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A template for investor/founder passionate nuisance policy

This routine template is a collaborative bid by a organisation of whistleblowers, investors, founders, and activists, gathered by TechCrunch. The full list of contributors can be found below.

Venture capitalists need to adopt grave policies to strengthen startup founders from passionate harassment, assault, and taste via a fundraising process. The routine template next was combined to promote a origination of comprehensive, enforceable investor/founder passionate nuisance policies. It also seeks to reduce a separator so more people can courageously pronounce up against their harassers but fear of retaliation.

We wish to see all VC firms pull from this template to formalize their possess contracting policies, settle them with urgency, and consistently follow-through with ejecting or punishing staff that violate them.

It’s critical to acknowledge that this is merely a jumping off indicate that should assistance beget examination and, some-more importantly, movement on a partial of firms and founders. The long-term ability of people in energy to impact a quality of life of entrepreneurs, employees and users is estimable of some-more discussion.

[For some-more on how firms can safeguard satisfactory enforcement, and how this informative change towards goodness can equivocate causing a chilling outcome on fundraising for female-led startups, check out TechCrunch editor Josh Constine’s concomitant op-ed “The need for industry-wide investor/founder nuisance policy.” Constine also coordinated, gathered and edited a information contributed to this template. -Ed.]

Founders should design and pull their investors or those they cruise partnering with to have done a transparent joining to expelling harassment. Those looking to support this expostulate can share this template with a hashtag #HarassmentPolicy. 

Purpose And Context

  • Declaration of a idea to discharge passionate nuisance and taste in startup funding
  • Statement of values per since safeguarding founders from nuisance by investors is required due to a imbalanced energy dynamic
  • Explanation that customary  sexual nuisance law does not sufficient cover a investor/founder relationship, so intentional routine is needed
  • Recognition that nuisance and taste perpetrators and recipients can be of any gender or identity, yet many mostly women are tormented by men
  • Discussion of a need for a enlightenment of pithy consent
  • Encouragement of founders and LPs to direct grave passionate nuisance routine from investors with whom they work
  • Note that meetings after-hours or in spontaneous locations are partial of a fundraising process, and that standard passionate nuisance policies do not demarcate suitable hit in these settings
  • Acknowledgement that startups also need clever inner passionate nuisance and taste policies
  • Context that regulating passionate nuisance and taste is partial of a incomparable need to residence all kinds of taste and nuisance in a record and startup industry, including sexism, racism, ageism, and ableism

Investor/Founder Sexual Harassment And Discrimination Policy

  • Zero-tolerance for investors sincerely intimately assaulting, harassing, or cultured opposite founders or their teams
  • Stern punishment for other violations of a policy
  • Scope of those organisation by a routine that over investment partners might embody any investment preference makers including VC organisation staff, advisors, scouts, house members, or anyone else that could retort opposite a founder, or change a appropriation preference about a startup
  • Scope of those stable by a routine over founders receiving investment, including founders who representation or plead intensity investment with a firm, their fundraising teams, and potentially all staff, and anyone a organisation tries to partisan to their portfolio companies

Prohibited Forms Of Harassment Or Discrimination

Level A: Verbal Or Gender Harassment

  • Inappropriate comments about earthy coming or regretful life
  • Degrading passionate or sexist remarks, innuendos, and jokes

Level B: Direct Sexual Propositions

  • Sexual advances including steady requests for dates, drinks, or personal contact
  • Inappropriate sexually-themed communication in chairman or online
  • Sexual invitations including requests for passionate activity or regretful meetings during one’s home or hotel room

Level C: Sexual Coercion Or Bribery

  • Quid Pro Quo nuisance including substantial or pithy requests for passionate activity or overpower about nuisance in sell for prerogative including funding, referrals, destiny employment, promotion, or invitation to disdainful events
  • Sexual duress underneath hazard of punishment including defamation, firing, disastrous reviews, or restraint funding

Level D: Sexual Assault

  • Unconsented earthy hit of a passionate nature, including touching, groping, or kissing
  • Sexual hit but correct agree due to intoxication
  • Rape


  • Enforcement routine with consequences for any turn of defilement will be internally published and accessible to impending portfolio companies, LPs, or hires to a organisation as partial of a due industry routine
  • Training in following a policy, a enforcement, and censure stating procedures will be imperative all new and existent organisation group members, and updated regularly
  • Violators of a routine face punishment including ejection from a firm
  • Subjects of nuisance will be stable from plea or being publicly named
  • Whistleblowers will be stable from plea or being publicly named
  • Firm members wakeful of violations who do not news a problem to a organisation or outward go-between will be punished in correspondence with a firm’s duress routine for willfully ignoring or enabling violations
  • Complaints will be quickly addressed with priority over day-to-day business
  • Resolution disputes will be referred to eccentric third-party examination and mediation
  • Agreement to do due industry on impending organisation employees and  not intentionally sinecure or work with those justly dismissed by other firms for violating a policy
  • Clear discipline on how past violations by someone before to operative with a organisation will be handled, including either all past violations are punishable or if there is a government of limitation
  • A routine for what happens to before investments, in-progress deals, house seats, and fundraising connected to a try partner dismissed for violating this policy, such as adding clauses to terms sheets, singular partner agreements, and ubiquitous partner handling agreements

Supplemental Recommendations

  • Scheduling unchanging in-person anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all new and existent organisation members
  • Setting aside long-term appropriation to compensate for outward eccentric examination and intervention of doubtful resolutions to complaints, such that mediators aren’t incentivized to strengthen a firm
  • Avoiding non-disparagement clauses in contracts that are designed to overpower those who are tormented or whistleblowers
  • Proactively contemplating portfolio companies per either they or their colleagues have been harassed
  • Disclosure to LPs, portfolio companies, staff, and when appropriate, a public, if someone is ejected from a organisation since of passionate nuisance or taste routine violations to daunt them enchanting in a same function elsewhere

Contributing Writers:

  • Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy, first CEO of Cheryl Yeoh Co
  • Niniane Wang, owner of Evertoon
  • Susan Ho, owner of Journy
  • Sukhinder Singh Cassidy Lesley Grossblatt, theBoardlist
  • Shaherose Charania, co-founder of Women 2.0, strategist during 23 Design
  • Kate Brodock, CEO of Women 2.0
  • Susan Hobbs, partner during CrunchFund
  • Dave Morin, partner during Slow Ventures
  • Jacqueline Garavente, researcher during Union Square Ventures
  • Eric Bahn, former try partner during 500 Startups
  • Elizabeth Yin, former try partner during 500 Startups
  • Hunter Walk, first partner of Homebrew
  • Nicole Patrice De Member, CEO and owner of INDAIS
  • Ingrid Sanders, businessman and advisor
  • Ernestine Fu, partner during Alsop Louie Partners

Special Thanks For Inspiration:

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