Kori Estrada, 35, Axon Capital
Kori Estrada is one of the few female chief investment officers at a hedge fund and has seen firsthand how much the industry has changed over the past decade.
“I think that there’s been so many, at least since when I started in this industry, changes on the diversity side which is really great to see,” Estrada, co-CIO of $500 million Axon Capital, told Insider.
“But there hasn’t really been a lot of changes in terms of women PMs actually running hedge funds, which is a little bit disappointing,” she added, using the acronym for portfolio managers.
As an undergraduate at Columbia University, Estrada was set on playing lacrosse professionally, but soon after her first practice, she realized that she wasn’t planning on pursuing the sport post-college. She decided to explore Wall Street instead.
Estrada misses the competitive aspect of playing lacrosse, which is why she’s an investor.
“It’s one of the few jobs that you can have where every single day, Monday through Friday, you get to see on the scoreboard, how you’re doing,” she said. “And there’s something really satisfying about that.”
She joined UBS in 2017 as an investment-banking analyst and saw the impact of the financial crisis on a major financial institution. She learned what it meant to be risk-averse, which informs how she invests today. After a stint at Shumway Capital, she joined Axon in 2011.
She was promoted to CIO in early 2019, a title she shares with the Axon founder and former Goldman partner Dinakar Singh.
Over the past few months, Estrada and Singh have been more cautious about the markets and predict that economic growth is going to slow along with S&P 500 company earnings. They’re excited about private-company investments and special-purpose acquisition companies. Axon recently rolled out its first and plans to roll out two more.
In Estrada’s spare time, she runs a sustainable toothpaste company called RiseWell, which was launched in 2019 and is largely self-funded. The company has one other investor, Singh.
“He was an early believer in the business and he also gave me the flexibility to both comanage the portfolio at Axon and work on this idea,” she said.