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Steve Jurvetson leaves DFJ amid allegations of inappropriate conduct at the venture capital firm

Silicon Valley investor Steve Jurvetson is leaving Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the venture capital firm he co-founded, amid allegations of a hostile work environment for women.

Jurvetson, an early backer of Tesla and SpaceX, tweeted he was leaving the firm and would fight back against the allegations.

“I am leaving DFJ to focus on personal matters, including taking legal action against those whose false statements have defamed me,” Jurvetson tweeted.

Jurvetson is also taking a leave of absence from the boards of Tesla and SpaceX, spokesmen for the two companies said.

Jurvetson could not be reached for comment. He has been under investigation by his firm since the summer.

News of the investigation was first reported last month by the technology publication the Information.

The report came a day after entrepreneur Keri Kukral published a Facebook post saying that “women approached by founding partners of Draper Fisher Jurvetson should be careful.”

“Predatory behavior is rampant. Silencing behavior ranges from security (within) the firm creating files on women, to potential violations of revenge porn laws, to grotesque threats,” she said.

Kukral said she had experienced some, but not all, of these things “along with many others.”

A spokesperson for Draper Fisher Jurvetson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The firm told the technology news site Recode that the departure of one of its founding partners was decided mutually.

“As of today and by mutual agreement, Steve Jurvetson will be leaving DFJ,” the firm said. “DFJ’s culture has been, and will continue to be, built on the values of respect and integrity in all of our interactions. We are focused on the success of our portfolio companies, as well as the long-term vision for the firm and will continue to operate with the highest professional standards.”

In a blog post published two weeks ago, Heidi Roizen, a partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, defended the firm’s culture, saying DFJ launched an internal investigation after hearing an allegation of misconduct from a third party about one of its co-founders.

“In the past week, a single Facebook post also accused DFJ of having a culture that is predatory to women,” Roizen said. “I don’t need an investigation to state with certainty that this is patently wrong.

“I would not work for DFJ if I felt the culture was not one of high integrity and opportunity for all — including women,” she added.

david.pierson@latimes.com

Follow me @dhpierson on Twitter

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