How a 23-year-old hedge fund wunderkind blew a $350 million opportunity

Hello everyone! Welcome to this weekly roundup of Business Insider stories from co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.

Read on for more on how a hedge fund wunderkind blew a $350 million opportunity, why 2021 is going to be a great year, and accusations of racism, exploitation, and discrimination at celebrity church Hillsong.


The two big stories of the past few days have been US approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and the IPO boom.

As Kevin Shalvey reported this morning, a convoy of trucks loaded with Pfizer's vaccine is leaving the drugmaker's Michigan manufacturing center today, carrying doses of the newly approved drug. 

Meanwhile, Affirm and Roblox, which had both been expected to go public this year, have now delayed their IPO after a wild week that saw both DoorDash and Airbnb post huge first day pops. You can catch up on that below:

  • DoorDash CEO Tony Xu shares his thoughts on business, becoming a billionaire, and the secret to a successful IPO right after shares popped 78%
  • Airbnb cofounder Nate Blecharczyk on how the company survived its darkest pandemic days, why it went public now, and how he surprises Airbnb guests
  • Silver Lake made a bold bet on a struggling Airbnb at the peak of the pandemic. Now that wager on the future of travel is paying off in a big way.
  • Why the IPO market is exploding in a frenzy that rivals even the 1999 euphoria

Lastly, a couple of weeks ago our reporters asked if Silicon Valley was finally over. Now they're wondering: Is Florida the new Wall Street? What do you think? Let me know at [email protected]

How a hedge fund wunderkind blew a $350 million opportunity

From Alex Morrell and Bradley Saacks:

Last spring, Coatue Management, a $25 billion hedge-fund giant, did something unusual: It made an appearance.

In the 20 years since its founding, the secretive, tech-focused investment manager has had a stellar track record under the billionaire Philippe Laffont. But the "tiger cub" usually demurred when it came to discussing business publicly.

In May 2019, though, two Coatue execs spoke for nearly 45 minutes to a crowd of data-science wonks at Domino Data Lab's Rev conference.

What compelled Coatue to pull back the curtain?

The firm had announced in an investor letter a few months earlier that it was raising several hundred million dollars to launch its first quant fund, an outgrowth of a data-science group that had been expanding under Izydorczyk. The firm boldly predicted that its team of 30 scientists and engineers would eventually reach 100.

But Coatue's quant fund wouldn't last another 15 months.

Read the full story here:

  • Inside the rapid rise and fall of Coatue's quant fund: How a 23-year-old Wharton wunderkind seized power, alienated employees, and blew a $350 million opportunity

Also read:

  • Inside a sweetheart deal for SPAC pioneers Chinh Chu and Bill Foley: How the ultra wealthy dealmakers made millions in what some experts are calling a 'kickback' from Blackstone.

Why 2021 is going to be a great year

Josh Barro recently rejoined Insider as a columnist. He wrote this week:

2020 may not be technically the worst year ever, but it has sucked pretty hard. Still, I am in a good mood, because I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It's time to give ourselves permission to feel optimism about 2021, which is poised to be a great year, with a rapid end to the acute phase of the coronavirus epidemic in the US, a return to normal for most activities in our society, a strong economic recovery, and a normal person as president.

The next couple of months will be very challenging, but good times are close at hand thereafter. Our nightmare is almost over.

Read the full story here:

  • Here's why 2021 is going to be a great year

Also read:

  • To build more housing and bring down soaring rents, New York should copy New Jersey
  • The US and China are breaking up. The only question now is how ugly it will get.

Celebrity church Hillsong faces new accusations

From Melkorka Licea:

One night in June 2019, Noemi Uribe was drinking wine alone in her Boston apartment when she was struck by the overwhelming feeling of wanting to die.

Desperate to stop the pain, she made her way to the kitchen looking for ways to end her life. The plan, she told Insider later, was to overdose. 

Uribe believes her mental suffering began seven months earlier when she came out as bisexual to her Hillsong Church pastor Erika Nedwell. She had been found to have clinical depression and anxiety in the past, but she believes her experience at Hillsong worsened her conditions.

Uribe was told by Nedwell that "everyone is welcome" at the Christian megachurch — which counts the singer Justin Bieber and the NBA star Kevin Durant as congregants — regardless of their sexuality. But, according to Uribe, Nedwell also warned her not to act on her sexual proclivities.

Read the full story here:

  • Celebrity church Hillsong faces new accusations of racism, exploitation, and discrimination after NYC pastor Carl Lentz was fired for infidelity

ICYMI: Big bets from Wall Street's best-performing fund managers

Insider spoke to the nine top-performing US mutual fund managers of the year, based on their performance through November 6. 

They shared insights into investing strategies and stock picks that prevailed through the crisis and their top trade ideas for 2021. Read the full story here:

  • We spoke with Wall Street's 9 best-performing fund managers of 2020 to learn how they crushed the chaotic market — and compile the biggest bets they're making for 2021

Also read:

  • We spoke to the top 5 European fund managers of 2020 to uncover their tips and tools for delivering stellar returns — and their star stock-picks for 2021
  • Goldman Sachs says buy these 19 beaten-down stocks on its 'holiday shopping list' that are poised to break out in the 1st quarter of 2021

INVITE: Inside for the holidays

This year's holiday season might look a little different, but there are still plenty of opportunities to get into the holiday spirit.

Our lifestyle, food, health, and entertainment editors will share holiday mindfulness hacks, spotlight the top can't-miss holiday films on Netflix, and walk through a few simple yet festive holiday recipes on Wednesday, December 16 at 4 p.m. ET.

Register here.

Here are some headlines from the past week that you might have missed.

— Matt

Anonymous calls to police this summer warned of ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's behavior — including threats to hurt himself — and he was transported to a hospital in June

Here's the 13-page pitch deck that Contractbook, which wants to take on legal tech giants like DocuSign, just used to raise $9.4 million from investors like Bessemer Ventures

Advertising giant Dentsu just announced huge job cuts. Insiders are speculating about how they'll play out and the growing influence of data agency Merkle.

Google held a meeting to calm rising employee tensions over the ousting of AI ethicist Timnit Gebru. Insiders say it only raised more concerns.

Target employees claim the chain will wait to arrest shoplifters until thieves steal enough to get felony charges. Experts say it's part of a larger trend to mitigate theft across retail.

Moderna's ambitions of pumping out up to 1 billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine rest on a former Polaroid factory that's never produced an approved drug

Hollywood insiders are speculating that Disney's Bob Iger, Alan Horn, and others are headed for the exit

Meet DoorDash's forgotten fourth cofounder, who's not even named in the food-delivery company's filing to go public

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