Spark Capital steps away from its investment in Dispo

March 22, 2021, 2:49 PM UTC

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A month after it was revealed to be leading a $20 million Series A in the business, Spark Capital says it has decided to “sever all ties” with camera app company Dispo.

Co-founded by social media influencer David Dobrik, the disposable camera app recently shot to prominence, valuing the young business at $200 million following February’s Series A round. But its image soured in the past week. 

On Tuesday, Business Insider published an investigation in which a woman accused a former member of Dobrik’s “Vlog Squad”—a group of video-blogging friends linked to the co-founder—of rape. 

And on Sunday, Dobrik decided to leave and step down from the board “as not to distract from the company’s growth,” a Dispo spokesperson said in a statement over email. The status of Dobrik’s stake in the business is still unclear.

Around the same time, Spark Capital too said it had decided to distance itself from the company. 

“In light of recent news about the Vlog Squad and David Dobrik, the cofounder of Dispo, we have made the decision to sever all ties with the company,” Spark Capital released in a tweet. “We have stepped down from our position on the board and we are in the process of making arrangements to ensure we do not profit from our recent investment in Dispo.”

It’s certainly not a common occurrence for a venture capital firm to back away from an investment in such a manner—so it’s still unclear what form those arrangements will take from a practical standpoint.

Under very different circumstances, Sequoia Capital—coincidentally around the same time last year—stepped away from an investment in Finix. Due to a conflict of interest with its investment in payments startup Stripe, Sequoia reportedly ceded its board seat, information rights, and more while still leaving $21 million with Finix.

MEGA TRAIN: Over the weekend, Canadian Pacific Railway (TO:CP) agreed to acquire Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), a Missouri-based railway network, for $25 billion. In an interview with Bloomberg, CP Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel framed the deal in very, very 2021 terms.  The network, which now runs between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, would be bolstered by manufacturers looking to bring operations back to North America after the pandemic exposed supply chain risks. And, he says, the merger would mean more traffic by rail than truck—the former being more fuel-efficient. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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