From managing Harvard’s Alpha Fund to starting a $1 billion hedge fund — The journey of Divya Nettimi

Oct 6, 2022

By: Vaamanaa Sethi

First woman to launch a $1 billion hedge fund

Divya Nettimi is not just another successful person of Indian origin who has made a mark in the US. She is the first woman to have launched a hedge fund with over $1 billion in commitments. She made history by making it the largest launch by a woman-led firm, which is named Avala Global.

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Managed Harvard’s Alpha Fund

Investing is not new for the Harvard-educated Nettimi, who had managed the institute’s Alpha Fund before she stepped into the world of high finance.

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Named in the Forbes list

Nettimi was also ranked in the Forbes list of ‘30 Under 30’ in finance in 2016, while she was investment analyst at Viking Global Investors. She earned her place in the list for – “influencing billions of dollars of stock investments at $30 billion hedge fund, focussing on the e-commerce and retail sectors.”

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The 36-year-old Nettimi worked for seven years from 2014 to 2021 at Viking Global Investors, where she was a portfolio manager. Earlier, she was an associate at Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, where she worked from 2008 to 2012.

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Nettimi managed more than $4 billion at Viking before leaving last year, as per reports.

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Educational background

She did her bachelors in biomechanical engineering from Stanford University and later on pursued an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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What will her firm do?

The firm will now bet on and against stocks in the consumer, business services and technology, media and telecom sectors and will also back private companies.

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Hedge fund launch during market downturn

She has started her firm against many odds as equity markets have seen steep falls and volatility this year, making it very difficult for raising funds.

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Breaking the glass ceiling in the world of high finance

Market performance is not the only obstacle that Nettimi and other women face in the world of high finance. Even as there are thousands of hedge funds, only 80 are led by women, according to the Kresge Foundation.

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Another big-ticket woman-led hedge fund debut

Mala Gaonkar of SurgoCap Partners is also expected to launch her firm next year with $1 billion in commitments.

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