Venture capital firm DFJ is apologizing for an event hosted by founder Steve Jurvetson, further highlighting how the personal allegations against him ultimately forced him out of his job.
Jurvetson hosted a party at his home that reportedly featured rampant sex and drug use following a DFJ event, according to a forthcoming book from Bloomberg journalist Emily Chang. The party was private but immediately followed a nearby DFJ one-day conference and was attended by some DFJ partners and staff, leading some to the impression that it was a DFJ-sanctioned event.
The event at Jurvetson’s home in Half Moon Bay followed the firm’s new annual Big Think conference. But personal friends of Jurvetson — unaffiliated with DFJ — were also invited to the party, which included security and around 100 to 150 people.
“We were dismayed to learn of behavior at the party that was completely at odds with DFJ’s culture, which has been, and will continue to be, built on the values of respect and integrity. We would never want anyone to feel uncomfortable and we are sorry if that happened,” the venture firm said in its statement.
DFJ suggested the party played a role in Jurvetson’s ouster from the firm late last year: “The decisive action we’ve taken in recent months reflects our steadfast commitment to our values.”
A Jurvetson representative disputed the idea that his event was a “sex party” and said that the venture capitalist had hosted the event for at least three years — meaning that DFJ should not be in the dark about the event.
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Recode reported extensively in November on how the personal conduct of Jurvetson — who was not accused of sexual harasssment but did carry out multiple affairs with different women simultaneously — ended up having professional consequences, including his ouster.
The excerpt of the book identifying Jurvetson as the host was first obtained by Axios.
New life was breathed into the Jurvetson drama on Wednesday when an entepreneur named Paul Biggar, who said he attended the event described by Chang, made a series of allegations about the party in a Medium post — though he did not name DFJ.
“This was a top-tier VC firm’s official party,” he wrote, alleging the party was “organized” by DFJ staff and attended by multiple DFJ partners. “I was there, and it’s way way worse than it sounds.”
Some other attendees, both to Recode and to other outlets, though have pushed back on Chang’s description of the events.
Elon Musk, the tech CEO who is a close friend of Jurvetson’s, confirmed his attendance at the event as Biggar alleged but blasted his characterization of events.
“If there are ‘sex parties’ in Silicon Valley, I haven’t seen or heard of one,” Musk told WIRED in what were his first public comments on Jurvetson since he was ousted from DFJ. “If you want wild parties, you’re in the wrong place. Obviously. That DFJ party was boring and corporate, with zero sex or nudity anywhere.”
Jurvetson’s camp also arranged calls between several attendees and reporters to push back on the idea that the event was full of sex and nudity, with multiple friends of Jurvetson telling Recode that it was not unlike other parties they attended elsewhere, featuring alcohol, music and costumes.
“Honestly, we laughed out loud,” said Jenny Boyle, a designer, when she saw the description of the event as a “sex party.”
—By Theodore Schleifer, Recode.net.
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