Billionaire duo Ackman, Thiel back new fund to move companies away from 'stakeholder capitalism'

Strive Asset Management is being headed by Vivek Ramaswamy, author of "Woke, Inc."

Published: May 11, 2022 12:19pm

Updated: May 11, 2022 1:14pm

Billionaires Bill Ackman and Peter Thiel are among a group of investors backing a new fund aimed at moving away from the pressures of politically motivated "stakeholder capitalism."

Vivek Ramaswamy, the author of "Woke, Inc.," who spent years as a pharmaceutical investor in Silicon Valley, is at the front of the new fund Strive Asset Management. 

The firm has thus far raised over $20 million from investors with the goal of prioritizing "excellence over politics" in its management strategy. 

Ramaswamy says he believes Americans "want iconic American brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney and Exxon, and U.S. tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Google to deliver high-quality products that improve our lives, not controversial political ideologies that divide us."

The fund is being established at a time when corporations are facing significant social and political pressure to weigh in on controversial issues across the political spectrum. Recently, Disney was pressured by its employees to publicly take a stance against Florida's new bill that bans the teaching of gender-identity and sexuality in the classrooms of children. 

Ramaswamy says his firm will ultimately seek to compete with the big three asset management funds – BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street – companies Ramaswamy says "have fueled this polarizing new trend in corporate America."

In his annual letter to CEOs, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink defended "stakeholder capitalism," arguing for its necessary to ensure future financial success. 

"It is capitalism, driven by mutually beneficial relationships between you and the employees, customers, suppliers and communities your company relies on to prosper," he wrote. "This is the power of capitalism."

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