Marto Capital founder, CEO and CIO Katina Stefanova was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age. Growing up in Bulgaria under Communist Party rule, she watched her father lose his job as vice president of a government-owned metallurgy company after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and then go on to recreate it, hiring many of the same people who had worked for him. Stefanova, 40, who attended a top English language high school in her native country, received a full scholarship to Utah’s Brigham Young University, where she graduated in 1998 with a BA in international relations. Although she was offered scholarships to several law schools, including those of Georgetown University and New York University, she chose to join accounting firm Arthur Andersen in its mergers and acquisitions group in Seattle, where she did work for companies looking to buy dot-com businesses.
In 1999, Stefanova moved to Seattle-based AdRelevance, one of the first firms to measure Internet advertising, and led its international expansion. In 2001 she relocated to London to work in IBM Corp.’s M&A group for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She returned to the U.S. in 2003 to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School in Boston; it was there that she got interested in asset management. After hearing a presentation at HBS by Greg Jensen, then research director of Bridgewater Associates, Stefanova decided she wanted to work for the Westport, Connecticut–based hedge fund firm founded by Raymond Dalio because of its depth of understanding of the investment world and how markets work. Jensen (now co-CIO) hired Stefanova as a senior investment associate in 2005. She went on to spend more than nine years at Bridgewater, serving in a variety of areas — including account management, client service, fund accounting, information technology and operations — and worked directly with Dalio as a management committee adviser.
Stefanova left Bridgewater in 2014 to start thinking about the evolution of the asset management industry and the opportunities for disruption. This May she launched New York–based Marto, named for her father’s former company, to address investors’ unmet needs by offering systematic, cost-effective investment solutions that can deliver superior returns in a world facing serious economic challenges.
Read Stefanova’s recent feature, “Asset Managers, Prepare to Have Your Business Disrupted.” Visit the 2016 Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Ivy League Schools Pave the Way for more on the Rising Stars.
Hedge Fund Rising Stars of 2016
Charles Dufresne Jr.