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Vivek Ramaswamy Biography – Rebel, Visionary, Catalyst

Real Name: Vivek Ganapathy Ramaswamy
Occupation: Businessman, author, political candidate
Political party: Republican
Children: 2
Age: 38

Vivek Ganapathy Ramaswamy (/vɪˈveɪk rɑːməˈswɑːmiː/; vih-VAYK rah-mə-SWAH-mee; born August 9, 1985) is an American entrepreneur and politician. He founded Roivant Sciences, a pharmaceutical company, in 2014. In February 2023, Ramaswamy declared his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination in the 2024 United States presidential election. He suspended his campaign in January 2024, following his fourth place performance in Iowa.

Ramaswamy was born in Cincinnati to Indian immigrant parents. He graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in biology and later earned a law degree from Yale Law School. Ramaswamy worked as an investment partner at a hedge fund before founding Roivant Sciences. He also co-founded an investment firm, Strive Asset Management.

Ramaswamy claims the United States is in the middle of a national identity crisis precipitated by what he calls “new secular religions like COVID-ism, climate-ism, and gender ideology”. He is also a critic of environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives (ESG). In August 2023, Forbes estimated Ramaswamy’s net worth at more than $950 million; his wealth comes from biotech and financial businesses.

 Vivek Ramaswamy Biography
Born August 9, 1985 (age 38)
Occupation Businessman, author, political candidate
Education  Harvard University (BA)
Yale University (JD)

 Co-founder of Strive Asset Management

Spouse Apoorva Tewari ​(m. 2015)

Early life and education

Vivek Ganapathy Ramaswamy was born on August 9, 1985, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Indian Hindu immigrant parents. His parents are Tamil-speaking Brahmins from Kerala. His father, V. Ganapathy Ramaswamy, a graduate of the National Institute of Technology Calicut, worked as an engineer and patent attorney for General Electric, while his mother, Geetha Ramaswamy, a graduate of the Mysore Medical College & Research Institute, worked as a geriatric psychiatrist. His parents immigrated from Palakkad district in Kerala, where the family had an ancestral home in a traditional agraharam in the town of Vadakkencherry.

Ramaswamy was raised in Ohio. Growing up, Ramaswamy often attended the local Hindu temple in Dayton with his family. His conservative Christian piano teacher, who gave him private lessons from elementary through high school, also influenced his social views. He spent many summer vacations traveling to India with his parents. In high school, Ramaswamy was a nationally ranked tennis player.


Ramaswamy attended public schools through eighth grade. He then attended Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, a Catholic school affiliated with the Jesuit order, graduating as valedictorian in 2003.

In 2007, Ramaswamy graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in biology, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. At Harvard, he gained a reputation as a brash and confident libertarian. He was a member of the Harvard Political Union, becoming its president. He told The Harvard Crimson that he considered himself a contrarian who loved to debate. While in college, he performed Eminem covers and libertarian-themed rap music under the stage name and alter ego “Da Vek”, and was an intern for the hedge fund Amaranth Advisors and the investment bank Goldman Sachs. He wrote his senior thesis on the ethical questions raised by creating human-animal chimeras and earned a Bowdoin Prize.

In 2011, Ramaswamy was awarded a post-graduate fellowship by the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, which he used to attend Yale Law School. Later, Ramaswamy said that by the time he attended Yale, he was already wealthy from his activities in the finance, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries; he said in 2023 that he had a net worth of around $15 million before graduating from law school. At Yale he befriended future U.S. Senator J. D. Vance. He earned a Juris Doctor in 2013. In a 2023 interview, Ramaswamy said that he was a member of the campus Jewish intellectual discussion society Shabtai while a law student.


Early career

In 2007, Ramaswamy and Travis May co-founded Campus Venture Network, which published a private social networking website for university students who aspired to launch a business. The company was sold to the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2009.

