Steve Jurvetson Quits Venture Capital Firm Amid Investigation


The inquiry is still going on. The firm did not say what in particular it was investigating, or comment on the timing of Mr. Jurvetson’s departure.


The venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson speaking in Helsinki in 2016.

Rex Features, via Associated Press Images

On Monday, he wrote on Twitter, “I am leaving DFJ to focus on personal matters, including taking legal action against those whose false statements have defamed me.”

Mr. Jurvetson has been a fixture in Silicon Valley. He was an early investor in Hotmail and other successful companies, and is seen about town with tech celebrities like Elon Musk and the cast of the TV show “Silicon Valley.”

His departure shows how allegations of sexual misconduct have continued to reverberate since detailed reports emerged over the summer about widespread sexual harassment of female entrepreneurs by venture investors. In Silicon Valley, the power dynamic is particularly stark.

Venture capitalists, who are almost all men, hold an extraordinary amount of power, controlling the money that start-up entrepreneurs need to try to turn their idea into the next billion-dollar company. The system largely runs on reputation and word of mouth. Venture capital firms generally have no human resources officials, and entrepreneurs are not employees of the investors.

Several high-profile men in the industry have stepped down from their jobs after harassment allegations, including Dave McClure, who founded the start-up incubator 500 Start-ups, and Tom Frangione, the chief operating officer of one of the oldest venture capital firms, Greylock Partners. Several other men issued apologies, sometimes while denying allegations of misconduct at the same time.

As more women in the technology and venture capital industries have come forward to discuss episodes of harassment and discrimination, some prominent women in venture capital have created a group called Female Founder Office Hours, which aims to pair female entrepreneurs with successful women in venture capital who can offer advice and support as they found companies.

“Creating more successful women in tech is a huge part of what needs to happen for the industry to change,” said Jess Lee, a partner at Sequoia Capital.

The venture industry’s trade association, the National Venture Capital Association, began a monthslong listening tour with founders and investors. In an interview in August, Bobby Franklin, the president of the association, said that he was spending more time on the harassment issue than anything else. “I’ve called for the first time in my four-year tenure a special board meeting to discuss this,” he said.

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