Dave McClure, a founding partner of 500 Startups, has stepped down as CEO, according to a blog post issued today by 500 Startups. This came shortly after the New York Times revealed McClure had behaved inappropriately towards some women.
According to the blog post, 500 Startups cofounder Christine Tsai took on the role of CEO a few months back. This is the first time the organization has publicly addressed the matter. Tsai wrote:
In recent months, we found out that my co-founder Dave McClure had inappropriate interactions with women in the tech community. His behavior was unacceptable and not reflective of 500’s culture and values. I sincerely apologize for the choices he made and the pain and stress they’ve caused people. But apologies aren’t enough without meaningful actions and change.
Because of this, we made the decision a few months ago to change the leadership structure at 500. I took on the role of CEO, which involves directing the Management Team and overall day-to-day operations of 500.
It’s unclear why 500 Startups waited until now to disclose the reasons behind McClure’s replacement.
Earlier today, VentureBeat reported on the challenges female founders face when seeking investment. With Uber battling sexual harassment allegations and Binary Capital dealing with its dirty “open secret,” the conversation around sexual harassment in the Valley is picking up steam.
Particularly when reflecting upon my early years in Silicon Valley, there is no doubt I said and did things that made some women feel awkward, unwelcome, insecure, and/or discouraged. In social settings, under the guise of joking, being collegial, flirting, or having a good time, I undoubtedly caused some women to question themselves, retreat, feel alone, and worry they can’t be their authentic selves. By stupidly perpetuating a culture rife with busting chops, teasing, and peer pressure to go out drinking, I made some women feel self-conscious, anxious, and fear they might not be taken seriously.
I am sorry.
500 Startups did not immediately respond to a request for comment.