Tech in­vestor leaves firm un­der cloud

Steve Jurvet­son plans to fight al­le­ga­tions of hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment.

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By David Pier­son david.pier­son@la­times.com Twit­ter: @dh­pier­son

Sil­i­con Val­ley in­vestor Steve Jurvet­son is leav­ing Draper Fisher Jurvet­son, the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm he co-founded, amid al­le­ga­tions of a hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment for women.

Jurvet­son, an early backer of Tesla and SpaceX, tweeted he was leav­ing the firm and would fight back against the al­le­ga­tions.

“I am leav­ing DFJ to fo­cus on per­sonal mat­ters, in­clud­ing tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against those whose false state­ments have de­famed me,” Jurvet­son tweeted.

Jurvet­son is also tak­ing a leave of ab­sence from the boards of Tesla and SpaceX, spokes­men for the two com­pa­nies said.

Jurvet­son could not be reached for com­ment. He has been un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by his firm since the sum­mer.

News of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was first re­ported last month by the In­for­ma­tion, a tech­nol­ogy pub­li­ca­tion.

The re­port came a day af­ter en­tre­pre­neur Keri Kukral pub­lished a Face­book post say­ing that “women ap­proached by found­ing part­ners of Draper Fisher Jurvet­son should be care­ful.”

“Preda­tory be­hav­ior is ram­pant. Si­lenc­ing be­hav­ior ranges from se­cu­rity (within) the firm cre­at­ing files on women, to po­ten­tial vi­o­la­tions of re­venge porn laws, to grotesque threats,” she said.

Kukral said she had ex­pe­ri­enced some, but not all, of th­ese things “along with many oth­ers.”

A spokesper­son for Draper Fisher Jurvet­son did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

The firm told the tech­nol­ogy news site Re­code that the de­par­ture of one of its found­ing part­ners was de­cided upon mu­tu­ally.

“As of to­day and by mu­tual agree­ment, Steve Jurvet­son will be leav­ing DFJ,” the firm said. “DFJ’s cul­ture has been, and will con­tinue to be, built on the val­ues of re­spect and in­tegrity in all of our in­ter­ac­tions. We are fo­cused on the suc­cess of our port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, as well as the long-term vi­sion for the firm and will con­tinue to op­er­ate with the high­est pro­fes­sional stan­dards.”

In a blog post pub­lished two weeks ago, Heidi Roizen, a part­ner at Draper Fisher Jurvet­son, de­fended the firm’s cul­ture, say­ing DFJ launched an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter hear­ing an al­le­ga­tion of mis­con­duct from a third party about one of its co-founders.

“In the past week, a sin­gle Face­book post also ac­cused DFJ of hav­ing a cul­ture that is preda­tory to women,” Roizen said. “I don’t need an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to state with cer­tainty that this is patently wrong.

“I would not work for DFJ if I felt the cul­ture was not one of high in­tegrity and op­por­tu­nity for all — in­clud­ing women.”

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