I don’t know how to describe this so let me start off with the words of Sarah Nadav, a startup founder who came up with a new idea:
Let’s talk about an uncomfortable truth, sexual harassment and assault is common in the tech industry. The only reason we don’t hear more about it is because the men who perpetrate it the most are also the ones who hold the “keys to the kingdom”- as investors or powerful industry figures, women don’t want to ruin their careers by speaking out.
So I have come to a conclusion. I am adding a “sexual misconduct clause” into all of my investment agreements. If an investor or employee of the investor/accelerator/incubator makes a sexual advance towards me or anyone in my company (Civilize), then they are stripped of all of their shares in Civilize (even the ones that have vested) and there will be a public notice to shareholders as to the reason why.
Notice the jump from sexual assault to a sexual advance, which could mean anything including asking someone out for coffee. On top of that, not only is there no due process when an alleged “sexual advance” occurs, but how easily this could be used for fraud. Want to steal an investors shares in a startup? That’s easy to do with this since all you have to do is accuse the investor (or one of their employees) of asking someone out. Who would want to invest in such a scenario?
Or what if the person who is falsely accused of asking someone out is gay? Or a gay individual actually asks someone out of the same sex? That will be an immediate fraud lawsuit plus the accusation of discrimination against gays and homophobia. And that has to be an issue, because she says that ” sexual harassment and assault is common in the tech industry”. Remember, we keep hearing about how few women are in tech. For sexual harassment and assault to be endemic in tech, that has to mean the primary victims of this alleged epidemic are men not women.
I don’t know how this would be enforceable. Take how she listed employees of an incubator as being bound by this clause. Every employee of the incubator would have to be informed and sign a document to that effect. Any smart employee of said incubator will just avoid Sarah Nadav and her company. Another reason that it would not be enforceable is the question of how it would apply to Sarah Nadav herself. What happens if she (or one of her employees) asks out an investor, an employee of an investor, or an employee at an incubator? Why does she and her employees have the right to ask people out working for their incubator or investor, but not the reverse. For that matter, someone who is pissed off at her could use this policy against her by falsely accusing her of sexual advances and threatening to use this policy against the accuser.
Where did Sarah Nadav get this insane idea? Read her own words:
Let me walk you through my process:
Yesterday I read Lena Dunham’s Linkedin post
We don’t need to continue reading after that, but it gets worse. She is by her own admission filled with rage about (potential) investors:
While other CEOs are worried about getting funded, I am shit scared that one of them will invest.
Every time I get up to pitch, instead of sharing my vision I am exploding with rage. And then I apologize and promise to do better, and change my pitch to one that is even more antagonizing then the last.
I was literally told that I need to work harder on hiding my thinly veiled contempt for the investors.
The good news is that no one will have to deal with her “sexual advance clause” and its fraud because she will have already scared all investors away. Despite this, Sarah Nadav is worried that an investor will want to have dinner with her:
Because here is my deepest fear- I am afraid that one of these men, these bad actors will end up investing in Civilize. He will have a board seat, he will own part of my life’s work. One day, he will offer to take me out to dinner and I will think it is professional but he will have another agenda (because in his mind lunch is for business and dinner is for lovers but I didn’t get the memo), he will make an advance, I won’t know what to do, everything will get awkward and I will be afraid of making an enemy of him because he will have the power to oust me from my company.
I have good news for Sarah Nadav. She never needs to worry about an investor (or any other man) asking her out to dinner. No investor will invest in her startup after seeing her rage and contempt. No man (investor or otherwise) will ask her to dinner because they won’t want to be alone with her. Given her rage, paranoia, and all around crazy, no man will want to be anywhere near her without multiple witnesses. And that will be true for many women too. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Sarah Nadav has decided to shout, “I’m insane. Don’t invest in my startup.” We have all gotten the message.