Tech’s gen­der prob­lems be­ing ig­nored by in­vestors– Cos­tolo

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK -

AF­TER Sil­i­con Val­ley was rocked by sev­eral re­cent al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, for­mer Twit­ter CEO Dick Cos­tolo said that the re­al­ity of the gen­der dy­nam­ics in the in­dus­try was “prob­a­bly way worse than we’ve seen so far”.

“The in­vestors in some of th­ese ven­ture firms are sim­ply ig­nor­ing it, or pay­ing lip ser­vice to it and ig­nor­ing it, and fund­ing some of th­ese en­ter­prises any­way,” Mr Cos­tolo said in an in­ter­view with Bloomberg TV.

“It’s widely un­der­stood that some of th­ese is­sues were things that had been said in the back­ground, and yet new funds were raised.”

Mr Cos­tolo added that he would like to see the in­dus­try do more than sign the “de­cency pledge” that LinkedIn founder Reid Hoff­man pro­posed, say­ing that in­vestors in ven­ture funds should con­sider back­ing more of those led by women or peo­ple of colour, who are un­der-rep­re­sented in the in­dus­try. Mr Hoff­man had pro­posed a zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy of ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists mak­ing ad­vances to­ward port­fo­lio com­pany em­ploy­ees.

“I would like to see more of the LPs and in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors putting their money where their mouth is,” he said.

Mr Cos­tolo, who is now head of fit­ness startup Cho­rus, added that he was brac­ing for “a lot more volatil­ity” in fi­nan­cial mar­kets. “Mar­kets have been un­der-pric­ing risk with ev­ery­thing go­ing on in the world,’’ he said, “things go­ing on in Europe and else­where in the Mid­dle East.”

For­mer Twit­ter CEO Dick Cos­tolo said he wanted to see the in­dus­try im­prove gen­der dy­nam­ics

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