D.E. Shaw & Co. LP
D.E. Shaw & Co. LP is one of the most secretive hedge funds in the world. It’s also one of the biggest. It’s best known as a quant shop, having been founded by computer scientist David Elliot Shaw. In 2008, it launched a fund to invest in distressed asset-backed securities, such as subprime mortgages. When a number of quantitative funds were quashed in the financial crisis, the company was among those that did well.
The company is full of math and physics whizzes. Shaw is a Stanford Ph.D. and taught at Columbia University. He also has lobbied for Washington to support more scientific and medical research. But Shaw focuses more now on solving scientific riddles, according to Forbes magazine. It reports that a supercomputer he designed allows scientists to run detailed simulations exploring the motions of proteins. Firm alumni include President Obama’s Economic Council director, Lawrence Summers, also a former Clinton Treasury Secretary and Harvard University president. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is another notable alum.