Timothy Sykes (born April 16, 1981) is an American stock trader, entrepreneur, and penny stock expert. He is best known for turning his bar mitzvah money into over $4 million by day trading in-between classes at Tulane University.
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. He would turn this initial investment into over $1.65 million before the age of 21.
Sykes graduated from Tulane University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a minor in business. While at Tulane, Sykes routinely skipped class to day trade. In 2003, during his senior year, he founded Cilantro Fund Management LLC, a short bias hedge fund, 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, 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.
In 2008 Sykes decided to recreate his initial investing success by again starting with $12,415. He named the attempt Transparent Investment Management (TIM). After two years, Sykes turned the initial sum into $90,368 and was the #1 ranked trader on Covestor.
Sykes self-published An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million as a Stock Operator & Created a Hedge Fund in 2007. The book chronicled Sykes' rise from a day-trading college student to a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager.
Teaching and other projects
In 2009, Sykes launched Investimonials.com, a website devoted to collecting user reviews of financial services, videos, and books, as well as financial brokers.
Sykes co-founded Profit.ly in 2011, a social service with more than 20,000 users that provides stock trade information online. 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.”
In December 2013, CNN Money featured Sykes and his student Tim Grittani on the website's homepage. Under Sykes's guidance and coaching, Grittani turned $1,500 into over $1 million in 3 years. Grittani was Sykes's second student to earn over $1 million following Sykes's strategies.
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.
Sykes has publicly criticized various businesses and celebrities, including Shaquille O'Neal and Justin Bieber, for promoting "pump and dump" schemes, 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.
In January 2015, Sykes became engaged to model Bianca Alexa.