Cathie Wood was sitting in a phone booth in the New York office of Ark Invest when she heard Tasha Keeney, one of the firm’s analysts, let out a scream—“a happy scream,” Wood recalled. It was Feb. 1, 2019, and Keeney had just received a direct message on Twitter from Elon Musk—the first time the Tesla CEO had privately reached out to anyone at Ark. “This is really good,” Musk messaged Keeney, referencing comments she had made about Tesla that day on Fox Business.
Less than two weeks later, Wood and Keeney arrived at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., headquarters to record a podcast with Musk, excited to meet the iconic CEO in person. For Ark, the podcast was a breakthrough event. “We were nothing,” Wood told me during a recent Zoom interview. “Nobody knew who we were.”
Today, everyone in the financial world knows who Cathie Wood is. The founder, CEO and chief investment officer of Ark has been both revered and ridiculed for her staunch belief in Musk—and for her pie-in-the-sky forecasts for a wide variety of pandemic-boom companies, including Tesla. “Many were saying he’s going to run out of cash, he can’t scale Model 3 and…he’s going to go bankrupt,” said Wood of Musk’s early doubters. “And we just kept our eye on the prize.”