In early 2018, Tiger Global Management hired retired U.S. Army colonel Greg Gadson to speak at the hedge fund’s offsite conference at Miraval, a luxury resort and spa in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Gadson, who lost both legs to an explosion in Baghdad, shared this advice on overcoming intense adversity: “Focus on what you can do today.”
Tiger’s managers said in a February letter to their investors that after reflecting on that advice and the firm’s 20 years of tech investing experience, they were determined to make its “investment flywheel spin faster.” By then, Tiger had already accelerated its pace of investing in private tech companies, much to the astonishment and chagrin of rival VC firms. In the first three months of this year, the 100-person New York firm funded more than 60 companies worldwide, according to research firm PitchBook, averaging more than four deals per week.
Tiger’s unprecedented deal blitz, led by a co-founder of its private equity unit, Scott Shleifer, and its head of software investing, John Curtius (pronounced KURT-us), proved that the loss of a star partner, Lee Fixel, in 2019 hasn’t slowed it down. Rather, Tiger leveraged its heft—as both a venture capitalist and a manager of funds trading stocks like Zoom, Uber and Amazon—to make faster bets on startups.