- Kris Duggan, who founded and served as CEO of BetterWorks, is starting a new company.
- The new company already has funding and is hiring, although Duggan offered few details about it.
- Duggan stepped down as BetterWorks’ CEO in July after he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually harassing an employee.
Kris Dugan, the founder of BetterWorks, is launching a new startup – just six months after he stepped down as CEO of the enterprise software company amid accusations that he sexually harassed an employee.
Duggan announced his new venture on Wednesday on LinkedIn. He gave few details about the company he’s starting, beyond that he already has funding for it and is hiring.
The startup is “pursuing a marketplace opportunity in a very big and traditional market,” he said in his LinkedIn post.
It’s unclear who’s funding the new company. Duggan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move marks a quick turnaround for Duggan. Last July, he stepped down as CEO of BetterWorks after a former BetterWorks employee sued him and the company charging that he had assaulted her and the company had fostered a hostile work environment.
According to the lawsuit, Duggan allegedly got drunk during an offsite work retreat, entered a cabin occupied by the plaintiff in the complaint, Beatrice Kim, and touched Kim’s legs despite her asking him to stop. The lawsuit also charged that Duggan oversaw a company that tolerated jokes about women, rape, and female body parts and didn’t take seriously women’s complaints about sexual harassment.
Duggan was one of many in tech accused of sexual improprieties – but one of the first to attempt a rebound
The lawsuit, which is still active, came amid a flurry of accusations against tech executives and investors charging them with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination. Duggan is one of the first of those hit by such allegations to attempt a public restart of his career.
Duggan has disputed several of the claims in the suit and said he stepped down as CEO only to “lessen the distraction” it was causing the company. At the time, Duggan remained at BetterWorks as its president. He’s now resigned from that role, though he remains on BetterWorks’ board, a company representative said.
The board also issued a statement that said an independent investigation found there was no violation of company policy.
“Following a thorough review of the facts by the independent investigator, and a review of the investigator’s process by the board, the board concluded that there was no violation of the company’s anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or any other policies. BetterWorks and its board are committed to fostering a positive work environment for all of its employees,” the statement reads.
Despite this, Duggan’s quick rebound from the allegations of impropriety has left a bad taste in the mouths of at least some in Silicon Valley.
In a post on Blind, an app where workers can anonymously discuss their employers, one BetterWorks employee noted Duggan’s rapid turnaround from being in the news for allegedly assaulting someone to announcing that he has funding for a new company.
“Rich white dudes can really get away with anything, can’t they?” the employee said in the post.