Ramaswamy worked at the hedge fund QVT Financial from 2007 to 2014. He was a partner and co-managed the firm’s biotech portfolio. QVT’s biotech investments under Ramaswamy included stakes in Palatin Technologies, Concert Pharmaceuticals, Pharmasset, and Martin Shkreli’s Retrophin. In a 2023 speech and in his book Woke Inc., Ramaswamy called Shkreli, whose company had greatly increased the cost of a life-saving drug, both “brilliant” and a pathological liar. He criticized the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecuting Shkreli, calling his fraud a victimless crime.

Roivant Sciences and subsidiaries

Ramaswamy in 2017

In 2014, Ramaswamy founded the biotechnology firm Roivant Sciences; the “Roi” in the company’s name refers to return on investment. The company was incorporated in Bermuda, a tax haven, and received almost $100 million in start-up capital from QVT and other investors, including RA Capital Management, Visium Asset Management, and the hedge fund managers D. E. Shaw & Co. and Falcon Edge Capital. Roivant’s strategy was to purchase patents from larger pharmaceutical companies for drugs that had not yet been successfully developed, and then bring them to the market. The company created numerous subsidiaries, including Dermavant (focused on dermatology), Urovant (focused on urological disease), and China-based Sinovant and Cytovant, focused on the Asian market.

In 2015, Ramaswamy raised $360 million for the Roivant subsidiary Axovant Sciences in an attempt to market intepirdine as a drug for Alzheimer’s disease. In December 2014, Axovant purchased the patent for intepirdine from GlaxoSmithKline (where the drug had failed four previous clinical trials) for $5 million, a small sum in the industry. Ramaswamy appeared on the cover of Forbes in 2015, and said his company would “be the highest return on investment endeavor ever taken up in the pharmaceutical industry.” Before new clinical trials began, he engineered an initial public offering (IPO) in Axovant. Axovant became a “Wall Street darling” and raised $315 million in its IPO. The company’s market value initially soared to almost $3 billion, although at the time it only had eight employees, including Ramaswamy’s brother and mother. Ramaswamy took a massive payout after selling a portion of his shares in Roivant to Viking Global Investors. He claimed more than $37 million in capital gains in 2015. Ramaswamy said his company would be the “Berkshire Hathaway of drug development” and touted the drug as a “tremendous” opportunity that “could help millions” of patients, prompting some criticism that he was overpromising.

In September 2017, the company announced that intepirdine had failed in its large clinical trial.The company’s value plunged; it lost 75% in one day and continued to decline afterward. Shareholders who lost money included various institutional investors, such as the California State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund. Ramaswamy was insulated from much of Axovant’s losses because he held his stake through Roivant. The company abandoned intepirdine. In 2018, Ramaswamy said he had no regrets about how the company handled the drug; in subsequent years, he said he regretted the outcome but was annoyed by criticism of the company. Axovant attempted to reinvent itself as a gene therapy company, but dissolved in 2023.

In 2017, Roivant partnered with the private equity arm of the Chinese state-owned CITIC Group to form Sinovant. In 2017, Ramaswamy struck a deal with Masayoshi Son in which SoftBank invested $1.1 billion in Roivant. In 2019, Roivant sold its stake in five subsidiaries (or “vants”), including Enzyvant, to Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma; Ramaswamy made $175 million in capital gains from the sale. The deal also gave Sumitomo Dainippon a 10% stake in Roivant.

While campaigning for the presidency, Ramaswamy called himself a “scientist” and said, “I developed a number of medicines.” His undergraduate degree is in biology, but he was never a scientist; his role in the biotechnology industry was that of a financier and entrepreneur.

In January 2021, Ramaswamy stepped down as CEO of Roivant Sciences and assumed the role of executive chairman. In 2021, after he resigned as CEO, Roivant was listed on the Nasdaq via a reverse merger with Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition vehicle. In February 2023, Ramaswamy stepped down as chair of Roivant to focus on his presidential campaign.

Ramaswamy remains the sixth-largest shareholder of Roivant, retaining a 7.17% stake. Roivant has never been profitable.

