Tech investor Dave McClure, 51, co-founder of investment firm 500 Startups, today admitted regrets for his behavior toward women in the tech industry, an issue which has gained considerable prominence over the past few years. “I’m a creep. I’m sorry,” said McClure.
According to CNN Money, McClure’s contrition came on the heels of Shark Tank star and venture capitalist Chris Sacca’s admission that he had contributed to the sexist culture in tech. Sacca, 42, an early investor in Uber and Twitter, companies which themselves have suffered from accusations of supporting sexism, also expressed regrets for his past behavior.
“By stupidly perpetuating a culture rife with busting chops, teasing and peer pressure to go out drinking, I made some women feel self-conscious, anxious and fear they might not be taken seriously.”
McClure’s admission followed accusations made by the New York Times that in 2014, McClure made inappropriate remarks toward Sarah Kunst, an applicant for a job at 500 Startups. “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you,” he allegedly said to her in a Facebook message.
Following their article, several major male figures in tech came forward to apologize for their past behavior, including Sacca and McClure, writing posts on Medium and his own personal blog, respectively.
“I made advances toward multiple women in work-related situations, where it was clearly inappropriate.”
“I put people in compromising and inappropriate situations, and I selfishly took advantage of those situations where I should have known better. My behavior was inexcusable and wrong.”
For what it’s worth, their apologies seem genuine and contrite. But many are questioning the sincerity of those apologies – and note that they only happened after the men in question were caught and called out in national news. At least one individual even accused Sacca of having written the apology one day before the NYT story went to print, anticipating the fallout.
I am waiting to feel an emotion aside from astonishment that Chris Sacca's "apology" was a. written b. circulated c. praised at any time— sarah miller (@sarahlovescali) July 2, 2017
Others have been supportive and offered tips to companies on how they can better accommodate women and others who aren’t cisgender men in an industry which feels consistently unwelcoming. Those in support include prominent women-in-tech advocate Brianna Wu, who said that she “appreciate[s] the unqualified apology.”
In total, the NYT spoke to 24 women in tech who named 10 men, many of them high-profile venture capitalists. Sacca and McClure were specifically mentioned in the early paragraphs of the article. It also mentioned venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck, after multiple female entrepreneurs told The Information that Caldbeck had preyed upon them when they sought funding or advice for their businesses.
However sincere those apologies may or may not be, as more accounts of sexism in tech come to light, it’s clear that the tech industry has a long way to go.
Recent events in tech have made it clear to me that I have more work to do. https://t.co/QrBaNaC9M3— Chris Sacca (@sacca) June 30, 2017
[Featured Image by Steve Jennings/Getty Images]