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.