Last week, in the wake of multiple sexual assault accusations, high-profile Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar announced that he would “end his association” with Sherpa Capital, the venture firm he founded.
While Pishevar continues to deny the claims, some speculate that his departure could mark the beginning of a new wave of sexual harassment scandals in the Valley, much like those we’ve seen in Hollywood and Washington over the past several months.
Justice is Sherv’d
Last month, Bloomberg published the accounts of 5 women who alleged that Pishevar used his power to make inappropriate sexual advances during his time on Uber’s board, and as an investor.
One entrepreneur recounted how Pishevar “kissed and groped her” during a dinner to discuss an investment in her company, while another said he “tried to put his tongue down [her] throat” after he invited her to his home to offer “career advice.”
Insiders say Pishevar left Sherpa Capital voluntarily and maintains his innocence, writing off the allegations as “opponents out to settle scores” via “untruthful attacks.”
But Sherpa’s scandal isn’t an isolated incident. On top of Pishevar’s transgressions, Bloomberg surfaced documents last week from a lawsuit against Microsoft, after the company offered an intern a full-time job despite being investigated for the rape of one of his fellow interns.
Silicon Valley is at a crossroads
As it stands, many young tech companies don’t have formal policies in place to handle sexual harassment in the workplace (a recent survey showed only 17% currently have formal plans in place to promote diversity and inclusion).
In other words, the way these high profile companies respond to having their skeletons dragged from the closet will likely set a precedent for the industry moving forward.
And, if Hollywood is any indication, we’re guessing big tech’s closets are looking pretty spooky right now.