OUR STORY

Clay is a founding Partner of Crystal Waters Capital.

 

Clay Baker is an investor, co-founder of Crystal Waters Capital, and stock market blogger.  Clay’s stock market blog gave his readers a portfolio that uses his strategy to uncover undervalued companies with great growth potential.  The blog portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 every year since 2016.

Prior to co-founding Crystal Waters Capital, Clay worked in architecture and for several technology companies that included consumer software, CAD software, internet browsers and consumer products.  Clay graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Communications in 1987.

Mikael.jpg
Mikael Rudolfsen MBACFA LEVEL III (CANDIDATE)

mikael@crystalwaterscapital.com

Mikael is a founding Partner of Crystal Waters Capital.  


Prior to founding Crystal Waters Capital in 2017, Mikael spent almost 20 years as an entrepreneur and technology executive in Silicon Valley, including product management, product strategy, and business operations.   Early in his career, he co-founded and sold a semiconductor company, serving as the CFO.

Mikael has held a variety of roles in Product Management, Product Marketing, and Strategy, as well as Business Operations, at companies such as Talus Solutions, TeaLeaf Technology/IBM, Yahoo, and Responsys/Oracle.  Most recently, he was head of North American Product Marketing and Strategy at Yahoo, and is currently serving as Director of Product Management at Adobe.


Mikael is a CFA Level III candidate and lifelong investor with a passion for investment research and growth.  He graduated Cum Laude from Temple University with a degree in English Literature and Economics and has an MBA (Magna CUm Laude) from Temple University with a concentration in Finance.

How We Got Here

Clay worked for several years doing product marketing for consumer software companies and at Netscape in the very early days of the internet.  While he spent most of his professional career pursuing his passion for design, creating custom furniture and designing homes in Silicon Valley, his attention to the markets and investing has always split his time.  Clay grew up in the investment business as his father managed offices for mega brokerage firm Shearson for nearly 50 years.  Clay spent his after-school hours and many weekends helping his dad in the office and badgering the best brokers for information and advice.

 

After business school, Mikael was on his way to becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with a career in investment management, but with the lure of the early Internet in the 1990s, he moved to Silicon Valley for a startup and has since worked in a variety of technology companies. 

 

Investing has been ever-present for both Clay and Mikael, and in parallel to their professional jobs, they both enjoyed several decades of highly successful investing of personal and family assets.  In 2016, Clay started a financial blog to chronicle his personal philosophy, making public a portfolio that all his readers could emulate. The portfolio is not affiliated with the Crystal Waters Partners fund but uses the same investment principles that find long-term growth companies and reduces risk through low market correlation.  The blog portfolio has gathered a large following and has outperformed the market every year since 2016, with a 46% return in 2017 alone while still having a lower risk-adjusted return than any of the larger benchmark indexes.

 

A mutual friend introduced Clay and Mikael because of their shared passion for investing.   It was clear to both they had similar investment principles that had independently proven very successful.  More importantly, however, they had a symbiotic skill set that together would make for a great investing partnership.  

 

As they talked to successful professionals, doctors, lawyers, engineers, executives in technology and elsewhere, a few things quickly became apparent:

 

  1. These are really smart people who make a good living, but their hard-earned money is often not adequately invested or are invested without appropriate diversification and liquidity.  Often these professionals are carrying far too much risk for the expected return, but aren’t aware of their risk. ​

  2. Busy professionals rarely have the time, passion, or temperament to structure a portfolio of investments that can best preserve and grow their wealth while also balancing the risk.    

  3. Wealth managers and financial advisers can add a great perspective and recommend a myriad of options.  However, many people are looking for simplification and would like a stable core holding or fund that they know will provide good growth with an attractive risk profile. 

 

From these discussions, we realized we had something very valuable and important to offer.  After evaluating various options, it was clear the most effective way for us to add value to people would be to design a core investment portfolio that most high-value professionals need as part of their larger investments and make it as accessible as possible in collaboration with the best and most specialized law, accounting, and fund management firms.

 

We initially established Crystal Waters Capital with our own capital and immediately began the process of building a portfolio to build a track record.  The approach was (and is) simple:

  • Dig deep and spend the required time to find fundamentally sound companies with good growth prospects; 

  • Expect lots of things to go wrong or take longer than expected; 

  • Only purchase companies at reasonable valuations to have a high margin of safety.  

  • Don’t compromise your principles and don’t chase investments;  

  • If you don’t find anything that matches your criteria, wait until something does. 


Crystal Waters Partners is the formal name of the fund, although we’ve colloquially dubbed it the “Hedge Fund for the 99%” as we work to make it as accessible as possible.  The Crystal Waters name is rooted in making investing transparent and providing long-term liquidity to investors.