Roivant Social Ventures

In 2020, when Ramaswamy was CEO of Roivant Sciences, the company established a nonprofit social-impact arm, Roivant Social Ventures (RSV), with his support. An earlier iteration of RSV, the Roivant Foundation, was created in 2018. Although Ramaswamy’s presidential campaign centers on opposing corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, RSV worked in support of pro-DEI and ESG initiatives, including promoting health equity and diversity within the biopharma and biotech industries. While campaigning, Ramaswamy has downplayed his role in creating and overseeing RSV.

Other ventures

In 2020, Ramaswamy co-founded Chapter Medicare, a Medicare navigation platform.[55] He served on the Ohio COVID-19 Response Team.

He was chairman of OnCore Biopharma, a position he maintained at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals when the two companies merged in March 2015. He also was chair of the board of Arbutus Biopharma, a Canadian firm.

Activism and Strive Asset Management

In early 2022, together with his high school friend Anson Frericks, Ramaswamy co-founded Strive Asset Management, a Columbus, Ohio-based asset management firm. The firm raised about $20 million from outside investors, including Peter Thiel, J. D. Vance, and Bill Ackman.

Strive has branded itself as “anti-woke” and its funds as “anti-ESG”; Ramaswamy has claimed that the largest asset managers, such as BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard, mix business with ESG politics to the detriment of their funds’ investors.

Pension fund managers take account of ESG in the assessment of long-term risk, including climate risks, when making portfolio decisions. Ramaswamy has crusaded against ESG and emphasizes the doctrine of shareholder primacy, famously articulated by Milton Friedman. In his book Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam and elsewhere, he has depicted private corporations’ socially conscious investing as simultaneously ineffective and the greatest threat to American society. He published a second book, Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence, in September 2022, a few months before announcing his presidential candidacy.

Strive’s flagship fund, the exchange-traded fund DRLL, launched in 2022 as an “anti-woke” energy sector index fund. Ramaswamy said that Strive would push energy companies to drill for more oil, frack for more natural gas, and “do whatever allows them to be most successful over the long run without regard to political, social, cultural or environmental agendas.”

In October 2022, Ramaswamy held closed-door meetings with South Carolina lawmakers in a session arranged by state treasurer Curtis Loftis; during the meetings, Ramaswamy pitched Strive to manage South Carolina pension funds.[68] In June 2023, after The Post and Courier reported on the meetings, the sessions were criticized as a form of unregistered lobbying; Ramaswamy’s campaign manager denied any impropriety.

Ramaswamy was Strive’s executive chairman before resigning in February 2023 to focus on his presidential campaign.

Presidential campaign (2023–2024)

Early political involvement

Ramaswamy said that he voted for Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 2004, but did not vote in the presidential elections in 2008, 2012, or 2016. He described himself as apolitical during this period. He supported Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In November 2021, Ramaswamy registered to vote in Franklin County, Ohio, as “unaffiliated”, but described himself as a Republican.

Ramaswamy has made political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans. In 2016, he donated $2,700 to the campaign of Dena Grayson, a Florida Democrat running for Congress. From 2020 to 2023, he donated $30,000 to the Ohio Republican Party. Ramaswamy considered running in the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Ohio.


Ramaswamy speaks at the 2022 AmericaFest

On February 21, 2023, Ramaswamy declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2024 on Tucker Carlson Tonight. He publicly released 20 years of his individual income tax returns and called upon his rivals in the primary to do the same. His fortune had made up the vast majority of his campaign’s fundraising. From February to July 2023, Ramaswamy loaned his campaign more than $15 million; his campaign ended the second quarter of 2023 with about $9 million in cash on hand. His fundraising lagged far behind Trump’s and Ron DeSantis’s, but ahead of most of the other Republican primary candidates’.

During his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Ramaswamy sought to appeal to evangelical Christian right and Christian nationalist voters, an important part of the Republican base, some of whom are reluctant or unwilling to support a non-Christian presidential candidate such as Ramaswamy, who is Hindu. In campaign stops and interviews, Ramaswamy had criticized secularism, saying that the U.S. was founded on Christian values or Judeo-Christian values; that he shares those values; and that he believes in one God.

