When legendary hedge-fund manager Julian Robertson decided to give Charles Payne “Chase” Coleman III $25 million to start his own fund in 2001, potential investors meeting Coleman for the first time were skeptical.
The 25-year-old analyst, who had worked at Robertson’s storied Tiger Management and was a close friend of his son’s, seemed shy and insecure. “He didn’t look you in the eye,” recalls an investor who says he had to wonder, Was Coleman really talented, or was Robertson’s support just because of the personal connection?
What this investor could not have imagined is that the geeky tech analyst would one day run one of the world’s largest private-investment firms and that he would also become both a central player in a frenzied years-long global tech bubble — one driven by “unicorn” companies trading at absurd valuations — and its bursting over the past six months. The guy who started as a shy analyst would put up impressive gains for years, then suffer mind-boggling losses: $25 billion (and counting) as of June, a record figure even in the lofty world of hedge funds.
The meltdown at Coleman’s firm, named Tiger Global in a nod to his mentor, is one for the ages. “Their losses look to be the biggest in the history of hedge funds,” says one hedge-fund manager, ticking off other notable contenders for that unfortunate title. Tiger Global’s drubbing far surpasses that of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, which lost $12 billion in 2020, or Melvin Capital Management, the now-infamous target of the Redditor-led short squeeze of GameStop shares in 2021, which cost it $6.8 billion. Long Term Capital Management, the most notorious hedge-fund blowup of all time, shed a mere $4.6 billion when it almost collapsed in 1998.
You can read the rest of my Tiger Global profile here: