COURTESY DAVE GREEK
COURTESY DAVE GREEK

When Dave Greek (MSB ’13) was approached by friendSina Chehrazi (MSB ’13) about starting a hedge fund, his initial reaction was excitement. As both an international business major and finance major in the McDonough School of Business, Greek finally got the chance to go beyond class case studies and learn through experience. Since the idea’s inception at the end of their freshman year, the company has grown to almost 25 employees, including two at the School of Foreign Service’s campus in Qatar.

 

How do you describe Zeeba Group?

Zeeba Group is a student-run hedge fund that invests abroad, specifically in Qatar. We invest in publicly-traded securities. We invest … money from people that are involved with the funds, such as myself, as well as every employee. … Also, we have friends, family and contacts that have been generous enough to trust us with their money, and hopefully they’ll get some returns out of it.

 

What motivated you to start your business?

Well it wasn’t just me, first of all. My partner Sina Chehrazi actually came up with the idea. Initially it wasn’t Qatar that we were going to invest in, but after doing a lot of research, we settled on Qatar [for] a multitude of reasons, mostly because we thought it could produce the best returns for us. He approached me one day at the end of freshman year, and he says, “You know, I’ve got this idea. I want to start a student-run fund, and I want to invest abroad.” That just got me really excited because as an MSB student … I can put what I’ve learned into practice. … Of course, it’s a bit dangerous when you’re playing with other people’s money, but we have plenty of checks in place.

 

What were your expectations at the outset and have those really changed?

I guess there were a couple of major phases to the way I saw it. When I first heard the idea I was really excited and then I thought, “Wow, I could be making millions of dollars in the next two years.” … And then we went through this whole six-to-nine month process of just trying to get approval from various government agencies. We had to establish ourselves as an LLC, limited liability company, independent of Georgetown, [and] go through the Secretary of State to get approval for trading in Qatar .… I wasn’t aware of all this red tape that we had to cut through to do this. There [were] times when me and Sina would just sit down and be like, “Is it really worth it? There are so many barriers to this. Why are we throwing away half of our lives trying to get this thing done?”

 

Was it worth it?

It was absolutely worth it. … I think my favorite part about it now is just the people that we work with. We have a fantastic staff, and we get along like family. When somebody decides to go abroad or leave because they got a real job, it’s like losing a brother or a sister … I think Zeeba’s different from other campus groups or other small businesses you find on campus because we don’t go out and recruit 50 people at a time. We just made our biggest hire this past month. We hired eight people, which was huge for us. When you only interact with 22 to 25 other people every week, you get [really] close.

 

Do you plan to continue this after graduation?

I think it’s going to be handed down. It wasn’t ever really started to be particularly profitable. To investors it will be profitable, but as founders we don’t take a salary at all. All the profits we make are reinvested or given to this charity that we’re setting up. It wouldn’t really be tenable for me to take it past graduation, but I like the idea of leaving some sort of legacy here at Georgetown, and I feel like Zeeba could be a good way to do that.

 

— Interviewed by Rianna Folds

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