You're reading The AustinInno Beat - View more newsletters



Brent: The most talked about trend in venture capital and startups in America these days doesn’t have as much to do with big money and term sheets as it does with sexual harassment from powerful people.

In the spotlight, currently, are 500 Startups Founder Dave McClure, who said on Monday he is stepping down after allegations of sexual harassments, and Justin Caldbeck, a partner at Binary Capital who is on indefinite leave after being accused of unwanted sexual advances with women founders who were seeking investment money.

Those big headline stories, of course, are only the most recent and most prominent of such cases. While we may notice a concentration in Silicon Valley right now, sexual harassment has never been limited by geography, industry or virtually any other factor. And that’s why theses stories are so important — they show others who have been harassed that many media outlets will investigate and, when possible, expose those responsible.

While apologies won’t necessarily solve anything, it’s also promising to see those accused admitting to their actions.

McClure, for example, wrote a blog titled “I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry” in which he admits making advances toward “multiple women in work-related situations where it was clearly inappropriate.”

And, in Caldbeck’s case, the stories led the New England Venture Capital Association to issue a pledge to protect against discrimination and sexual harassment. I’m not aware of any similar actions in Austin or, more broadly, Texas in response to these recent stories. (Caldbeck is in Silicon Valley, but he had previously worked in the Boston area.) But, pledge or not, shining light on these issues has the potential to discourage would-be predators.

And, as a reminder, the Texas Workforce Commission investigates complaints of sexual discrimination and harassment.

Texas is the second-best state in the U.S. to start a business in, according to WalletHub’s latest rankings. The personal finance company looked at stats about the number of small businesses, labor costs, accessibility of financing, government incentives, education and a few other things and found North Dakota is the best state for starting a business. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to endure a North Dakota winter for one little step up in the rankings.

No dough in the oven so far this month. Check out our roundup of all the funding announcements from the month of June.

– On Thursday, Jon Loyens, co-founder and chief product officer at Austin-based, will lead a talk on emerging trends in the use of data at General Assembly at 6:30 p.m. (Details)

– RTX, Rooster Teeth’s big festival, kicks off Friday at the Austin Convention Center. 512Tech reported that the event is expected to draw 65K people and includes a Q&A with Andy Serkis, AKA Gollum from “Lord of the Rings.”

Did you watch the fireworks last night? Or the drones? For many observers, the drones were apparently an annoyance worthy of at least a few paragraphs of displeasure.

You can read through the love, hate and jokes on Reddit, although I think it largely boils down to folks disturbed by the buzzing sounds of drones when they’re trying to relax before the show in the sky and the questions of whether the drones were licensed to fly in those conditions (night time, people nearby) — and why many of us feel compelled to record everything these days.

I totally get it. It’s frustrating when Ween (or name a favorite band) is about to launch into their first song of the night and, unless you’re about 6’4″, you’re mostly seeing the backs of heads and the backs of arms and phones.

But, every now and again, people do cherish those videos. And some people are actually pretty good at capturing it. For example, this drone footage of the sunset and fireworks near Pennybacker Bridge.

Send news tips, feedback and rants to:

Follow us on Twitter: @AustinInno and @BrentWistrom