Photo: Dan Frommer, Business Insider
Ellen Pao’s gender-discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins has left a lot of entrepreneurs in a tough spot—but none as tough as Mike McCue, the CEO of Flipboard.Now he’s spoken up with praise for her—and for Kleiner Perkins.
@owenthomas Ellen has been and continues to be fantastic to work with as has KP. Both are excellent and have helped tremendously.
— Mike McCue (@mmccue) June 6, 2012
Pao remains on the board of Flipboard, a maker of smartphone and tablet content-reading apps. It’s at the nexus of mobile and social trends Kleiner Perkins is betting on, and it’s one of those tentpole investments that Kleiner uses to show that it’s still got that Silicon Valley mojo.
In 2010, McCue singled out Pao for praise in an answer on Quora about why Kleiner was still one of the Valley’s great venture-capital firms. Pao worked with McCue at his previous company, Tellme, a previous Kleiner investment, where she negotiated technology-licensing agreements.
So count McCue on Team Ellen. And Team Kleiner.
This just goes to show how painful and personal Pao’s lawsuit is for the Valley’s entrepreneurs, who don’t want to pick sides.
It also shows what a tight pickle Kleiner Perkins is in—because it has to find a way to defend itself against Pao’s lawsuit in a way that doesn’t jeopardize key relationships with entrepreneurs like McCue.