(NewsNation) — Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, is now the youngest major Republican presidential candidate after acquiring a significant fortune during his twenties and thirties.
On the campaign trail, he focuses on “anti-woke” policy. Ramaswamy has said the United States has become a place full of “victims” and that the country has lost its purpose and its focus on faith, patriotism, hard work and family.
Born in Ohio to immigrant parents from India, he earned a biology degree from Harvard University and then finished a J.D. at Yale Law School. Ramaswamy has no prior experience in politics. He spent his twenties investing in pharma companies at hedge fund QVT Financial and made partner when he was 28, Forbes reports.
Forbes estimates his net worth is at least $630 million. He has accumulated a fortune thanks to his biotech firm Roivant Sciences, which he launched nine years ago. Ramaswamy joined NewsNation on Monday night for a town hall and addressed the company’s failed attempt to bring an Alzheimer’s drug to market two years later.
“Failure is what makes every entrepreneur stronger. … That built the foundation for developing five FDA-approved medicines. … Hardship is not a choice, it’s something that happens to you. Victimhood is a choice, and we choose not to be victims. We choose to be victorious. I think that is a lesson for America, where we find ourselves now,” Ramaswamy said. “My company would have never been as strong as it was had we not gone through the experience.”
In 2022, Ramaswamy left Roivant and founded Strive Asset Management, which branded itself as an “anti-woke” index fund provider. He’s also the author of several books, including “Woke, Inc.” His books helped Ramaswamy gain exposure in conservative circles, including on Fox News, as a critic of “ESG,” or looking not just at profit in investments but also at environmental, social and governance issues, such as a company’s policies on climate.
With the first Republican primary debate in just over a week and the leadoff Iowa caucus five months away, the millionaire is working to convince more voters he could be their nominee.
In the early months of the campaign, Ramaswamy’s numbers have soared in the polls after he initially registered at little more than 0%. Some recent surveys have shown him in third place for the presidential nomination behind front-runner former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A Morning Consult poll updated last week has Ramaswamy at 8%. While that’s nowhere near Trump’s 59% and half of DeSantis’ 16%, it’s still well above other candidates such as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, each at 3%, per Morning Consult.
The Associated Press and Cassie Buchman contributed to this report.