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Silicon Valley Reels Over Sexist Culture as Another Venture Capitalist Falls

Top venture capitalist Dave McClure resigns amid allegations he sexually harassed several women

Silicon Valley continued to reel from the fallout from an explosive New York Times report last week outlining widespread sexual harassment, as another venture capitalist resigned in disgrace on Monday.

Dave McClure (pictured) resigned as a general partner from 500 Startups on Monday. After receiving several harassment allegations against McClure, the firm “found his behavior to have been unacceptable, “according to an internal email from the CEO Christine Tsai published on Axios. 

Another prominent venture capitalist named in the New York Times report — Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital —  took to Medium to blog a response to the story.

Sacca wrote over the weekend: “I do own that in the past, especially in the early days of my career, I have sometimes played a role in the larger phenomenon of women not always feeling welcome in our industry.” He apologized, multiple times.

The Times report cited multiple women who had inappropriate interactions with McClure, including one he messaged on Facebook: “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you,” McClure said in the note to a woman being recruited by his startup-incubator, 500 Startups, according to the Times.

In her email to limited partners, 500 Startups CEO Christine Tsai said it “cannot be certain that there won’t be future [allegations].”

Susan Wu, an entrepreneur and investor, told the Times Sacca had touched her face without her consent at a 2009 tech convention in Las Vegas. Wu also said she was propositioned for sex by Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital in 2010 — an event that forced her to avoid Caldbeck at future fundraising events.

“There is such a massive imbalance of power that women in the industry often end up in distressing situations,” Wu told the Times.

In a subsequent blog post titled “I Have More Work To Do,” Sacca said he disputed Wu’s “account of what happened that day.” Immediately following,

Sacca, a former Google exec who’s starred alongside Mark Cuban on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” said he’d considered himself one of the “good guys” in tech — someone that didn’t exacerbate the divide between men and women in the industry. As the Times pointed out, the vast majority of venture capitalists are men, and male entrepreneurs hauled in $58 billion in funding last year, compared to only $1.5 billion for women. Sacca apologized for feeding into this gap.

“It’s the unrelenting, day-to-day culture of dismissiveness that creates a continually bleak environment for women and other underrepresented groups,” said Sacca.

McClure took to Medium with his own blog post this weekend, titled “I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry,” to apologize for his transgressions.

“I made advances towards multiple women in work-related situations, where it was clearly inappropriate,” said McClure. “I put people in compromising and inappropriate situations, and I selfishly took advantage of those situations where I should have known better. My behavior was inexcusable and wrong.”

McClure’s resignation mirrors the demise of Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was recently ousted as CEO after the ride-hailing app was repeatedly sited as a breeding ground for sexual harassment.