Vivek Ramaswamy is a business leader in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and financial sectors. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Kerala, India.
The young businessman (he was born in 1985) announced in 2023 that he was running to become the Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election.
Forbes estimates that he has a net worth exceeding $950 million. Ramaswamy says he’s a billionaire.
Who Is Vivek Ramaswamy?
Vivek Ramaswamy comes from an upper-middle-class Indian Hindu family. His mother is a psychiatrist and his father works for General Electric as an engineer and patent attorney. During Ramaswamy’s childhood, the family visited India every summer.
Ramaswamy graduated from Harvard, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He then attended Yale Law School on a fellowship for first-generation Americans.
According to Ramaswamy, he had about $15 million before attending law school. That money would have likely come from lessons learned while interning at Goldman Sachs and Amaranth Advisors, a hedge fund, during his undergraduate years.
He used his experience to get a job working for the hedge fund QVT Financial, a job he held before and during law school. During his time at QVT Financial, he bought stakes in Retrophin, a company founded by Martin Shkreli. Shkreli was later found guilty of committing several financial crimes, including securities fraud.
Ramaswamy also helped found a social networking website called Campus Venture Network. Campus Venture Network connects students who want to start businesses with each other, advisors, and investors. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation bought the company in 2009 for an undisclosed amount of money.
After completing law school, Vivek Ramaswamy founded Roivant Sciences. Roivant Sciences’s business strategy involves buying patents from pharmaceutical companies, further developing the patented drugs, and bringing the finished drugs to market.
Roivant Sciences has numerous subsidiaries, including Axovant Sciences, which develops treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Axovant’s IPO raised $315 million before starting clinical trials on its Alzheimer’s treatment. When the business’s value ballooned to $3 billion, Ramaswamy sold his shares.
In 2022, Ramaswamy co-founded Strive Asset Management with Ohio politician J.D. Vane and others. The company identifies as “anti-woke.” The business’s position states that companies put shareholders at a disadvantage when they invest in ESG (environment, social, and governance) initiatives.
Ramaswamy is a long-time critic of climate change, abortion rights, LGBTQ+ issues, “big government,” and American intervention in foreign conflicts.
How Did Vivek Ramaswamy Get Into Harvard?
By all accounts, Vivek Ramaswamy got into Harvard by working hard and using his intellect to excel beyond his classmates in high school.
He attended public school in Cincinnati until he finished middle school. He then transferred to St. Xavier, a private Catholic school.
He was valedictorian of his graduating class. He was also a nationally ranked junior tennis player, which would have helped him stand out from other Harvard applicants.
How Did Vivek Ramaswamy Make His Money?
Most of Vivek Ramaswamy’s wealth comes from his company Roivant Sciences. He owns approximately $600 million in the company’s stock. He is also reported to have earned more than $250 million in salary and capital gains.
Ramaswamy also owns a holding company called Roivant Sciences, which in turn oversees subsidiaries that purchase patents from large pharmaceutical companies.
These subsidiaries then continue to work on the development of drugs, take them to market, and generate revenues. One of the subsidiaries, Axovant, had a $2.2 billion valuation when it went public.
Vivek Ramaswamy’s Political Views
Vivek Ramaswamy has political views often associated with the “right.” Many of them mirror positions taken by former President Donald Trump.
According to a report from the BBC, Ramasamy believes in abolishing several of the federal government’s departments, including IRS, FBI, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Education.
Many Americans, especially Republicans, have an unfavorable view of these departments. For example, they see the Department of Education as an unnecessary use of federal funds that interferes with education at the state level.
Many also believe the FBI has managed a “witch hunt” against former President Trump.
Ramaswamy says that he opposed abortion, comparing it to murder.
He doesn’t support a national ban, however. Instead, he prefers letting states establish their own laws regulating or banning access to abortion.
Ramaswamy supports a 12.5% flat tax. Unlike many conservatives, he supports taxing capital gains and assets acquired through inheritance.
He has written that he supports inheritance taxes as high as 59% because intergenerational wealth has created a kind of American aristocracy.
Essentially, he believes people should earn wealth instead of inheriting it.
Ramaswamy wants to eliminate affirmative action and has called it a form of institutionalized racism.
Vivek wants to shift from a lottery-based immigration system to a merit-based system that favors affluent, skilled, and educated applicants.
He also supports securing a strong southern border, an issue important to Trump and many conservatives who believe a weak border contributes to higher crime rates and fewer job opportunities in the U.S.
In agreement with most Americans, Ramaswamy doesn’t believe in outlawing cannabis. He believes the federal government should decriminalize the drug, allowing states to decide how they want to regulate or banish a legal market.
He has also shown support for decriminalizing drugs like ketamine and ayahuasca because of their potential for treating serious health problems like PTSD and addiction.
Ramaswamy supports same-sex marriage but doesn’t believe anyone, including churches, should be forced to provide services that conflict with their beliefs. He has said same-sex couples should have the same opportunities to adopt as other couples.
Ramaswamy doesn’t take a hard stance on transgender issues, but he does believe only adults 18 and older should have access to gender-transitioning treatments.
Despite some support for LGBTQ+ issues, he has referred to advocacy groups and the LGBTQ+ movement as an illogical cult.
Vivek Ramaswamy Pharma Scandal
Some of Vivek Ramaswamy’s critics describe the Axovant IPO as a scam. When Axovant went public, it hadn’t finished trials for its Alzheimer’s treatment. Still, the company had a $2.2 billion valuation and early investors were eager to buy shares. The company’s value quickly reached $3 billion.
Around the time that Axovant’s value reached $3 billion, Ramaswamy sold the bulk of his shares in the company, adding millions of dollars to his wealth.
Unfortunately for stockholders and Alzheimer’s patients, the drug wasn’t successful. The company lost nearly all of its value rapidly. Having already divested himself of shares, Ramaswamy profited while other shareholders lost large sums of money.
While the Axovant pharma scandal looks suspicious, Ramaswamy might not have done anything illegal. He might have simply decided that the company’s valuation wouldn’t exceed $3 billion, so it made sense to sell his shares at that time.
Not surprisingly, some people believe he had insider knowledge that Axovant wouldn’t succeed. It’s unclear whether that is the case. He may have simply made a smart business decision based entirely on financials.
Who Is the Author of Woke Inc?
Vivek Ramaswamy wrote Woke, Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam, publishing the biography in 2021.
He has published two other books since: Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence (2022) and Capitalist Punishment: How Wall Street Is Using Your Money to Create a Country You Didn’t Vote For (2023).
Vivek Ramaswamy’s Wife and Kids
Vivek Ramaswamy met his wife, Apoorva, while attending Yale Law School.
She was studying medicine at Yale and currently works as a physician.
The couple has two sons.
The family primarily lives in the Columbus, Ohio area but spent a brief period in Manhattan.
Vivek Ramaswamy’s Nationality
Vivek Ramaswamy was born in the United States, which makes him a U.S. citizen. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Kerala, India.
The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.