D SanabriaSome children dream of being doctors, lawyers or firefighters. Daniel Sanabria dreamed of being a stockbroker.

Daniel, who earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the Collat School of Business, is a native of Spain. He recently completed his UAB MBA, and is one of the start-up CEOs in the UAB iLab at Innovation Depot.

His turning point came during an internship with a private equity company a year before he graduated. There he learned about alternative investments and developed a passion for risk management, a career “much more suited to me,” Daniel says.

Daniel says he fell in love with American culture while attending UAB, and though his initial plan included returning to Spain after receiving his bachelor’s, “here I am, 14 years later,” he says with a laugh.

As an MBA student, Daniel began using the startup mentoring and coaching services in the UAB iLab, a creative space where student entrepreneurs can get help incubating their ideas. There he was able to develop and nurture his business, Sigma93 Capital Investment.

Daniel developed the idea for Sigma93 in January 2015 after he created a strategy for managing investments for UAB’s Green and Gold Fund, a student-managed investment portfolio. In 2013, he served as portfolio manager for alternative investments and worked with a team of four fellow students to place second in an international student portfolio contest – out of an incredible 503 teams!

Sigma93 is an amalgamation of Sigma, the Greek letter for volatility, and the 93 pain-staking minutes of a Madrid soccer match where Madrid won in a shoot-out, a parable Daniel sees as a sign of perseverance.

Sigma93 handles alternative investments, investments that aren’t stocks and bonds. Its mission is threefold: to produce an annual 8% return (higher than the historical average), to generate low volatility (an investment that has lower out-of-pocket costs than its return on investment) and to delineate from traditional investment markets.

So far Sigma93 has outperformed benchmark standards for its market with this focus.

Over time, Daniel has whittled down his business strategy – the same strategy he used to place second in the international investment competition – to its most essential parts. From there, he has tried to maximize its potential.

As investors and the market change, Daniel constantly reworks and revamps his strategy. At his core, Daniel considers himself a risk manager, and as risks change and grow, he must be able to effectively lead his investors down the right path to stable, confident investments. He continues to secure additional investment assets, and plans to expand the business once he reaches $5 million in investments. His goal is to meet that threshold in the next five years.

He says the UAB iLab has been crucial to successfully launching his company. He has been able to meet with potential investors in the lab, which offered investors more peace of mind than when “trying to meet investors at my house,” he says.

The iLab also provided an opportunity for Daniel to learn crucial business tips under the guidance and mentorship of Keith Allen, UAB iLab mentor and former Coca-Cola executive. As time passed, mentorship transformed into friendship, and Allen provided Sigma93 one of its earliest investments. Allen also eased some of Daniel’s worries of establishing his start-up.

“I learned that it’ll take double the time and double the capital, and that’s okay,” Daniel says. “The mentors have really helped me not to be discouraged.”