Dave McClure of 500 Startups to Women: ‘I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry’

Jul 02, 2017

Dave McClure, a co-founder of the venture fund 500 Startups, publicly apologized late Saturday following an allegation of sexual harassment that led to a reduction of his responsibilities at his company, acknowledging that he had made "inappropriate" advances toward women on several occasions.

"I made advances towards multiple women in work-related situations, where it was clearly inappropriate," McClure wrote in a post on Medium. "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."

The post was headlined simply: "I'm a Creep. I'm Sorry."

"For these and other incidents where I have been at fault, I would like to apologize for being a clueless, selfish, unapologetic and defensive ass," he added. "To all those I let down, and especially to those I directly offended and hurt: I’m very sorry."

In an article late last month about sexual harassment in the technology industry, the New York Times interviewed female entrepreneur Sarah Kunst, who said she and McClure had been discussing potential work opportunities in 2014 when he wrote her a Facebook message saying, “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you.” Kunst told the Times she raised the Facebook message with one of McClure's colleagues, after which the company stopped discussing opportunities with her.

500 Startups told the Times the company had "made changes internally" after being informed of McClure's actions toward women, and that he was no longer in charge of the company's daily operations. “He recognizes he has made mistakes and has been going through counseling to work on addressing changes in his previous unacceptable behavior,” the company said.

McClure's co-founder Christine Tsai wrote in a blog post on the company's website that his behavior was "unacceptable and not reflective of 500’s culture and values."

McClure acknowledged his advances toward Kunst were inappropriate, adding that he didn't offer her a job but referred her to Tsai, who met with her but decided not to extend an offer. "My apologies to Sarah for my inappropriate behavior in a setting I thought was social, but in hindsight was clearly not," he wrote. "It was my fault and I take full responsibility. She was correct in calling me out."

"I don’t expect anyone to believe I will change," he continued. "But I’m working on it."

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