Sex and the Valley

Mysteries of Kleiner Perkins: No One Wants to Say How Much Ellen Pao and Other Partners Make

Kleiner Perkins' partnership agreements may become public after a hearing on July 10.
ellen pao kpcb team grid Mysteries of Kleiner Perkins: No One Wants to Say How Much Ellen Pao and Other Partners Make

Ms. Pao and KP peers.

Compensation is central to the discrimination case filed against Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byer by junior partner Ellen Pao, which alleges among other things that women are paid less than men. So far, no details about compensation have been made public either by the plaintiff or the defendant, and Kleiner Perkins would like to keep it that way. 

The documents that would prove or disprove Ms. Pao’s claim have been filed in the San Francisco Supreme Court, but they are sealed unless the judge decides otherwise at a hearing on July 10.

The documents will put KP at a competitive disadvantage, the firm’s lawyer argued. (The San Jose Mercury News found an anonymous venture capitalist to say otherwise, for whatever that’s worth. Hardly anyone in the industry, including tech news blog PandoDaily, seems to want to go on record about this case until it’s been hashed out in front of a judge–although superangel Dave McClure voiced public support with a “hang in there ellen” on Quora.)

The compensation details are spelled out in the legal agreements, which were drawn up when KP raised each of its funds starting in 2005. The firm just raised a $525 million new fund last month. KP says these agreements also require partners, including Ms. Pao, to seek arbitration outside of court instead of litigation in the event of a dispute.

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