Entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy says his newly-launched fund aimed to bolster U.S. energy production has already raised over $100 million.
Last week, Ramaswamy's Ohio-based asset management firm Strive unveiled an exchange-traded fund DRLL which aims to be an energy index fund to combat the woke ESG movement that has stifled American energy.
In a press release obtained by Fox News Digital, DRLL "exceeded $100 million in assets under management (AUM) and over $160 million in traded volume in its first full week of launch.
"This represents an important milestone, and it's just the first step of our journey," Ramaswamy wrote in the press release. "Our goal is to unlock the potential of the U.S. energy sector by mandating companies to focus on excellence, including through greater oil and gas production, instead of social agendas imposed by large ESG-linked asset managers."
"We believe our message and mandates to US companies are already resonating with Americans," Strive's products chief Matt Cole said. "Unlike typical ETF launches where you see a small number of high dollar trades, the success of DRLL has been driven by smaller dollar trades."
Earlier this month, Ramaswamy teased about his new initiative during an interview with Fox News Digital, saying its energy-based index fund would compete against investment giants like BlackRock and Vanguard, promising to bring a "different shareholder voice to Corporate America's boardrooms" that will focus on strengthening the energy industry rather than "these toxic political and social agendas."
"That means yes, drilling for more oil. Yes, fracking for more natural gas. Yes, doing whatever allows you to be most profitable and successful over the long run without regard to somebody else's political agenda. Nobody is delivering that voice to the energy sector today. And I will tell you, that's the shareholder mandate that Strive plans to deliver to U.S. energy companies," Ramaswamy told Fox News Digital.
ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance, has become a growing concern among conservative critics as they accuse the movement of ultimately doing harm to consumers and business owners by prioritizing social justice and the green agenda.
Ramaswamy, author of "Woke, Inc." and the upcoming book "Nation of Victims," slammed ESG for becoming powerful enough to "dictate the flow of capital into the country," referring to it as "one of the defining threats to both capitalism and democracy."
"There is unprecedented aggregation of capital, $22 trillion of capital in the hands of just three large investment firms who are now using this philosophy to be able to get done through the backdoor what government could not get done through the front door through the democratic process. That's why I view it as, I think, probably the single greatest spectacle of capitalism and democracy."
While he urged Republicans to act "more aggressively" against it, particularly GOP governors, Ramaswamy believes it's a "market problem" that requires a "market solution" rather than resorting to government intervention.
"At the end of the day, if there are three large asset managers who are using their market power to force companies in every sector from energy to consumer products companies to tech companies to behave in a certain way, then there needs to be new large-scale asset managers that represent the will of everyday Americans by investing their money and speaking and advocating on their behalf in ways that, actually, most of those everyday citizens would want," Ramaswamy told Fox News Digital.
The Strive co-founder and executive chairman also sounded the alarm on how ESG has had a direct impact on the ongoing energy crisis.
"We have a massive energy crisis in this country, a supply-demand imbalance which American energy companies are unable to meet because of the constraints applied to the sector," Ramaswamy said. "The ESG movement has effectively demanded that American oil companies drill for less oil, that they frack for less natural gas, that they produce less energy. That's actually what's led to the massive supply problem, which in turn has created high gas prices, which in turn states are starting to create rolling blackouts. And the correct answer has to be taking the shackles and handcuffs off of these companies not just through regulations… [but] through the private sector itself."
In recent weeks, nations like Sri Lanka, The Netherlands and even Canada have enacted or made plans to enact ESG-influenced policies and restrictions.
Bans on chemical fertilizers in Sri Lanka led to shortages and economic instability – and protesters in the capital city of Colombo forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to evacuate his palace.
In the Netherlands, similar green restrictions led to irate farmers blockading roads and protesting Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government after the country – which is the second-largest global food exporter besides the United States – forced its agriculture sector into chaos.
Most recently, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to mandate reduced agricultural emissions, which a Bloomberg analysis suggested would "risk [its] grain output."
Fox News' Joshua Comins and Charlie Creitz contributed to this report.