Marquette University Class Notes Profiles
By Nicole Sweeney Etter
Steve Czech, Bus Ad ’86, launched his first hedge fund in 2003 with a laptop, Rolodex and 15 years of contacts in the investment banking industry.
Four and a half years later, he’d built his fund’s value to nearly $400 million.
Czech says, “My expertise consists of identifying situations that are very difficult, very challenging, that no one wants to invest in becausethey are so difficult and challenging — but they’re extremely lucrative.”
He started his career in commercial and investment banking. After earning his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, he became intrigued by hedge funds.
“Hedge funds became a meaningful component of the financial landscape, and they provided me with the kind of investment flexibility I was interested in pursuing,” he says.
Czech works 80 to 100 hours a week as chief investment officer and senior portfolio manager of Gottex-SJC Capital LLC, his second hedge fund. He closed down his first fund when his 11-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain tumor in January 2008 so he could accompany him through the grueling treatments. Mikey Czech died nine months later.
Now Czech applies his entrepreneurial energy toward finding a cure for rare pediatric brain cancers. He and his wife, Jennifer, created the Mikey Czech Foundation with a goal of raising $6 million to create a world-leading neuro-oncology research laboratory in New York City. Because Mikey’s tumor type affects only 150 kids a year and can’t be biopsied, research for a cure is virtually non-existent.
Czech is committed to changing that. After all, he made a promise to his son. “The next time I see him, whenever that is, I want to be able to look him in the eye and tell him we eradicated this hideous disease,” he says.