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Tesla, SpaceX board member takes leave after sexual harassment claims

Tesla, SpaceX board member takes leave after sexual harassment claimsEnlarge[1] / DFJ Partner Steve Jurvetson speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 at Pier 48 on September 18, 2017 in San Francisco, California.Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch[2]

Steve Jurvetson, a partner at a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm that bears his name–Draper Fisher Jurvetson–has left the company amid accusations of sexual harassment. However, he is still listed as a “partner[3]” on the DFJ website. Jurvetson currently serves on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX, but he has taken a leave as a result of these allegations, according to CNBC[4].

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Jurvetson wrote that he would be pursuing “legal action,” but he did not respond to Ars’ query as to when or where such action would be taking place.

I am leaving DFJ to focus on personal matters, including taking legal action against those whose false statements have defamed me. — Steve Jurvetson (@dfjsteve) November 13, 2017[5]

It is not yet clear exactly who is accusing Jurvetson of what. However, Recode linked to a public Facebook post[6] by Keri Kukral, CEO of a startup called Raw Science, from October 23, in which she wrote, “women approached by a founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson should be careful.

Predatory behavior is rampant.” Heidi Roizen, an operating partner at DFJ, wrote in late October[7] that in the company’s “entire history,” there has never been an official complaint “alleging misconduct by anyone on our team.” “That said, during the summer this year, we heard about allegations of misconduct by one (and only one) of our partners from a third party,” she continued. “We felt the responsible thing to do was to launch an independent investigation, and so we did.

It is still ongoing.” Roizen also seemingly dismissed Kukral’s conclusions, saying, “I don’t need an investigation to state with certainty that this is patently wrong. I am too grizzled and old to write bullshit about a company to please my boss.

I’m writing this because I believe it to be true.” In a statement provided to Recode[8], DFJ wrote that “by mutual agreement,” Jurvetson would be parting ways with the firm. “DFJ’s culture has been, and will continue to be, built on the values of respect and integrity in all of our interactions,” the statement continued. “We are focused on the success of our portfolio companies, as well as the long-term vision for the firm and will continue to operate with the highest professional standards.”

Last year, President Barack Obama named Jurvetson a presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship. As the child of Estonian immigrants, Jurvetson is also particularly well-connected among Estonian tech startups–he was an early investor in Skype[9]. CNBC also reported, [10]“A number of venture investors have been forced out of their firms in recent months because of harassment claims.

They include Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital and Dave McClure of 500 Startups.”

Neither Kukral, DFJ, nor Jurvetson immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.


  1. ^ Enlarge (cdn.arstechnica.net)
  2. ^ Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch (www.gettyimages.com)
  3. ^ partner (dfj.com)
  4. ^ CNBC (www.cnbc.com)
  5. ^ November 13, 2017 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ Facebook post (www.facebook.com)
  7. ^ wrote in late October (heidiroizen.tumblr.com)
  8. ^ Recode (www.recode.net)
  9. ^ early investor in Skype (arstechnica.com)
  10. ^ CNBC also reported, (www.cnbc.com)

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