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Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Jesse Watson

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Jesse Watson
Virgo Investment Group

Launching a hedge fund firm hasn’t been easy in recent years, but that didn’t stop Jesse Watson and Virgo Investment Group. Palo Alto, California–based Virgo, which specializes in event-driven credit and specialty lending, recently topped $500 million in assets. CIO Watson, 36, co-founded Virgo in 2009 with $300 million in capital and backing from a large family office. He started his career in private equity before becoming an early employee of Greenwich, Connecticut–based corporate credit specialist hedge fund firm Silver Point Capital. In 2006 he left to join New York–based R6 Capital Management, which was launched by Goldman Sachs Group alumnus Ralph Rosenberg. Watson, who has a BA degree in economics and international studies from Johns Hopkins University, focused on building a credit and distressed-investing business at R6. In 2008, New York multistrategy hedge fund firm Eton Park Capital Management acquired R6. Watson left a year later to co-found Virgo with Barry Uphoff, a former Silver Point colleague.