Meet Keith Gill, the newly minted millionaire and financial folk hero who sparked the GameStop trading frenzy that caused big losses for established hedge funds this week.
He’s a 34-year-old Massachusetts dad who wears corny cat T-shirts and a collection of headbands while running his “Roaring Kitty” YouTube channel from the basement of his rented residence.
Known as “DeepF---kingValue” on the Reddit forum WallStreetBets, Gill worked in marketing for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. before sending shock waves through the financial firmament.
“I didn’t expect this,” Gill, 34, told the Wall Street Journal in his first interview since his GameStop evangelizing made him incredibly rich in the span of a few days.
“I thought this trade would be successful,” he said, “but I never expected what happened over the past week.”
Gill shared a screenshot of his brokerage account Wednesday showing a roughly $20 million daily gain on his GameStop stock and options after the company’s shares his intraday high of $380, The Journal reported.
Another screenshot shared Thursday showed a $15 million loss.
After Thursday’s market close, Gill’s E*Trade account held around $33 million, including GameStop stock, options and millions in cash, The Journal reported.
Gill has championed GameStop for months and posted a celebratory YouTube video Jan. 22 when its stock closed at $65 per share after hovering around $19 at the start of January.
Wearing his signature headband, matching wristband and aviator sunglasses, he sipped from a flute of Prosecco and thanks his fellow traders for their insights and “ongoing support.”
“Thank you, to all of you, for so much,” he said. “It’s really important you understand how I feel and how my family feels.”
Beyond Gill’s promotion of GameStop, the retail traders who flocked to the stock this week also were drawn by the bearish bets hedge fund managers made.
Those positions, known as shorts, presented an opportunity — if enough small time buyers managed to push GameStop’s price above a certain point, the hedge fund managers would be forced to exit their positions at a loss.
The squeeze scheme worked, turning Gill into an everyman icon.
“(Gill) will go down as the greatest legend in the history of WallStreetBets,” Jon Hagedorn, a 34-year-old training supervisor based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., told WSJ.
“He’s the original OG,” Hagerdorn said.
“This story is so much bigger than me,” Gill told The Journal. “I support these retail investors, their ability to make a statement.”
He started investing in GameStop around June 2019, when it was trading around $5 a share. He considered it undervalued, liked its fundamentals and believed it was poised to “pivot” and regain momentum.
“He always liked money,” his mom Elaine Gill told WSJ.
She said when her son was young, “he would get money from those scratch tickets that people didn’t know they’d won. People would throw them on the ground…A lot of times there was still money on them.”
Still a resident of Gill’s hometown of Brockton, Mass., the mom said she was worried her son might get in trouble for being at the center of the week’s market mania.
“The first thing that I had asked him when this craziness started was: is this illegal or anything dishonest? He said, ‘No mom, it’s not,’” she said.
“I’m not out for anybody,” Gill told the Wall Street Journal. “Roaring Kitty was an educational channel where I was showcasing my investment philosophy.”
Looking ahead, Gill, the father of a 2-year-old daughter, said he was still mulling his future options thanks to his newfound wealth.
He hopes to continue “Roaring Kitty” and maybe buy a house.
“I always wanted to build an indoor track facility or a field house in Brockton,” he said of his hometown. “And now, it looks like I actually could do that.”