How Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETFs Focus on the Future

Meet Cathie Wood and her thematic ETFs investing in disruptive innovation.

Research Lead
Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
Edited by: Lisa Barr

Cathie Wood does not need an introduction to most investors and advisors knowledgeable about the exchange-traded fund universe. However, for those who do not know her, or for those who want to know more about her background and her ARK Innovation ETFs, we have the information you’re seeking. 

Who Is Cathie Wood? 

Cathie Wood is an American investor and the founder, CEO and chief investment officer of ARK Invest, an asset manager known for specializing in thematic ETFs investing in disruptive innovation. Wood was born in Los Angeles in 1955. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in finance and economics.  

In 2014, Cathie Wood registered ARK Investment Management LLC as an investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She led the development of ARK’s philosophy and investment approach and, as a portfolio manager and CIO, has ultimate responsibility for investment decisions. Prior to founding ARK, Wood spent 12 years at AllianceBernstein as CIO of Global Thematic Strategies, where she managed over $5 billion. 

ARK Invest's funds focus on disruptive innovation, as Wood explains: "In a world driven by innovation, we believe investors need to be on the right side of change." The firm's funds invest in a variety of disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence, gene editing and blockchain. 

Wood is also a controversial figure in the investment world. Some people admire her for her bold investment style and her willingness to take risks. Others criticize her for her high fees and some of her predictions that have not come true.

Despite the controversy, Wood remains a respected figure in the investment world. She is a frequent guest on financial news shows, and is often quoted in the media. Wood is also a popular speaker at investment conferences. 

Cathie Wood’s Largest Holdings 

Cathie Wood’s largest holdings include stocks that are identified as disruptive innovation, and companies she believes have the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work.  

Here are some of Cathie Wood's top investments at ARK: 

  • Tesla (TSLA): Tesla is a leading electric vehicle manufacturer. Wood is a big believer in Tesla's long-term potential. 
  • Roku (ROKU): Roku is a streaming media company. Wood believes Roku is well-positioned to benefit from the growth of streaming services. 
  • Coinbase Global (COIN): Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange. Wood believes in the potential of cryptocurrency. 
  • Zoom Video Communications (ZM): Zoom is a video conferencing company. Wood believes Zoom is well-positioned to benefit from the ongoing shift to remote work.  

What Is ARK Invest’s Strategy With Its ETFs? 

ARK Invest is an investment management firm known for its unique and innovative approach to investing in disruptive technologies and forward-looking trends. The firm offers a series of actively managed ETFs that focus on investing in companies it believes are at the forefront of technological innovation and have the potential to disrupt traditional industries.

Here are some common themes within ARK Invest’s investment strategy with ETFs: 

  • Focus on innovation and disruption: ARK Invest's ETFs focus on investing in companies that are driving technological innovation and disruption across various industries. The firm aims to identify companies that have the potential to create transformative change and generate significant growth. 
  • Long-term horizon: ARK Invest takes a long-term investment approach, looking beyond short-term market fluctuations. The firm believes many of its chosen technologies and trends will have a substantial impact over the coming years and decades. 
  • Thematic investing: ARK's ETFs are organized around specific themes or innovation sectors. Each ETF targets a particular area of innovation, such as genomics, robotics, artificial intelligence, fintech and more. This thematic approach allows investors to target specific trends they believe will drive future growth. 
  • Active management: Unlike traditional index-tracking ETFs, ARK's ETFs are actively managed. This means ARK's investment team actively selects and manages the ETF's portfolio of stocks based on their research and analysis. 
  • Research-driven approach: ARK Invest places a strong emphasis on research and analysis. The firm's analysts and researchers study industries, technologies and market trends to identify companies with high growth potential. 
  • High conviction: ARK Invest's ETFs typically hold a concentrated portfolio of companies the firm believes have the greatest potential for growth and impact within their respective themes. 

What Is the Success Rate of Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest? 

Cathie Wood's ARK Invest has had a mixed success rate. The firm's flagship fund, the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), gained nearly 700% in price from its inception in 2014 to its most recent peak in 2021. However, the fund has also been volatile, and it fell nearly 74% from its 2021 peak to August 28, 2023. It is too early to say whether Wood's investment style will be successful in the long run. 