While campaigning, Ramaswamy called himself an “unapologetic American nationalist”; he often attacked DeSantis but has avoided directly criticizing Trump.

In May 2023, Ramaswamy’s campaign admitted that he had paid an editor to alter his Wikipedia biography before announcing his candidacy but denied that the payment for edits was politically motivated. The edits to the Wikipedia biography removed references to Ramaswamy’s postgraduate fellowship from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, as well as his involvement with the Ohio COVID-19 Response Team. Paul and Daisy Soros are the elder brother and sister-in-law, respectively, of businessman and social activist George Soros, who has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories among American conservatives. Ramaswamy’s campaign denied attempting to “scrub” his Wikipedia page and argued the edits were revisions of “factual distortions.”

Political positions

Although they were running against each other for the 2024 Republican nomination, Ramaswamy vocally supported Trump. After Trump was indicted on federal criminal charges in 2023, Ramaswamy immediately rallied behind him. He promises to pardon Trump if elected president. He has also promised to pardon Julian Assange, Ross Ulbricht, and Edward Snowden. He suggested that he might consider Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a possible running mate.

Executive power and social/economic policy

Ramaswamy opposed affirmative action, and vowed to rescind Executive Order 11246. He argued that American-style capitalism provides an antidote to India’s caste system. He asserts that critical race theory has indoctrinated students in public schools.

Ramaswamy opposed abortion, terming it “murder”. He supported state-level six-week abortion bans, with exceptions for rape, incest, and danger to the woman’s life, but opposes a federal ban.

Ramaswamy called the LGBTQ movement a “cult”. He said through a spokesman that he believes same-sex marriage is “settled precedent” but supports broad restrictions on the rights of transgender Americans, and has used anti-trans rhetoric.

Ramaswamy pledged, if elected, to rule by executive fiat to a degree unprecedented among modern U.S. presidents. He pledged to fire 75% of federal employees; dismantle civil service protections, making federal employment at-will; and abolish at least five federal agencies, including the Education Department, FBI, ATF, IRS, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. He called the Food and Drug Administration “corrupt” and vowed to “expose and ultimately gut” the FDA. He asserted that the president has the unilateral power to abolish agencies by executive order, although executive agencies and departments are created by statute, and under the Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse. He called for an eight-year term for all government employees and pledged to revoke Executive Order 10988, an order issued by President John F. Kennedy that gives federal employees the right to collectively bargain. He proposed to repeal the federal law that requires presidents to spend all the money Congress appropriates.

Ramaswamy favored raising the standard voting age to 25, which would require repealing the 26th Amendment to the Constitution. This proposal would have disenfranchised a portion of the U.S. electorate; nearly 9% of voters in the 2020 general election were under 25. Ramaswamy also said he would have liked to end birthright citizenship. He said he would have allow citizens between 18 and 24 to vote only if they are enlisted in the military, work as first responders, or pass the civics test required for naturalization. He supported making Election Day a federal holiday, while eliminating Juneteenth (which he called “useless” and “redundant”) as a federal holiday.

Ramaswamy in West Palm Beach, Florida

Ramaswamy pledged to “use our military to annihilate the Mexican drug cartels”. He favored federal legalization of marijuana. He took no public position on the 2017 Trump tax cuts. He expressed support for an inheritance tax, and called for ending the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate.

Promotion of conspiracy theories

In Republican primary debates and campaign appearances, Ramaswamy often repeated and promoted an array of right-wing conspiracy theories and falsehoods. In the days after the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, he condemned the attack, but argued that social media bans on Trump violate the First Amendment. Later, while running for president, Ramaswamy repeatedly claimed that the January 6 attack “was an inside job”, a claim supported by no evidence and refuted by numerous investigations. He also asserted that “big tech” stole the 2020 election and that the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory was “the Democratic Party’s platform”. Invoking September 11 conspiracy theories, he asked whether “federal agents were on the planes” that hit the Twin Towers during the September 11 attacks. When asked about some of his past remarks, Ramaswamy frequently denied making the comments or claimed to have been misquoted, even when those denials were belied by recordings, transcripts, or extracts from his book.

