Timothy Sykes (born April 16, 1981) is an American stock trader, entrepreneur, and penny stock expert.[2][3] He is best known for turning his bar mitzvah money into over $4 million by day trading in-between classes at Tulane University.[4][5]


In 1999, while still in high school, Sykes took $12,415 he had received in bar mitzvah gift money and began day trading penny stocks.[6] He would turn this initial investment into over $1.65 million before the age of 21.[7]

Sykes graduated from Tulane University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a minor in business.[8] While at Tulane, Sykes routinely skipped class to day trade.[9] In 2003, during his senior year, he founded Cilantro Fund Management LLC, a short bias hedge fund,[10][11] using $1 million mostly from Sykes' own friends and family.

In 2006, Sykes was included on Trader Monthly's "30 Under 30" list of up-and-coming traders in the market,[12] a selection which editor Randall Lane later called "our worst pick" among the chosen honorees. Sykes claimed that the Cilantro Fund was "the number one long-short microstock hedge fund in the country, according to Barclays"; Lane later discovered that the rating came from "the Barclay Group," a small research company based in Fairfield, Iowa, and not the well-known Barclay's British bank.[13]

In 2008 Sykes decided to recreate his initial investing success by again starting with $12,415.[14][15] He named the attempt Transparent Investment Management (TIM).[4][16] After two years, Sykes turned the initial sum into $90,368 and was the #1 ranked trader on Covestor.[17][18]

Sykes self-published An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million as a Stock Operator & Created a Hedge Fund in 2007.[19] The book chronicled Sykes' rise from a day-trading college student to a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager.[20]

In 2012, Sykes created "Miss Penny Stock," a financial beauty pageant among the female representatives for his brand and company.[21][22]

Teaching and other projects

Sykes currently works as a financial activist and educator, with more than 2,000 students spread over 60 countries.[23][24]

In 2009, Sykes launched Investimonials.com, a website devoted to collecting user reviews of financial services, videos, and books, as well as financial brokers.[25]

Sykes co-founded Profit.ly in 2011, a social service with more than 20,000 users that provides stock trade information online.[26] Sykes said the service serves two purposes: "creating public track records for gurus, newsletter writers and students and allowing everyone to learn from both the wins and losses of other traders to benefit the entire industry.”[27]

In December 2013, CNN Money featured Sykes and his student Tim Grittani on the website's homepage.[2] Under Sykes's guidance and coaching, Grittani turned $1,500 into over $1 million in 3 years.[28] Grittani was Sykes's second student to earn over $1 million following Sykes's strategies.[2][28]

Sykes founded the Timothy Sykes Foundation, which has raised over $600,000 and has partnered with Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club.[29]


Sykes is not a registered investment adviser, and has declined to provide the necessary brokerage statements and related documents to validate many of his claims.[30]

Sykes has publicly criticized various businesses and celebrities, including Shaquille O'Neal[31] and Justin Bieber,[32][33] for promoting "pump and dump" schemes,[32][34][35][36] in which an investor purchases stock, hypes others into buying that stock to inflate its price, then sells the shares at a higher price and shorts the profit from the resulting decline.


Sykes was featured in the TV program Wall Street Warriors, which aired on MOJO.[37] He writes for AOL Finance and TheStreet.com.[38][39]

He has appeared as a guest on CNBC, CNN, Neil Cavuto (Fox), ABC's 20/20, CBS Sunday Morning, Oprah and Friends Radio, and others.[40][41][42][43][44]


In January 2015, Sykes became engaged to model Bianca Alexa.[45]