Investors should keep in mind that ARK Invest's funds invest in disruptive technologies, which are often volatile and unpredictable. The performance of these technologies has a significant impact on the performance of the funds. The overall market environment also affects the performance of ARK Invest's funds. When the market is rising, the funds tend to do well, but when the market is falling, the funds tend to do poorly. 

What Are Cathie Wood’s Predictions on Spot Bitcoin ETFs? 

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, has been a vocal advocate for the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs. She believes these ETFs would provide a more efficient and liquid way for investors to access the bitcoin market. In an interview with Bloomberg TV in August 2023, Wood said she believes the SEC will approve multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs simultaneously.  

Wood also said she expects the approval of these ETFs to lead to a surge in demand for bitcoin, which could push the price of the cryptocurrency significantly higher. Wood's predictions are based on her belief that bitcoin is becoming more mainstream, as more and more institutional investors are starting to invest in the cryptocurrency. 

However, there are also some who are skeptical of Wood's predictions. Some experts believe the SEC may not approve spot bitcoin ETFs, or that it may only approve a limited number of ETFs. Others believe the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs would not have a significant impact on the price of bitcoin. 

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to approve spot bitcoin ETFs is up to the SEC. However, Wood's predictions suggest she is confident the SEC will approve these ETFs, and that she believes they will have a positive impact on the price of bitcoin. 

ARK Innovation ETFs List 

Here is a list of ARK ETFs available to investors. 

  • ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK): This ETF invests in disruptive innovation across a variety of industries, including artificial intelligence, robotics, genomics and blockchain. 
  • ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG): This ETF invests in companies that are developing new technologies in the field of genomics, such as gene editing and gene sequencing. 
  • ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW): This ETF invests in companies that are developing new technologies for the internet, such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and mobile technology. 
  • ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (ARKQ): This ETF invests in companies that can benefit from new technologies in the field of autonomous vehicles and robotics. 
  • ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF): This ETF invests in companies that are developing new technologies in the field of financial technology, such as blockchain and transaction innovations. 
  • ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (ARKX): This ETF is the first actively managed fund that invests in companies that are developing new technologies for space exploration or benefiting from aerospace activities. 
  • 3D Printing ETF (PRNT): This ETF is the first fund that focuses specifically on companies that are developing new technologies in the field of 3D printing. 
  • ARK Israel Innovative Technology ETF (IZRL): This ETF invests in companies that are developing new technologies in Israel, such as genomics, healthcare, biotechnology and IT. 

Is Cathie Wood Reputable? 

Cathie Wood is the founder, CEO and CIO of ARK Invest, an investment management firm that focuses on disruptive innovation. She has 40 years of experience and a track record of outperforming the broader market. However, Wood's investment style is also risky. She invests in companies that are developing new technologies, which are often volatile and unpredictable. This means her funds can experience significant losses, as well as gains. 

Ultimately, whether or not Cathie Wood is reputable is a matter of opinion. There is no doubt she is a well-respected expert on disruptive innovation. Wood is a frequent guest on financial news shows, and is often quoted in the media. 

Bottom Line on Cathie Wood and ARK Innovation ETFs 

While Cathie Wood has gained a reputation for her innovative investment strategies and performance with her ARK Innovation ETFs, it's important to note that ARK's investment philosophy and strategies may evolve over time. If you're considering investing in ARK's ETFs or any other investment products, it's recommended to review the most recent materials, performance data and research to gain a current understanding of their strategies and investment outlook. 

Kent Thune is Research Lead for, focusing on educational content, thought leadership, content management and search engine optimization. Before joining, he wrote for numerous investment websites, including Seeking Alpha and Kiplinger. 


Kent holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and is a practicing Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) with 25 years of experience managing investments, guiding clients through some of the worst economic and market environments in U.S. history. He has also served as an adjunct professor, teaching classes for The College of Charleston and Trident Technical College on the topics of retirement planning, business finance, and entrepreneurship. 


Kent founded a registered investment advisory firm in 2006 and is based in Hilton Head Island, SC, where he lives with his wife and two sons. Outside of work, Kent enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, and working on his philosophy book, which he plans to publish in the coming year.