Foreign affairs

Ramaswamy said he would not have used U.S. military force against Iran. In November 2023, he condemned Azerbaijan’s military operation against the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and said that the U.S. should block all its military aid to Azerbaijan.

Ramaswamy said favored “some major concessions to Russia, including freezing those current lines of control in a Korean-war style armistice agreement” to end the Russo-Ukrainian War. He favors ending U.S. military aid to Ukraine, excluding Ukraine from NATO, and allowing Russia to remain in occupied regions of Ukraine in exchange for an agreement that Russia end its alliance with China. He expressed support for Taiwanese independence, and floated the idea of “putting a gun in every Taiwanese household” to deter an invasion by China, but said the U.S. should not militarily defend Taiwan from Chinese attack after the U.S. has achieved “semiconductor independence”, which he pledged to achieve by 2028.

After Hamas’s October 7, 2023, attack on Israel, Ramaswamy said that Israel has “a right to defend itself” and to make its own decisions for its defense, while the U.S. should provide a “diplomatic Iron Dome” for Israel, but also said that U.S. aid to Israel should be contingent upon Israel’s plans for defeating Hamas and its actions in Gaza.

Climate and energy

Although Ramaswamy said he was not a climate denier, he said in a Republican primary debate that “the climate change agenda is a hoax” and asserted, falsely, that “more people are dying from climate policies than actual climate change.” At other times, Ramaswamy said that he accepted that burning fossil fuels causes climate change, but called global climate change “not entirely bad”; said that “people should be proud to live a high-carbon lifestyle”; and said that the U.S. should “drill, frack, burn coal”. He criticized what he calls the “climate cult” and said that as president, he would “abandon the anticarbon framework as it exists” and halt “any mandate to measure carbon dioxide”. In 2022, he urged Chevron to increase oil production and criticized its support for a carbon tax. Ramaswamy’s company holds a 0.02% stake in Chevron. Ramaswamy opposed subsidies for electric vehicles. In his arguments, Ramaswamy used incorrect statistical claims about the history of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. His critics said that when he cited the upsides of climate change and fossil fuels, such as reduced cold-related deaths, cheap energy, and faster plant growth, he ignored larger downsides, such as increases in other weather-related disasters, deaths, and plant damage, and ignored that there are now less-polluting sources of cheap energy.

Personal life

Ramaswamy’s wife, Apoorva Tewari Ramaswamy, is a laryngologist and surgeon; they met at Yale, when he was studying law and she was studying medicine. They married in 2015 and have two sons. Ramaswamy has a younger brother, Shankar, who worked for him at Axovant and later co-founded Kriya Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company.

Ramaswamy is a monotheistic Hindu. According to relatives, he is fluent in Tamil and understands (but does not speak) Malayalam. He is a vegetarian and wrote in 2020, “I believe it is wrong to kill sentient animals for culinary pleasure”.

In 2023, Ramaswamy’s campaign advisor said his net worth was more than $1 billion; Forbes estimated it at more than $950 million. He lived in Manhattan as of 2016. As of 2021, he owned a house in Butler County, Ohio, but in 2023, the only real estate he reported owning was a house in Columbus, Ohio, in Franklin County. A 2023 Politico profile of Ramaswamy mentions him living in a $2 million estate in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington.

Published works

Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam. New York: Center Street. 2021. ISBN 978-1546090786. OCLC 1237631944.
Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence. New York: Center Street. 2022. ISBN 978-1546002963. OCLC 1546002960.
Capitalist Punishment: How Wall Street Is Using Your Money to Create a Country You Didn’t Vote For. New York: Broadside Books. 2023. ISBN 978-0063337756. OCLC 1362864450.

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