Mohnish Pabrai currently manages Pabrai Investment Funds, which he founded in 1999. The fund has around half a billion dollars in assets under management. Pabrai went to the US in 1982 to do his undergrad in computer engineering. After that, he worked with Tellabs in Chicago. In 1990, he started his own company TransTech, an IT services/system integration business and ran that for around ten years, before starting Pabrai Investment Funds. He has written a book on investing, The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns. Excerpts from an interview:
How did you get into investing business from information technology?
Around 1994 I heard about Warren Buffett for the first time accidentally. The first couple of biographies about him had just been published a year or two before that. I read those books and I was quite blown away by some data points that were coming out about him and the industry and so on. I didn’t have any experience or even education in the investment business. But I was very intrigued by it.
I started to invest in the public equity markets using Buffett’s model in 1994 and basically did extremely well, north of 70% a year, till about 1999. I was getting more and more interested in investment research and securities analysis and made a decision to leave my company. I brought in an outside CEO and decided that I would spend more time on investing and at the same time some friends of mine wanted me to manage their money for them. It started as a hobby in 1999 with about a million dollars from eight people. About a year later the business (TransTech) actually got sold, I wasn’t running it anyway, but I was completely cashed out. And then I thought that let’s make my hobby a real business, try to scale it up and get investors. We now manage about $500 million — ten years later.
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