With his anti-ESG fund, Vivek Ramaswamy takes a page from the Infowars playbook. At least 17 conservative-led states have passed, or are preparing, “anti-ESG” laws that ban banks that have curtailed funding for fossil fuels or gunmakers, supported abortion, or committed other sins of “wokeness.” Positioning himself to profit from it all is Vivek Ramaswamy, the author of Woke, Inc. and head of the newly launched Strive Funds. Ramaswamy, a “slimmed-down Alex Jones in Armani suits,” as Ryon Harms of Manifest Social calls him in a guest post on ImpactAlpha, has his eye on red state treasuries and the nest eggs of hardworking civil servants. One lesson Ramaswamy takes from the founder of Infowars is to preach apocalypse and then sell products to profit from it (an example of what Oxford University’s Robert Eccles calls “grift capitalism”). Ramaswamy’s boogeymen: Vanguard, State Street and BlackRock (never mind that those asset managers are among the world’s biggest funders of fossil fuels, deforestation, tobacco and firearms).
Dealflow: Smart Cities
Urban Innovation Fund’s smart cities fund secures $121 million. As many as five out of six people in the U.S. live in urban areas. San Francisco-based Urban Innovation Fund is tackling urban challenges with investments in — and regulatory support for — 30 early-stage tech startups working in transportation, public health and safety, the future of work, energy, and sustainability. The average check size will be $1.5 million. The women-led and owned venture firm has raised more than $400 million in total and backed 39 companies in 18 cities. At least three of every four teams in the portfolio have a woman or person of color founder; half of the portfolio has an immigrant on the founding team. Companies backed include Ethic, which creates sustainable portfolios for wealth advisors; Electriphi, a smart-charging services company for electric vehicle fleet operators; and Jeeves, a fintech company for small businesses.
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary for Environmental Protection and an Environmental Protection Agency official in the Obama Administration, is named president of the $3 billion climate organization Waverley Street Foundation… ICA seeks a part-time accelerator program associate in Oakland… Palladium is hiring a senior manager in Washington, D.C… The American Sustainable Business Network will host an online discussion on the Inflation Reduction Act, Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, which supports ImpactAlpha’s Investing in Health coverage. In partnership with J&J Impact Ventures, ImpactAlpha is exploring the …