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24 Women Allege Sexual Harassment By Investors, and Another VC Gets Demoted

An anonymous reader writes: Friday technology investor Dave McClure tweeted a link to a statement from the new CEO of the start-up incubator he co-founded which announces his demotion after engaging in “inappropriate interactions with women in the tech community.” The new CEO of 500 Startups says “I sincerely apologize for the choices he made and the pain and stress they’ve caused people. But apologies aren’t enough without meaningful actions and change. Because of this, we made the decision a few months ago to change the leadership structure at 500.” Meanwhile, McClure will attend counseling “to work on changing his perspectives and preventing his previous unacceptable behavior… As much as we want to be part of the solution, we clearly have also been part of the problem.”

The same day more than two dozen female entrepreneurs told the New York Times about incidents of sexual harassment in the start-up industry, “often providing corroborating messages and emails.” Several women told the Times they were warned that saying anything might lead to ostracism. Chris Sacca — whose firm invested in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio, and Kickstarter — told the Times he was grateful for the courage of the female entrepreneur who told the Times how he’d propositioned her, and Sacca also wrote in a post on Medium, “I’ve learned that it’s often the less obvious, yet pervasive and questionable, everyday behaviors of men in our industry that collectively make it inhospitable for women… It’s the unrelenting, day-to-day culture of dismissiveness that creates a continually bleak environment for women and other underrepresented groups.” The article also notes that Justin Caldbeck — accused by six different founders of making unwanted advances — worked at three different VC firms over the last seven years. The Times also cites a 2014 admission by investor Pavel Curda that he sent two women text messages asking for sex after a networking event, adding “The new accounts underscore how sexual harassment in the tech start-up ecosystem goes beyond one firm and is pervasive and ingrained.”

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