WisdomTree Investments, Inc. was incorporated by its Chief Executive Officer and founder, Jonathan Steinberg, in Delaware as Financial Data Systems, Inc., on September 19, 1985, but was inactive until October 1988 when it acquired the assets relating to what would become Individual Investor magazine, a monthly personal finance magazine.
In December 1991, it completed an initial public offering and commenced trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market (NASDAQ). In 1993, the company's name was changed to Individual Investor Group, Inc. and throughout the 1990s it was a financial media company that published several magazines, including Individual Investor and Ticker, newsletters, as well as maintaining several online financial related websites. In addition, the company also began developing stock indexes.
Due to the economic downturn in the financial media industry in 2000 and 2001, the company sold its media properties in order to preserve its capital while it pursued a new business plan focusing on developing and licensing its stock indexes. The company's common stock was delisted from NASDAQ and began quotation on the over-the-counter market.
In 2002, the company's name was changed to Index Development Partners, Inc., and Jonathan Steinberg, along with Rayne Steinberg and Luciano Siracusano, continued development of the concepts for the company's fundamentally weighted index methodology. While this concept was being developed, the company sought to obtain financing to recapitalize and become an ETF sponsor.
Between 2004 and 2005, the company obtained financing from a core group of investors including former hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, Professor Jeremy Siegel of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and James D Robinson IV with venture capital firm of RRE Ventures. Michael Steinhardt became Chairman and Professor Jeremy Siegel became the senior investment strategy advisor for the company.