Whitney Tilson is known as a hedge fund manager, author and philanthropist. Schooled in the art of investing by other value investors, such as Warren Buffet, Tilson successfully traded and managed clients' personal wealth through Kase Capital which shut down in 2017. He is now the chief executive officer and founder of Kase Learning.
Early Life and Education
Whitney Tilson was born in 1966 in Connecticut; however, he spent the majority of his childhood years in Nicaragua and Tanzania as his parents served as educators in both areas, having met in the Peace Corps. In 1985, Tilson graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon School. He applied to and was accepted at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in government.
Following university, Tilson, having grown up in a household with strong educational ties, worked with Wendy Kopp to launch Teach for America. He followed this by working for two years as a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group. In the early 1990s, Tilson’s deeply instilled desire for further education and a passion for business led him to pursue a master’s degree. He graduated with high distinction, in the top 5% of his class, from Harvard Business School in 1994.
For five years following his graduation from Harvard Business School, Tilson worked with a professor, Michael Porter, to study the competitiveness of businesses that were based in inner cities across America. In collaboration with Porter, Tilson helped to found the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and served as the organization’s executive director. Tilson was also a champion for the creation of ICV Partners. This nationwide for-profit equity fund, focused specifically on inner-city and minority-owned businesses, has gone on to raise more than $450 million to aid in the development of inner-city businesses.
Tilson’s success story begins with his investment career in 1999. He was the founder and managing partner of Kase Capital Management, formerly T2 Partners LLC. Tilson also helped to launch Tilson Mutual Funds. Tilson subscribes to the investing style of value investor champions, and thus Kase Capital Management's three hedge funds were all value-oriented.
In addition to being a successful investor, Tilson has become a prolific author of business and financial literature. He has co-written two books, “The Art of Value Investing: How the World’s Best Investors Beat the Market”, written in 2013, and “More Mortgage Meltdown: 6 Ways to Profit in These Bad Times” in 2009. Tilson also served as one of the authors of “Poor Charlie’s Almanack.” He has written for a variety of publications, including Forbes, the Motley Fool, the Financial Times and Seeking Alpha.
Net Worth and Current Influence
Tilson’s net worth is unknown. Many believe he is among the wealthiest of the younger generation of hedge fund managers. Though there are no specific figures outlined publicly.
In September 2017, Tilson closed Kase Capital. His current influence includes management of Kase Learning. Kase Learning provides seminars, webinars and conferences on financial topics.
Tilson is also known for his philanthropic influence, donating millions to charities and organizations focused on education reform and Africa, where he spent a great deal of his childhood. For this work, Tilson received Harvard Business School Club of Greater New York’s John C. Whitehead Social Enterprise Award in 2008. Tilson has also been a member on the boards of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), the Academy of Charter Schools (ACS) in NYC and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
“If you are able to look beyond near-term trouble, you have an advantage over many professional investors.” This is largely a reflection of Tilson’s value investing strategy, where he is willing to look at and invest in underperforming stocks that have great future potentials for profit.
“Those who stop learning get passed by.” Tilson grew up in a household with two educator parents and pursued a substantial educational career. His current work with educational and educational reform organizations further emphasizes Tilson’s convictions about the benefits and necessities of a solid and continuing education.