Billion-Dollar Startups Show New Hedge Funds Are Thriving

Hedge fund launches this year are on pace to match last year’s numbers, even as returns have been more subdued than 2020’s big gains.

And the 2022 startups could be even bigger, possibly led by former Viking Global Investors manager Divya Nettimi, given that Viking has spawned some of the most notable debuts of the past few years, according to people familiar with her plans.

Most of the startups will focus on equities, specializing in areas such as biotech or technology and hoping to capitalize on 2020’s outperformance by such specialized hedge funds, which beat the broader market. So far this year, these so-called sector funds have woefully lagged behind the S&P 500, returning about a fifth of the benchmark’s gains, according to research firm PivotalPath.

The number of new firms in 2021 is on track to match last year’s total of about 60, according to Morgan Stanley. Even with the pandemic, about 20% more firms launched last year than in 2019. A few raised $1 billion or more.

So far this year, at least four new firms are on track to meet or surpass the $1 billion money-raising mark.

Two former Citadel money managers Niall O’Keeffe and Tio Charbaghi started London-based FIFTHDELTA on Thursday with $1.25 billion.

Rami Abdel-Misih, who worked at Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management for almost a decade, opened Mane Global earlier this year with about $1 billion from Moore for his stock fund and raised an additional $200 million from other clients, people familiar with the firm said. Abdel-Misih, 42, is concentrating on consumer, technology, media and telecommunications stocks.

David Kroin’s Deep Track Capital started in April with about $800 million, with $500 million more expected by year-end, according to people familiar with his firm.