The tech investor who apologised for being a ‘creep’ resigns from 500 Startups after being accused of sexual harassment

Dave McClure
Dave McClure apologised for his behaviour towards women. ‘I’m a creep. I’m sorry.’ Getty Images

Dave McClure, the founder of startup incubator 500 Startups, resigned from his position as general partner following pressure from the accelerator’s investors. 

500 Startups had announced on Friday that McClure was no longer in charge of day-to-day operations of the Silicon Valley startup accelerator following an investigation into claims of sexual harassment. McClure was one of several venture capitalists named in a report in the New York Times that day that detailed a pattern of inappropriate behaviour with women.

His removal from 500 Startups day-to-day management wasn’t enough for some of the firm’s investors, according to Axios, which first reported on McClure’s resignation. One of the largest backers of 500 Startups asked for McClure to resign from his post as the firm’s general partner, Axios reported. In an email to investors sent Monday, 500 Startups new CEO, Christine Tsai, said the firm “cannot be certain” there will not be future claims regarding McClure’s behaviour, Axios reported.

McClure confirmed his resignation on Twitter:

500 Startups did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McClure apologised publicly on Saturday and said he “selfishly” took advantage of situations where he should have known better.

“While I’d like to believe that I’m not a bad or evil person, regardless it’s clear that some of my past actions have hurt or offended several women,” McClure wrote in a blog post. “And I probably deserve to be called a creep.”

In its story, the New York Times cited one particular woman, Sarah Kunst, who told the paper McClure harassed her after she talked with him about a job at 500 Startups. McClure apologised to Kunst in his post, describing advances he made towards her happened “over drinks, late one night in a small group.”

“My apologies to Sarah for my inappropriate behaviour in a setting I thought was social, but in hindsight was clearly not,” he wrote.

The revelations about McClure are the latest in a string of recent events that have exposed an ugly reality in Silicon Valley, America’s capital of innovation and a self-styled bastion of progressive values.

A growing chorus of women have come forward and spoken out about their experiences being harassed in the male-dominated industry, and the result has rocked the valley’s longstanding power structure. Venture capital firms have collapsed, and Uber, the most valuable private tech startup, is undergoing a cultural reformation to save its company.

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