Tech investor accused of sexual harassment takes leave

Justin Caldbeck, co-founder of Silicon Valley VC firm Binary Capital, apologizes to those he hurt and "to the greater tech ecosystem."

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
2 min read

Justin Caldbeck takes part in a fireside chat in November 2016.

YouTube/Screenshot by CNET

In just the latest misconduct scandal to hit Silicon Valley, a prominent tech investor accused of sexually harassing female entrepreneurs has apologized for his actions and is taking a leave of absence.

Justin Caldbeck, co-founder of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Binary Capital, on Friday afternoon sent Axios a statement saying he leveraged his "position of power in exchange for sexual gain" and as a result is taking an indefinite leave of absence and is seeking professional counseling.

On Thursday, tech news site The Information reported that six women had accused Caldback of "unwanted and inappropriate advances" while discussing business.  In the statement to Axios, later sent to CNET, he apologizes to "those women who I've made feel uncomfortable in any way, at any time -- but also to the greater tech ecosystem, a community that I have utterly failed."

His admission and apology come on the heels of the forced resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, whose company has been investigated for sex discrimination and unprofessional business practices. And it sharpens the focus on the tech industry's perceived bad-boy culture, triggering calls for change.

In his statement, Caldbeck himself noted the larger problem.

"The power dynamic that exists in venture capital is despicably unfair," he said. "The gap of influence between male venture capitalists and female entrepreneurs is frightening and I hate that my behavior played a role in perpetrating a gender-hostile environment."

Binary Capital declined further comment beyond Caldbeck's statement.

First published on June 23, 4:57 p.m. PT.
Update, June 25 at 1:34 p.m.: Adds confirmation of Caldbeck's statement and Binary Capital declining further comment.

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