Mitchell Hennessey, like most 15-year-old boys in south jersey, just wanted to
play high school football.
Because a heart disease ended his football career before it ever really got started, Hennessey turned his attention from the football field to the stock market.
Now a just turned 23-year-old Hennessey, aka Hugh Henne, is a stock market wizard. The Burlington County native, now living in Hoboken, is worth an estimated $10 million and growing. He is the founder of the private wealth firm Hennessey Capital and co-host of P:GIR (Pennies: Going in Raw), the world’s No. 1 stock market podcast. Over the past four trading years, Hugh Henne’s stocks have annualized over 1,000 percent returns.
This amazing story has happened all because a disease known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) wouldn’t allow him to play football. So, instead, he became a first-round draft pick of another kind, with the same millions as a reward.
“That competitive edge, that competitive nature that we all use in sports, I was able to bring over to the market,’’ Hennessey said. “One thing I learned was that no one is born a good trader. It takes work. But you don’t have to be 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds to be good at it either.’’
Mitchell and his twin sister Holly come from a classic hard-working New Jersey background. Anyone who grew up between the late ‘60s through the early ‘80s in the Mercer County area, specifically Hamilton Township, probably knows or went to school with a Kapp. There were 12 of them and Mitchell’s mother, Liz, was No. 9 in the Kapp family. Sports, especially football, are also in the Kapp genes. All of his uncles played football and Joe Kapp, who quarterbacked the Minnesota Vikings in the ‘70s, is a distant relative.
“When I found out I couldn’t play football anymore I was in a dark place,’’ Mitchell said. “Football was my first love.’’
The stock market wasn’t just a rebound for the teenager it became his passion, his mission. He studied it, worked at it and became one of the best at it.
“I was always of the mindset that I wanted to make money,’’ Hennessey said. “I didn’t know a whole lot about business, or especially the market, except from the basic courses I took in school. But I was bored at home without sports. I needed to do something.’’
An encounter with his Uncle Paul’s (the oldest of the Kapp family) daughter’s then-fiancée, now husband, at a Christmas Eve get-together got the ball rolling. And it hasn’t stopped.
“He told me about a couple of books to read, and I fell in love,’’ Hennessey said. “I told myself I’m just going to do it and I opened a custodial brokerage account.’’
At the age of 16, he used the money he made working at a local restaurant, the CYO Day Camp in nearby Yardville, N.J. during the summer, shoveling snow in the winter and other odd jobs and went online and found TD Ameritrade.
“My first trade, I just followed someone online I saw,’’ Hennessey said. “And that first trade tripled within 30 minutes. I got lucky.’’
And he got hooked.
“I remember yelling, ‘Mom, I’m going to be a billionaire.’ That was my mindset,’’ he said. “But from that point forward I didn’t have a green trade (profitable) over the next two years. So, I got super lucky, and then I really got smacked in the face. I didn’t realize how lucky I was with that first trade.’’
Undeterred, and with that competitive nature percolating, he didn’t stop. He kept studying different companies, kept working every angle, while now attending school at Burlington County College.
“It was a lot of stubborn pride,’’ he said. “The best and worst thing that happened to me was that first trade. The best being that I know the kind of money you can make doing this. And even though I was losing money, I was still enjoying myself. That might sound crazy but…’’
It began to turn around for him and his strategy began to work.
“If I could get inside these trades before the news hit CNBC or MSNBC, I’d be on top of the news,’’ Hennessey said. “That was my strategy. I knew I had catalyst news coming. I had to take out as many variables and as much risk as I could. That’s what it comes down to, is taking out risk.’’
As his stocks started to hit his account grew, $100,000, $200,000. Then he set a goal. He gave himself a year to turn $50,000 into $1 million. He did it in four months.
“I was at about $200,000. But I was only going into plays I felt really good about,’’ he said. “Everyone kept telling me if I’m only putting $20,000, or so, into it and I’m only playing six, or seven, plays a year I’m not going to make any real headway. I got away from my strategy. So, I decided, let me take $50,000 of the $200,000 and go heavy on my strategy and see where it goes.’’
Hennessey found three stocks he liked that fit his strategy—Waitr Holdings (WTRH), Ageagle Aerial Systems (UAVS), and ibio Inc (IBIO). Then he went in on RumbleOn (RMBL).
“I was down around 15 percent on the trade overall, but I knew my strategy and I knew what I was waiting for. And then in one day I made 150 percent on the account.’’
Another day he made 350 percent.
Hennessey used social media to build his brand and it’s also how his alias emerged. His Twitter account, with over 200,000 followers, allowed him to get out his message and also led to other endeavors like his podcast.
“When I started, I was MH Investment and I had a photo of me in my Northern Burlington High football jacket,’’ Hennessey said. “I would give opinions on stocks, the market, it was my trading journal, my thoughts of the day. But nobody took me seriously. I was this teenage kid and I looked like I was 12.
“I was sitting with my grandfather one day and he was joking about how someone called him Hugh Hefner again, because he did resemble Hugh Hefner, and it just came to me: Hugh Henne. I put up the photo of Hugh Hefner, changed my name, and now people started to listen.’’
One of those people was a guy in Alabama who sent Hugh Henne a bunch of direct messages.
“This guy told me he faked his graduation at Auburn so his parents would think he graduated when he didn’t. And that his claim to fame was he air-balled a shot at an Auburn’s woman’s basketball game. I had to answer him.’’
That guy turned out to be Dan Knight, who is Mitchell’s co-host of the twice-a-week P:GIR podcast that began in July 2020 and that Apple ranks No. 1 in the world.
Another was a professor at the University of Nevada-Reno, who asked Hugh Henne to come and speak to his MBA class.
“It’s been cool,’’ Hennessey said of the podcast. “With so many people coming into the market over the past year, or so, it’s a place I can share my thoughts and experiences. It brings me back to when I first started doing it. The community gave me so much when I started, I wanted to give back.’’
Hennessey has begun to give back, not just in his teachings and speaking engagements, but monetarily. In 2021 he donated $10,000 to the CYO Camp where he worked as a teenager and $20,000 to fund the Hugh Henne Investment Competition at the University of Nevada-Reno’s Business School.
What’s next for the just 23-year-old whose competitive nature still burns?
“Right now, I love doing what I’m doing,’’ Hennessey said. “My end goal is to be a financial influencer on CNBC one day and to own my own wealth management firm.
“The expression I use is that we’re building the plane while flying it. When I first started trading, my original goal was to go into real estate, so it’s ever evolving. I knew I always wanted to do well in life and be successful, but I didn’t know what ‘successful’ meant to me. At first, I thought it was just a money thing when I was 15, or 16, and the money is important, but there’s that feeling. I’ll get DMs where a person tells me he and his son had nothing in common until one day on an eight-hour drive they found they both were in the market, and they talked about trading. And there are so many stories like that. That’s the best feeling.’’