Prior to founding Downing Capital Group, Jesse was an investor at The Baupost Group, a $30 billion investment partnership, from 2015 to 2021 where he made investments in media, healthcare, packaging, software, agriculture, aircraft, grocery, consumer products, business services, entertainment, and leisure. He also served on the firm’s Risk Committee and co-led recruitment for the public team. From 2012 to 2015, Jesse worked at HighVista Strategies, a $4 billion fund in Boston where he invested in energy, transportation, private credit, and media. Jesse graduated with high honors from Harvard University where he studied Economics and Mathematics. Jesse Downing is the co-author, with Norton Reamer, of Investment: A History published by Columbia University Press. The book traces the history of investing from early human civilization to the present and has been featured in Institutional Investor, The New York Times, and The Economist.
Prior to joining Downing Capital Group, Fernando was the CEO and co-founder of Kekanto-DD, a marketplace and SaaS company backed by Accel and acquired by Locaweb (LWSA3). Previously, he was the COO of ClickOn, a US$700MM GMV group buying company acquired by Mosaico Internet Holdings. Fernando is also an active early-stage investor, having backed Brilia, acquired by Cartesian Capital Group, among others. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Fernando was a management consultant at McKinsey and an investment banker at JPMorgan. Fernando graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied finance, and Stanford Graduate School of Business where he received his MBA.
Prior to joining Downing Capital Group, Sam was a hospitality-focused real estate investor at MCR, a leading hotel investment and development group in New York City. He previously worked as an investor at Kensico Capital, a $6 billion equity long-short hedge fund, where he invested in businesses across a wide range of industries including software, consumer products, media, food and beverage, technology, and retail. Sam graduated from Princeton University where he studied Economics and the MIT Sloan School of Management where he received his MBA.
Philip is an MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School, Class of 2023, where he is a Mark Venrick Fellow and a Columbia Venture Fellow. Prior to matriculating at Columbia, Philip was the first investment professional at the fintech and SaaS venture studio LabCo from 2017 to 2021. He helped the firm build several successful digital services companies in the FinTech and HR space. Philip started his career at UBS in the New York City office as an investment banking analyst where he covered industrial companies—particularly in the transportation, aviation, and building materials sectors—and executed on both M&A and capital raise transactions. Philip graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in Finance. He is using his time at Columbia Business School to study technology, data, and analytics trends and their implications for early-stage startups.
Before joining Downing Capital Group, Madi worked at Cie, a venture studio, where she led the Talent Acquisition team. Madi is passionate about creating a best-in-class selection process that allows candidates to find their perfect homes. Madi comes to Downing Capital with industry experience in SaaS, FinTech, EdTech, e-commerce, InsurTech, and e-Learning.
Prior to joining the venture studio world, Madi was the Talent Acquisition Manager at SmartFinancial. She doubled the size of the startup to 250 employees. Madi began her career in Talent Acquisition at Northwestern Mutual. She joined the organization as a Recruiting Coordinator and climbed the ranks to become their Director of Recruitment. While at NM, she was named the National Recruiter of the Year and led the Recruiting Team of the Year.
Madi graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in Communication Studies.
Prior to Downing Capital Group, Mariana was one of the first employees at Pagaleve, Brazil’s first Buy Now Pay Later startup. She was responsible for creating the customer communications workflow as well as coordinating the development of their website and other first marketing channels. Mariana was also in charge of the outbound sales area where she successfully closed the company’s first four B2B deals. Mariana is a last year student at Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São Paulo, Brazil, and has also taken part in a 6-month exchange program at EmLyon Business School, in France.
Prior to joining Downing Capital Group, Virginia was at Wellington Management Company, a privately held global investment management firm, where she supported the director and leaders of the Financial Reserves Management team in the Boston office. She previously worked at Harvard University supporting two faculty members and their respective labs and at the Borough of East Newark, a municipality in New Jersey, supporting the CFO. Virginia graduated from Boston University where she studied Psychology and Criminal Justice.