Pooja Malik’s Nipun Capital is one of the most talked-about new firms among hedge fund investors. Focused on investing in Asian equities, an increasingly hot sector, Nipun returned 12.67 percent in 2013, its first full year of operation, and 12.91 percent in 2014. The Foster City, California–based firm manages significantly more than $250 million in assets — the magic number for many institutions — and is attracting interest from many top investors. Malik, 39, who has an MBA in finance from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and a bachelor’s in finance from the Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies at the University of Delhi, founded Nipun, which means “skilled” in Sanskrit, in October 2011. Prior to that she worked at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco. She joined BGI in 2001 as a principal in the corporate strategies group, then moved into research on the Asia equities team. When she left the firm in 2010, Malik was a managing director and co-head of portfolio management for all North America strategies.