On the cover of the Wall Street Journal C-section this morning there is a rare (and huge) picture of 4 young guys: Spencer Greenberg, Jeremy Newton, Jonathan Sturges, and Alexander Fleiss.Who the heck are these guys?
Greenberg went to Columbia (’05) and Fleiss went to Amherst with Sturges and Newton.
They started Rebellion Research right after college.
Soon after they launched, a 29-year old hedge fund guy anonymously snarked at a profile written about the four young guys and their electronic investment strategy:
“Find me someone who buys the concept that merely going to a great school makes you a great investor.”
At the time, their algo hadn’t been put to use for a hedge fund yet. Now the four run $7 million Rebellion Research with their prize algo named, “Star.”
Here are some quick facts:
- Started Rebellion when Greenberg, Fleiss and Sturges were 23. Newton was 21.
- Alexander’s mother is Karen Fleiss, manager of KMF Partners
- Sean’s dad is Glenn Greenberg, manager of Brave Warrior Advisors
- “Star” works by recommending a list of stocks every morning. Sometimes there are no stocks on the list. Then a human trader implements the moves (the firm never overrules Star).
- Here’s where some of the $7 million AUM comes from, according to Bloomberg: At 19, Alexander wrote a trading program that alerted him to apparently undervalued shares of a bankrupt leasing company. Using inheritance money, he bought up so much of the $0.37 stock that he had to file an ownership statement with the SEC. The shares soared to $3.70, and Fleiss plowed his winnings into Rebellion.
- “We are serious, experienced mathematicians” – Alexander Fleiss
- “It’s pretty clear that humans aren’t improving. But computers and algorithms are only getting faster and more robust.” – Spencer Greenberg
And their returns aren’t bad either, according to the Wall Street Journal:
- +17% in 2007
- -26% in 2008
- +41% in 2009
What now, anonymous hedge fund guy that dissed them back in 2006?