Lee Ainslie: Looking Back At The Beginning

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Lee Ainslie, a tiger cub and founder of equity hedge fund Maverick Capital, manages about $7.7 billion. In a rare interview with OneWire, Ainslie talked about his early education, his interest in investing, meeting Julian Robertson and how he started his own company.

Lee Ainslie: Looking Back At The Beginning

Lee Ainslie’s journey to Tiger Management

Lee Ainslie said he was interested in investing from a very young age. He discovered it while creating a software program for a high school investment club. After graduating from high school, he went on to study engineering at the University of Virginia. He then joined an accounting firm as a small business consultant. But his interest in investing didn’t allow him to stay there for long. Lee Ainslie quit that job to pursue an MBA at the University of North Carolina.

It was at the University of North Carolina that he met Tiger Management chief Julian Robertson. Lee Ainslie was not clear whether he should go back to his previous profession of management consulting or pursue his interest in investing. He found the solution when Julian Robertson offered him an opportunity to work at Tiger Management. He was the fifth or six professional at Tiger, recalls Lee Ainslie. He worked at Tiger Management as a technology analyst. Tiger Management had about $700 million of assets under management when he joined the firm.

Lee Ainslie’s advice to newbies

In 1993, Lee Ainslie started Maverick Capital using $38 million in seed capital he received from Sam Wyly. Talking about his biggest challenges today, Lee Ainslie said that two of his biggest challenges were to attract talents who want to work for Maverick Capital, and to maintain the confidence of investors. That’s because it’s a very competitive market, so talents and investors have a lot of options today.

His best advice to newbies planning to enter Wall Street? Choose a career path that has a sustainable future and that adds value to your career. Lee Ainslie is also actively involved in charity. During the interview with OneWire, he said that everyone who is successful should give back to society. Lee Ainslie helps Robin Hood Foundation, a charitable organization that aims to solve poverty in New York.

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