology, DNA sequencing, and blockchain.

Another noticeable trait of Wood's investing style is that she tends to have high conviction in her handpicked companies, often purchasing huge amounts of stocks that she believes have strong growth potential. This typically leads to concentrated portfolios with significant exposure to specific trends. And when the stock fails to deliver, Wood often doubles down on it by buying the dip, or, as her critics like to put it, tries to catch a falling knife, like that one time when she went on a buying spree for Coinbase shares after they fell 20 percent.

Cathie Wood Tesla

Cathie Wood is decidedly bullish on electric cars — so when Tesla shares began to free-fall, losing more than 30 percent of value since the start of 2024, ARK Invest jumped in to buy the dip. Despite the many Tesla woes, such as growing competition from other EV makers and rapid depreciation of Elon Musk's personal brand, Wood reiterated her price target of $2,000 for the company in five years — a more than 1,000% increase from today's prices.

"Autos, in the future, will be electric," Wood recently told CNBC. "We believe [that] in five years, 75% to 85% of all sales will be electric."

In contrast, the average price target for the Tesla stock from 47 analysts that are tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence is $196.64.

Cathie Wood Bitcoin prediction

As if a sky-high valuation for Tesla wasn't enough to boost morals among the ARK ETFs investors, Wood recently made a huge announcement at the recent Bitcoin Investor Day event in New York, boosting her 2030 price forecast for Bitcoin from a hefty $1.5 million to even more mind-boggling $3.8 million.

While such an outlandish forecast should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, there's a solid foundation for Bitcoin's appreciation in the upcoming years, namely the steady inflows into the new spot Bitcoin ETFs that accumulated billions of customer assets since the landmark SEC approval in January. And Wood's new fund, Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB), hasn't disappointed either, growing to nearly $3 billion AUM so far.

According to Cathie Wood, the rollout of Bitcoin spot ETFs is likely to bring average Bitcoin allocation among institutional crypto investors from the conservative 1-3% range to a more risky 5%. That alone would be enough to push Bitcoin to the $1.5 million high, she believes.

Cathie Wood's net worth in 2024

As a founder and chief executive officer of Ark Invest, it comes as no surprise that Cathie Wood's fortune is largely dependent on the performance of her funds — after all, she reportedly owns about 50% of the company. Currently, most media outlets pin her net worth somewhere between $250 million and $300 million. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Cathie Wood has a net worth of roughly $220 million.

Personal life

Cathie Wood is a devout Christian who doesn't hesitate to bring her faith into the pragmatic world of finance, as she openly shares that her fund ARK was named after the Ark of the Covenant. Wood is a mother of three children, Caitlin, Caroline, and Robert, whom she shares with her ex-husband. She got divorced from Robert Wood in 2003, who passed away in 2018. Cathie Wood's maiden name is Duddy.

If you would like to learn more about the net worth of other finance & crypto personalities, take a look at our articles on Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank, and Justin Sun of TRON.