Saturday 21 April 2018

Tech's gender problems being ignored by investors - Costolo

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said he wanted to see the industry improve gender dynamics
Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said he wanted to see the industry improve gender dynamics

Emily Chang and Isabel Gottlieb

After Silicon Valley was rocked by several recent allegations of sexual harassment, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that the reality of the gender dynamics in the industry was "probably way worse than we've seen so far".

"The investors in some of these venture firms are simply ignoring it, or paying lip service to it and ignoring it, and funding some of these enterprises anyway," Mr Costolo said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

"It's widely understood that some of these issues were things that had been said in the background, and yet new funds were raised."

Mr Costolo added that he would like to see the industry do more than sign the "decency pledge" that LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman proposed, saying that investors in venture funds should consider backing more of those led by women or people of colour, who are under-represented in the industry. Mr Hoffman had proposed a zero-tolerance policy of venture capitalists making advances toward portfolio company employees.

"I would like to see more of the LPs and institutional investors putting their money where their mouth is," he said.

Mr Costolo, who is now head of fitness startup Chorus, added that he was bracing for "a lot more volatility" in financial markets. "Markets have been under-pricing risk with everything going on in the world,'' he said, "things going on in Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East."

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