Billionaires back ‘anti-woke’ asset manager

A clip from CityWire

By Will Schmitt, May 10, 2022.

Strive Asset Management’s founding opens up a new front in the US culture wars.

Two American billionaires are backing a fledgling investment firm that will push companies to avoid taking stands on social issues.

The firm, Strive Asset Management, is based in Columbus, Ohio, and will be led by Vivek Ramaswamy, the former CEO of Roivant Sciences, a biotech firm. The Wall Street Journal first reported the company’s founding, which was subsequently announced via press release.

Ramaswamy, who will serve as executive chairman, has raised $20m to start the firm, which he said will go against the ‘stakeholder capitalism’ of BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street and the notion of ‘mixing business with politics.’ 

The sources of the firm’s seed capital include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman (pictured), among others. The firm’s other co-fonder is Anson Frericks, previously an executive at Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, Missouri.

Strive plans to launch its first product in the third quarter of 2022. 

‘We want iconic American brands like Disney, Coca-Cola and Exxon, and US tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Google to deliver high-quality products that improve our lives, not controversial political ideologies that divide us,’ Ramaswamy said in a statement.

‘The Big Three asset managers have fueled this polarizing new trend in corporate America, and that’s why we’re going to compete with them head-on to refocus American companies on the shared pursuit of excellence over politics,’ he added.

Ramaswamy is launching the company at a time when stakeholder capitalism has grown in popularity. The three companies mentioned in his statement – Disney, Coca-Cola, and Exxon – have all taken what have been seen as political stances recently.

Read the full article from CityWire here.