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Bank intern founded a hedge fund after boss laughed in her face

A "really old" photo of Christina Qi (Right) and other Domeyard quants in the fund's original office

Getting a job at a hedge fund is hard enough, making your own is even harder, especially when you're fresh out of university.

Christina Qi did just that when she founded Domeyard in 2012, off the back of multiple internships on Wall Street, none of which turned into full time offers.

While she was studying at MIT, Qi told think-tank-cum-hedge-fund Rebellion Research, she had finance internships "three summers in a row:" a technology operations position at Zions, a bank based in her home state of Utah; asset management for Goldman Sachs; sales and trading at UBS in Tokyo.

At the one internship, Qi said she devised a quantitative trading strategy that she presented to her boss. Her boss read the paper focused on algorithmic statistical arbitrage. "He laughed in my face and said this was the dumbest thing I've ever seen," said Qi. She was then told she wouldn't get an offer and was not wanted. 

A friend urged her not to waste the work she'd put into the paper. She'd saved $1000 from the UBS internship and used that to begin trading.

"At first it didn't work," Qi said, "but then after tweaking it for a couple of months, lo and behold I was making $40k profit." This was even though she "didn't have any setup whatsoever" and was relying on "an account on interactive brokers." Eight years later, Qi says the fund traded $7bn in a single day.

Qi left in 2022 to act as CEO of her second venture, a low latency data platform called Databento. In the past decade, she's made enough money to prioritize "being able to make an impact."

"It's difficult to separate your psychology and self-worth from your PnL," in hedge fund jobs, says Qi.  In her new venture, she notes being able to provide affordable data to students at what is sometimes a loss keeps her "totally happy."

Qi's other passion is anime. She cosplayed as Naruto when taking her SATS and sold a Pontiac Aztek adorned with anime stickers to help get her into MIT in the first place.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor
  • ph
    7 July 2023

    She overcame the arrogance of so many bank bosses!

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