Two American billionaires are backing a fledgling investment firm that will urge companies not to speak out on social issues.
Strive Asset Management is based in Columbus, Ohio and is led by Vivek Ramaswamy, former CEO of Roivant Sciences, a biotechnology company. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the launch of the company, which was subsequently announced via press release.
Ramaswamy, who will serve as CEO, has raised $20 million to start the company, which he says will go against BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street’s “stakeholder capitalism” and the Notion , “to mix business with politics”. ‘.
Sources of the company’s seed capital include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman (pictured). The other co-founder of Strive AM is Anson Frericks, previously an executive at multinational beverage company Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, Missouri.
Strive plans to launch its first product in Q3 2022.
“We want iconic American brands like Disney, Coca-Cola and Exxon and US tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Google to deliver quality products that improve our lives, not controversial political ideologies that divide us,” Ramaswamy said a statement.
“The Big Three money managers have fueled this polarizing new trend in American companies, and as such we will compete directly with them to realign American companies towards the common pursuit of excellence through politics,” he added.
Ramaswamy founds the company at a time when stakeholder capitalism is gaining popularity. The three companies mentioned in his statement – Disney, Coca-Cola and Exxon – have all taken political positions recently.
Disney opposed Florida’s enactment of a “Don’t Say Gay” law, Coca-Cola opposed voting restrictions enacted by the GOP in Georgia, and an activist hedge fund, Engine No. 1, led a successful campaign to replace two Exxon board members Mobil’s board of directors on the oil company’s climate change plans.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink insisted in January that his brand of stakeholder capitalism had not “woken up” after the company faced criticism from conservatives for its support of ESG, as it did when it was BlackRock’s No. 1 engine supported in the Exxon case.
“It’s capitalism, fueled by mutually beneficial relationships between you and your employees, customers, suppliers and community, that your business depends on to thrive,” Fink said. “We don’t focus on sustainability because we’re environmentalists, but because we’re capitalists and trustees of our customers.”