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Silicon Valley VC quits firm amid reports of sexual misconduct

Shervin Pishevar is leaving Sherpa Capital to focus on legal action directed at what he calls a "smear campaign" against him.

Hyperloop Technologies co-founder Shervin Pishevar speaks at Web Summit 2015.

Shervin Pishevar has resigned from Sherpa Capital, the venture capital firm he co-founded in 2013.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Shervin Pishevar, an embattled venture capitalist accused of sexual harassment and assault, is stepping down from the Silicon Valley investment firm he co-founded.

Pishevar announced his resignation from Sherpa Capital on Thursday, a little more than a week after he said he was taking leave from the VC firm and Hyperloop One to focus on legal action directed at what he calls a "smear campaign" against him. Pishevar, who denies the allegations, said his resignation was intended to insulate the firm from the controversy.

"My truculent opponents are out to settle scores that have nothing to do with Sherpa, and I refuse to allow my enemies to drag my Sherpa family into their fight with me," Pishevar said in a statement. "That is why I have decided on my own accord to end my association with Sherpa Capital, effective immediately."

Pishevar, an early investor in Uber, has been accused of sexually assaulting or harassing five women he met in a professional context, according to a Bloomberg report last month. He was also arrested in May for allegedly sexually assaulting a 31-year-old woman in a London hotel but wasn't charged.

Pishevar filed a lawsuit last month against Definers Public Affairs, accusing the public relations firm of carrying out a "malicious smear campaign." Definers Public Affairs has denied any involvement in work related to Pishevar.

The development is the latest in a slew of controversies involving men behaving badly in the tech world, as well as in entertainment, politics and media. The incidents have prompted several executives at venture capital funds to step down, and raises broader questions of how women are treated in these fields.

Pishevar founded Sherpa Capital with Scott Stanford in 2013, focusing on early stage and growth startups in the tech industry. In addition to Uber, the San Francisco-based firm's investments include Airbnb, Slack and Munchery.

"We thank Shervin for his contributions and service in co-founding Sherpa Capital," the firm said in a statement. "We are deeply committed to our culture of integrity, inclusion, and respect and will continue to put these values into action through all of Sherpa Capital's activities, including the founders and companies we support."

Pishevar isn't the only VC to have allegedly harassed women. Steve Jurvetson, one of Silicon Valley's most high-profile venture capitalists, left his namesake firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, last month amid a sexual harassment investigation, according to Recode. Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck left his job in June after a story in The Information said he'd allegedly made sexual advances at female entrepreneurs.

Update, Dec. 15 at 6:50 a.m. PT: Adds Sherpa Capital comment.

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