These 9 Female Entrepreneurs Have Gone On the Record About Being Sexually Harassed

Jul 05, 2017

In the wake of Susan Fowler's game-changing blog post about experiencing sexual harassment at Uber—and The Information's story in which half a dozen women reported facing unwanted advances from Binary Capital's Justin Caldbeck—a wave of female entrepreneurs are coming forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment.

A number of women spoke to the New York Times' Katie Benner for a pair of stories published over the 4th of July holiday weekend. Given the sheer number of entrepreneurs involved, Fortune put together this list of women who have come forward since Friday.

Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix

Lake, who founded the personal styling company in 2011, told the Times that she was among those targeted by Caldbeck, who been accused of sexually harassing entrepreneurs while working at three different venture firms over the past seven years.

Following previous reports of allegations against the VC, which were first reported by The Information, Caldbeck resigned and apologized. The venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, Caldbeck's previous employer, also apologized for its role.

“We regret we did not take stronger action,” Lightspeed said on Twitter on Tuesday. “It is clear now that we should have done more.”

Susan Wu, entrepreneur and investor

Wu, who is the co-founder of Project Include, wrote about her sexual harassment experience in a Medium post on June 30, the same day the New York Times published its story. While she did not name her harasser in the post, she told the Times that Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital "touched her face without her consent in a way that made her feel uncomfortable" in Las Vegas in 2009. She also claims that she was harassed by Caldbeck, saying that he propositioned her in 2010.

When contacted by the Times, Sacca said in a statement that he was “grateful to Susan and the other brave women sharing their stories. I’m confident the result of their courage will be long-overdue, lasting change.” He also apologized in a blog post on Friday, writing: "I now understand I personally contributed to the problem. I am sorry.”

But after publication, Sacca walked backed his former statements, telling the Times that "I dispute Susan's account from 2009."

Lindsay Meyer, entrepreneur

Meyer is an entrepreneur in San Francisco who founded a fitness startup in 2015. That year, Meyer told the Times that Caldbeck invested $25,000 of his own money in her start-up and began texting her regularly. According to text messages reviewed by the Times, Caldbeck asked if she was attracted to him, and asked why she was dating her boyfriend instead of him. Meyers also alleges that he groped and kissed her.

Meyer later alerted Legacy Venture, one of Binary's investors, about Caldbeck's behavior. But despite her efforts, nothing changed.

“We failed to follow up on information about Mr. Caldbeck’s personal behavior,” Legacy said in a statement to the Times. “We regret this oversight and are determined to do better.”

Sarah Kunst, CEO of Proday

In 2014, Kunst was interviewing for a potential job at 500 Startups, an incubator founded by Dave McClure. Kunst told the Times that during the recruiting process, McClure sent her a Facebook message that read: “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you.”

Kunst said that she declined McClure’s advance and later discussed the message with one of his colleagues. But shortly after doing so, 500 Startups allegedly stopped recruiting her, the Times reports.

McClure did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by the Times. However, in a statement, 500 Startups said: “After being made aware of instances of Dave having inappropriate behavior with women in the tech community, we have been making changes internally. He recognizes he has made mistakes and has been going through counseling to work on addressing changes in his previous unacceptable behavior.”

McClure, who was no longer in charge of day-to-day operations when 500 Startups issued the statement, resigned on Monday. He also apologized for his actions in a blog post, writing that "I probably deserve to be called a creep."

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Cheryl Yeoh, entrepreneur

Yeoh is an entrepreneur in Malaysia. She posted online alleging that McClure propositioned her in 2011 and sexually assaulted her 2014. In response to McClure's blog post apology, Yeoh wrote: “If someone uses their power as a VC to make repeated sexual, physical advances on women in a professional context, that goes way beyond being a creep."

In response, 500 Startups told the Times that “We appreciate Cheryl speaking up and realize how upsetting and painful it is for her to have gone through that experience and have the courage to speak up.”

Wendy Dent, CEO of Cinemmerse

Dent owns a company that makes an app for smart watches. Dent told the Times that Marc Canter, a startup advisor, began sending her "increasingly flirtatious messages" soon after she started the company in 2014. Over time, those messages became sexual in nature, she alleges.

In one message reviewed by the Times, Canter allegedly commented on how Dent looked in a blue dress, adding: “Know what I’m thinking? Why am I sending you this — in private?”

When contacted by the Times, Canter, who founded a software company in the 1980s that was later called Macromedia, said that Dent "came on strong to me, asking for help," adding that he behaved the way he did because he "disliked her ideas" and was hoping it would make her go away.

Lisa Curtis, Founder of Kuli Kuli

Curtis is the founder of Kuli Kuli, a food start-up. At a competition in 2014 in San Francisco, Curtis told the Times that her idea was one of the competition's winners. When she left the stage, she alleges that an investor named Jose De Dios told her, “Of course you won. You’re a total babe.”

In a statement to the Times, De Dios said that he “unequivocally did not make a defamatory remark.”

Racehl Renock, chief executive of Wethos

Renock told the Times that while she and her female partners were fundraising in March, one investor told them they "should marry for money" and that he "liked it when women fought back because he would always win." He also allegedly told the women that they needed "more attractive photos of themselves in their presentation."

Renock declined to name the investor, but did say that she and her partners dealt with the harassment because they “couldn’t imagine a world in which that $500,000 wasn’t on the table anymore.”

Kathryn Minshew, founder of the Muse

Minshew is the founder of the Muse, a start-up company that seeks to help millennials find jobs. Minshew told Wired about her experiences in the startup world in 2014. But recently, the entrepreneur told the Times she had been harassed by several male investors on multiple occasions. She declined to name the alleged offenders.

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