Sex and the Valley
In her gender discrimination lawsuit against managers at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, junior partner Ellen Pao didn’t seem to be holding back. But a complaint she filed with the state of California first includes some accusations that never made it into the lawsuit.
Betabeat obtained a copy of the complaint, which Ms. Pao filed with the California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing a month before her discrimination lawsuit was filed. The complaint requested an immediate right-to-sue, a standard procedure in California in which the department accepts complaints but does not investigate them. The department granted Ms. Pao the automatic right to take the issue to court.
In the complaint, Ms. Pao says she believes managers at Kleiner Perkins had complained about her to others outside the firm “by among other things making unjustified critical comments about me to others in positions to affect my access to new employment and business opportunities.”
The “sexism in tech” debate is about to get new legs with the news that Ellen Pao, a partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, is suing the company for sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Ms. Pao has been an investment partner at Kleiner Perkins since 2005 and is in charge of a host of digital ventures in the company’s portfolio, including magazine reading iPad app Flipboard.
Ms. Pao is represented by San Francisco attorney Alan B. Exelrod, who has extensive experience in successfully prosecuting sexual harassment suits, including the seminal 1994 case Weeks vs. Baker & McKenzie.
The Third Degree
Earlier this week, Yapp, the New York City-based startup that helps regular folks create customizable mobile apps, announced a round of funding from Kleiner Perkins, North Bridge Venture Partners, Cue Ball, and other individual investors.
Yapp, which was “proudly made in a basement in NYC,” starts with web-based WYSIWYG editor offering themes and features like maps and photo sharing. Consumer use those tools to build an app that can be downloaded by their friends. Yapp’s first product is based around events, helping consumers create individual apps for fund-raisers, parties, weddings, etc. But the company plans on rolling out other templates as well.
Although Yapp declined to discuss the amount, the company, which had been bootstrapped until this seed round, previously filed two Form Ds. One for a $800,000 debt round last July, and one for a $1.25 million debt round last November.
Betabeat chatted with CEO and founder Maria Seidman over Skype to talk about raising funds, wherein we made a surprising discovery.
It's Who You Know
Open secrets have a way of getting out eventually. Betabeat first reported the scuttlebutt that Klout was closing in on a round of funding in October and now AllThingsD has confirmation from Klout. The social influence measuring service admits that Series C round everyone had an inkling about did indeed close in November.
CEO Joe Fernandez said Kleiner Perkins, which lead the startup’s $8.5 million Series B round in January, also lead this round with KPCB partner Chi-Hua Chien joining the board. Although Mr. Fernandez wouldn’t comment on the price or valuation, multiple sources, including Business Insider, are reporting that it was a $30 million round, which put the company at a $200 million valuation.
Delivery From Inconvenience
It looks like a few big names have picked their horse they want to bet on in the convenience economy. And then saddled that horse up with bags of cash.
Today Zaarly, the marketplace that matches people who have tasks they need to get done with people willing to do them (for a price and within the specified time frame), just announced it picked up $14 million investment round led by Kleiner Perkins. For comparison TaskRabbit, one of Zaarly’s many competitors, raised a more modest series A at $5 million in May.
Zaarly, which counts Michael Arrington, Ashton Kutcher and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant as seed investors, also announced a would-be governor on their board: current HP CEO and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
Yesterday Betabeat broke the news that Turntable.fm was being courted by investors for a new round of $5-10 million at a $40 million valuation.
Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell published an “exclusive” later in the day reporting that Turntable had raised exactly $7.5 million at a $37.5 million valuation and that the final investor, beyond the returning group from Stickybits, was set.
That was not what we were hearing from our contacts at Turntable, which is why we wrote the funding was still in flux. This afternoon founder Seth Goldstein wrote Betabeat to confirm that they have not closed a new funding round.