Q&A with Jacob Gottlieb, CEO of Altium Capital

Jacob Gottlieb

About Jacob Gottlieb

Jacob Gottlieb is a New Yorker born and bred. He received a BA in Economics from Brown University and an MD from NYU Medical School. After Jacob completed his college years, he decided that he wanted to work on Wall Street instead of becoming a surgeon. He co-founded Visium Asset Management and served as CIO for his tenure there before the actions of rogue employees led to an SEC-ordered closure. Gottlieb, cleared of any involvement, was placed in charge of the hedge fund’s wind down.

Jacob Gottlieb’s newest venture is Altium Capital, a healthcare investment firm he founded in order to help advance therapies for various diseases and conditions, including cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. He is involved in a number of philanthropic efforts nationwide.

It’s great to hear that your new firm, Altium Capital is up and running. How do you stay positive during what seems like dark times?

It took a lot of mental toughness. Running an investment firm requires much patience but the last 2 years were on another level altogether. I thank my family and friends for getting me through the difficult period.

Will you tell us about your new fund? Will it specialize in any vertical or have a specific strategy associated with it?

Altium is an investment firm focusing in on growth companies. We will spend a lot of time in healthcare – healthcare continues to be a growth sector. Other growth companies with attractive business models will be interesting to us as well.

I read that you moved Altium Capital into an office with your former boss, Stuart Weisbrod. Can you expand upon how this came to be?

Stu and I have known each other for about 20 years. Speaking over the last year or so, it became clear that he would have room in his office space while we wanted a place to start the new effort. Timing worked well and we are happily sharing space.

Besides cohabitating office space, will you and Stuart be working on anything together?

We will see how things evolve. I think its clear that we all benefit from having smart people doing quality research and the possibility of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Also, companies like to come in since there is a lot of expertise in healthcare under one roof.

What about investing was more appealing to you than your medical degree?

The challenge of investing is never ending. The exposure to new ideas, new technologies and finding the best companies to invest with is a journey that will always be interesting. Looking into the future and imagining the world or an industry as it may be is very fulfilling intellectually. Working backward from the future to invest in companies in the present is the most interesting think I can think of.

What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own fund?

Expect the road to be difficult. There are many issues outside of investing that require time and attention- and you have to pay attention to all of them and ensure they are being handled correctly. Once that is satisfied,  there is the small challenge of finding great investments….

You’re a born and bred New Yorker. I think a lot of people love that about you. Do you have a great sense of pride around your ‘OG’ New Yorker status?

I like it, sure. I would say ‘great sense of pride’ is an overstatement- I have pride in the work that I and colleagues have done, efforts to overcome difficult situations and things of that nature. No one chooses where they are born, or to whom-so as Warren Buffett would probably say it doesn’t really make sense to have ‘pride’ in the birth lottery. I think people should have pride in what they are able to do from where they start.

What can onlookers expect to see from you by the end of 2018?

We plan to identify a small number of promising growth companies and invest with them. We will also increase our team, we are looking for great analysts as we speak.

When scoping for young talent, what do you look for in an analyst?

Curiousity, organization and attention to detail. I believe that we can teach and train many skills. Knowledge comes with time. A curious mind will want to undertand more- and you cant teach the desire to understand quite like all the other traits.

Is this next venture, Altium, going to be open to outside investors or is this a personal project for you?

It will be open to investors. I always loved bringing investors along for good returns. We are a hedge fund structured to take in outside capital.

How do you stay focused and at your peak? Do you consider yourself at a peak right now, or are you ramping back up again?

Ramping up. I have come to learn a lot in the last decade or so and plan on using those learnings to improve what we are doing.

If you could give a younger Jacob Gottlieb advice, at what age would you impart that advice, and what would it be?

That is a complicated question overall with a number of good answers.  I would tell myself to get surrounded by high quality people, personally and professionally. Good people elevate you and help you become better. Good people are rooting for you. You can rely on good people.

Who do you look up to? This can be someone personally or professionally.

My parents. They both started out life in difficult circumstances and elevated themselves, first separately and then together, to a new country and carved out a wonderful life for their family overcoming adversity. They are extremely community minded and take care for others. They elevate everyone around them, personally and professionally.

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