Mike Novogratz is a former hedge fund manager, the current CEO of the cryptocurrency investment firm, Galaxy Investment Partners, and one of Bitcoin’s biggest fans. He’s also an ex-wrestler who’s been named the 2010 USA Wrestling Man of the Year and an Outstanding American by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Not your average hedge fund manager, then, and one certainly worth finding out more about. Do just that with these 10 things you didn’t know about hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz.
1. He was a high school wrestler
For all Novogratz’s success in the boardroom, it’s his success in the wrestling ring that’s won him his biggest accolades. As a teenager, he served as Virginia’s high school wrestling runner-up. At Princeton, he captained the university wrestling team, even managing to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) wrestling championships on two occasions before graduating. His passion for the sport hasn’t abated in the years since: as well as serving as a booster for the U.S. National Wrestling Team and an official spokesman for USA Wrestling, he’s become one of the most vocal campaigners for wrestling’s return to the Olympics after it was cut from the 2020 Summer Games.
2. He’s not the only success story in his family
Novogratz was born on November 26, 1964, into what can only be described as a family of chronic overachievers. As the observer.com writes, his father, Robert Sr., was a celebrated football linesman; his sister Jacqueline has become renowned for her activism in third-world problems as the chief executive officer of Acumen Fund; his one brother, John, is an ex-wrestling champion turned head of global marketing at Millennium Partner, while his other brother, Bob, is the star of the reality TV show 9 By Design.
3. He studied at Princeton
Although Novogratz spent a good amount of his teens in the wrestling ring, it didn’t seem to have too much of a knock-on effect on his studies. After leaving high school, he managed to win a place at an Ivy League school, graduating from Princeton University with an A.B. in economics.
4. He began his career at Goldman Sachs
With an Ivy League education behind him, Novogratz was unlikely to experience too many problems in finding a decent job after college. And, indeed, he didn’t. After serving a brief stint as a helicopter pilot in the New Jersey National Guard, Novogratz found himself starting the 1990s as a short-term bond salesman at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of the next decade, he steadily climbed the ladder at Goldman, spending several years as the president of Goldman Sachs Latin America and the head of fixed income, currencies, and commodities risk in Asia. By 1998, he’d managed to make enough of a name for himself to be offered partnership. He eventually left in 2002 to join Fortress Investments.
5. He won half a bitcoin in an election bet
Novogratz hit the news this month when he managed to win half a bitcoin in an election bet. As Business Insider reports, Novogratz was so confident of the election result he gambled half a bitcoin (which is currently worth $7,726) on the Democrats securing both the White House and the Congress. He later gave his winnings away through a self-hosted lottery. A Twitter user called @Adelgary won, but the outcome sparked outrage when other Twitter users claimed he already owned Bitcoin and wasn’t new to the crypto world.
6. He ‘retired’ in 2015
After joining Fortress Investments in 2002, Novogratz quickly rose through the ranks, earning the title of principal and director of Fortress Credit Corporation in 2006. But within a decade, he’d apparently had enough of managing hedge funds. In 2016, he announced his decision to retire. But either Novogratz has a very different idea of retirement to the rest of us, or a life of golf and gardening proved too much for him. Either way, his ‘retirement’ didn’t last; within the year, he was back in business.
7. He left retirement for bitcoin
In 2016, Mike Novogratz retired. But just a year later, he was back in a business suit and tie. The reason? Bitcoin. After learning about cryptocurrency, Novogratz became so intrigued he decided to come out of retirement and start extolling its virtues wherever and whenever he could. “Bitcoin was such a powerful story, it mixed a lot of things together: New technology called blockchain and new economic models founded upon the fact that we didn’t trust the system,” he since explained to fa-mag.com.“I walked to a friend’s office, and they were plotting out this revolution in finance,” he added. “They were talking about how they were going to decentralize it, how this was more than just a speculative trade – it is a religion.” Determined to get in on the action himself, he joined cryptocurrency investment firm, Galaxy Investment Partners, as its CEO in 2017.
8. He believes in giving back
Novogratz is part of the new breed of millionaires who believe giving their money away is just as important as making it in the first place. As well as his various philanthropic donations, Novogratz serves as the chairman and founder of Beat the Streets, a charity that works to promote wrestling in New York City public schools. He also serves on the boards of the Jazz Foundation of America, NYU Langone Medical Center, PAX, Princeton Varsity Club, Boards of Creative Alternatives of New York, and the School for Strings.
9. He pulled a celebrity house swap
In 2006, Novogratz pulled off the celebrity house swap of the century when he forked out $12.25 million for Robert De Niro’s duplex apartment in the very swanky Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. At the same time as he was moving into De Niro’s former pad, Mickey Rouke was moving into his old home in the Meatpacking district.
10. He’s worth $600 million
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Novogratz is worth the very impressive sum of $600 million. Well, we say impressive… these days, Novogratz’s fortune is a shadow of its former self. Back in September 2007, the CEO hit the Forbes 400 with a net worth of 1.5 billion dollars. The following year, it had dropped to a slightly lower but still magnificent $1.2 billion. Unfortunately, most of his wealth was made up of Fortress shares: by 2012, the company’s stock price has declined to the point that Novogratz’s net worth had shrunk to a comparatively tiny $500,000 million.