In early 2008 Krim and Zovinar venture out and start Orange Capital Partners. Krim is trading derivatives at Merrill Lynch and Zovinar is a portoflio manager at a long/short equity hedge fund.
The first few months are tough. Equities are starting to unravel and the financial crisis soon to come is already making its mark. Fundamental analysis doesn't work anymore. Stocks are trading all over the place and volatiliy is increasing. After a negative first quarter Orange decides to change course.
Aniticipating a shake up in US and international stocks we short banks, oil, commodities and emerging market currencies. By the end of 2008 the fund is up 28% net of fees.
In late 2008 we go on a business trip to Chile. We see copper mines and other amazing operations in the Atacama desert. One take away from Chile is that demand for copper is actually pretty good despite the financial crisis.
We decide to reverse our short positions and go long commodity stocks, oil and Chilean equities. The fund ends up 14% in 2009.
Spain has always been on our radar. By mid 2010 the time to invest in Spain finally comes. The stock market collapses after the outbreak of the European souvereign debt crisis. Spanish banks sell off like most other European equities. We see this as a buying opportunity since Spanish banks derieve most of their profits from abroad. The fund ends up 32% in 2010.
The spring of 2011 is harsh on financial markets. In hindsight we know that this was when investors realized that the Feds around the world will jeopardize free market principles to save levered governments and banks. In short, 2011 is the year when the whole world turns into Japan. Record low interest rates and money printing become normal things. As a consequence our portfolio suffers and the fund is down 10% for the year.
When realizing that the Fed is directly influencing the inner workings of financial markets, we decide to change our strategy. Macro investing and special situations don't work in an environment where the Fed takes a central planning role. We focus on technology and innovation. Those are things the Fed can not directly influence. We start the groundwork to identify promising situations. The fund ends the year flat.
We decide to research the field of electric cars and Lithium. After a meeting with Seifi Ghasemi, then CEO of Rockwood, we realized the bright future for Lithium-Ion batteries and electric cars. We started building positions in Tesla and Rockwood. The opportunity with Tesla is beyond electric cars. We see particular upside in software and artificial intelligence. The fund ends the year up 28%.
This is the year we finally make the move from New York to San Francisco. We decide to allocate more time and resources to the analysis of new technologies and their impact on the markets. Our particular focus is on the emergence of AI. This area really kicked in high gear around 2013 and we felt the need to move West to better participate. We make money with Apple and Tesla. Our losses came from investments in startups such as Westport Innovations and Silver Spring Networks. We close both positions. The fund ends the year down 1.8%
Our focus is on artificial intelligence and its applications to real business problems. We invest in Twitter, thinking that this is a good business to apply AI to. Unfortunately, Twitter management doesn’t see it that way in 2015. They miss out on applying AI to fix trolling, improve search and generate more valuable experiences. We attribute the lack of focus on AI to the downfall of Twitter. Similarly, we invest in Gopro, thinking that AI is the key to unlock user generated content and turn the company into a powerful provider of unique video footage. As with Twitter, Gopro management misses out on the AI opportunity. Both businesses turn into commodities with no meaningful profitability and little growth prospects. We close our positions with large losses. We make money with currencies, particularly shorting the Brazilian Real. We also make money buying Microsoft. The company takes leadership in cloud computing. We end 2015 down 17% and 2016 down 16%.
Our focus on AI finally pays off. We reposition our portfolio with Tesla, Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm to take full advantage of the race to build the most powerful self driving car. These investments perform very well. We also make money with Microsoft and Apple. We end the year up 50%.
We continue to make money with our investments in intelligent electric vehicles. In particular Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm do well in the first quarter. Our investment in robotics through Fanuc also continues to perform. Then President Trump disrupts the planned Qualcomm-Broadcom merger in late spring and changes the course of politics in Washington. Arbitrary decision making and the US-China trade dispute take center stage and contribute to a slowdown in China. By year end economic deterioration in China is felt globally and sparks a selloff in financial markets. The government shutdown in Washington further increases uncertainty. The fund ends the year down 18%.