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The executive who led Carta’s gender-pay gap study is suing over gender discrimination

July 22, 2020, 2:21 PM UTC

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Carta, the buzzy unicorn that helps other startups manage their equity and ownership, is well known for its paper advocating for the closing of the gender wealth gap in Silicon Valley.

On Tuesday, the woman who oversaw the publication of that paper sued the company, alleging gender discrimination. Emily Kramer, the former vice president of marketing at the company valued at $3.1 billion, accused it of paying her less than her male coworkers and alleged wrongful termination

Carta, which is seeking to rival giants such as the Nasdaq exchange with a private share trading platform, has raised from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and ridden the wave of private companies staying away from public markets. It provides shareholder management software to startups including Robinhood. And it began publishing an annual report on gender-based startup equity in 2018. The study has revealed largely expected gaps: In 2019, women represented 13% of startup founders, yet own just 7% of founder equity, per the report.

But, alleges Kramer, Carta was not putting its study to practice within its own company.

“It’s become increasingly clear that ‘mission-driven’ Silicon Valley companies are often built on hypocritical lies, but as my lawsuit alleges, Carta takes this to an entirely new level,” Kramer wrote in a Medium post. The lawsuit alleged that Kramer’s time at the company, she faced “increasingly hostile, sexist harassment in response to her complaints of sex discrimination.”

Carta CEO Henry Ward, the lawsuit alleged, repeatedly called Kramer an “asshole” during a one-on-one meeting, adding that “no one likes you” and that Kramer had gotten a “pass” as she was a woman. The document also states that while Kramer called for greater diversity within Carta, the company made little effort to change hiring practices. 

Carta has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Rise of the robots: Investors often say the coronavirus is “accelerating” existing trends—and boosting interest in the one towards automation (fun fact: This month, fast food chain White Castle partnered with startup Miso Robotics to introduce a burger-grilling robot in its Chicago-area restaurants starting in September).

On Tuesday, Dexterity, a robotics startup that makes industrial robotics software, announced that it had $56.2 million in debt and venture funding since inception from investors including Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Obvious Ventures, and Pacific West Bank. Most recently, the company’s tech has been used to pack baked goods for brands like Sara Lee. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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- Innovium, a San Jose, Calif.-based  a leading provider of switch silicon solutions for cloud and edge data centers, raised $170 million in funding. Investors including Premji Invest, DFJ Growth, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Greylock, Capricorn, WRVI, Qualcomm Ventures, Redline, S-Cubed Capital and DAG. 

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