Imagine you are the founders of an early a social-networking website at an Ivy league school. You want top expand the footprint, so you hire a local code geek, who promptly steals your intellectual property and uses it to launch Facebook.
That was the circumstances facing Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss at Harvard. In our conversation this week on Masters in Business, they explain how they turned that setback into a series of positive moves forward. The Winklevii duo were not depicted as the good guys in the film Social Network. But they made the best of it, and were the only main characters from the film who actually went to its premiere. They sued Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their ideas and for fraud; in 2008, they settled for 1.2 million Facebook shares, worth about $300 million in the company’s 2012 initial public offering.
They rolled the cash into Winklevoss Capital in 2012, to invest across multiple asset classes with an emphasis on seed funding and early-stage startups. They were early investors in Bitcoin, their one percent stake in the crypto-currency at its peak in 2017 was worth over a billion dollars.
It is not exactly a rags to riches story; They tell of being born into an entrepreneurial and competitive family. The two competed in the men’s pair rowing event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; their father, Dr. Howard Winklevoss, is a successful entrepreneur, author and former adjunct professor of insurance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Their favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation will be available here.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Bloomberg, Overcast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, and Bloomberg.
Next week, we speak with William J. Bernstein, neurologist and co-founder of the investment management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors. Bernstein has written several titles on finance and economic history, including A Splendid Exchange. He was the 2017 winner of the James R. Vertin Award from CFA Institute.