Binary Capital co-founder and managing partner Justin Caldbeck is taking an indefinite leave of absence. He has also issued a public apology regarding the matter.
While the has not expressly accepted or denied any wrongdoing on his part, the wording o the apology leaves little doubt. Take a look:
The past 24 hours have been the darkest of my life. I have made many mistakes over the course of my career, some of which were brought to light this week. To say I’m sorry about my behavior is a categorical understatement. Still, I need to say it: I am so, so sorry.
I direct my apology first to those women who I’ve made feel uncomfortable in any way, at any time – but also to the greater tech ecosystem, a community that I have utterly failed.
The power dynamic that exists in venture capital is despicably unfair. The gap of influence between male venture capitalists and female entrepreneurs is frightening and I hate that my behavior played a role in perpetrating a gender-hostile environment. It is outrageous and unethical for any person to leverage a position of power in exchange for sexual gain, it is clear to me now that that is exactly what I’ve done.
I am deeply ashamed of my lack of self-awareness. I am grateful to Niniane, Susan, Leiti, and the other women who spoke up for providing me with a sobering look into my own character and behavior that I can no longer ignore. The dynamic of this industry makes it hard to speak up, but this is the type of action that leads to progress and change, starting with me.
I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from Binary Capital, the firm I co-founded in 2014. I will be seeking professional counseling as I take steps to reflect on my behavior with and attitude towards women. I will find ways to learn from this difficult experience – and to help drive necessary changes in the broader venture community.
The Binary team will also be taking measures to ensure that the firm is a safe place for founders of all backgrounds to find the support and resources they need to change the world, without abuse of power or mistreatment of any person.
I owe a heartfelt apology to my family, my investors, my portfolio, and the team at Binary, who have been completely blindsided and in no way deserve the pain I’ve caused. But most of all I apologize again to those who I’ve hurt during the course of my career – and for the damage I’ve done to the industry I care so deeply about.
Well, there seriously seems to be something wrong with this whole corporate culture. As many as half a dozen women who are currently working in the tech industry have come up with allegations against Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Justin Caldbeck, co-founder and managing partner of Binary Capital. In their allegations, the women have claimed that they received unsolicited and unwanted advances from the VC.
This includes prominent names like Niniane Wang, co-creator of Google Desktop and a prior CTO of Minted; and Susan Ho and Leiti Hsu, co-founders of Journy. Any information available on the topic is pretty scant at the time but we are looking intp the matter.
Harassment is a very serious issue. In an industry like tech, which already suffers from a lack of women talent, this kind of behavior only serves to further accentuate the issues that can be faced by a female employee at her workplace and drive her away from work. And that is not even considering the detrimental effect to the company.
We don’t even need to go far.Consider the world’s most valuable startup, Uber. The company descended into chaos after ex-employee Susan Fowler claimed that she was harassed and her complaints received no succor from anyone. We have already seen the overage this matter got and the damage Uber took as a result of this.
Meanwhile, several other VCs have also condemned Caldbeck’s behavior.
Speaking on the topic, Ellen Pao said:
It should be remembered that Pao was herself involved in a similar case and had sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers over sexual harassment and discrimination. However, she lost the case and had to pay a quarter million dollars in costs.
Speaking with the TechCrunch Caldeback said:
Obviously, I am deeply disturbed by these allegations. While significant context is missing from the incidents reported by The Information, I deeply regret ever causing anyone to feel uncomfortable. The fact is that I have been privileged to have worked with female entrepreneurs throughout my career and I sincerely apologize to anyone who I made uncomfortable by my actions. There’s no denying this is an issue in the venture community, and I hate that my behavior has contributed to it.
Meanwhile, let’s see if the case goes to court, and if the allegations are proved either way.