This post has been updated with statements from Sherpa Capital and Uber.
Shervin Pishevar, cofounder of Sherpa Capital and prominent investor in Uber, Airbnb, Warby Parker, and Tumblr, has been accused by six women of sexually assaulting or harassing them, Bloomberg reports. In one case, at a Christmas party in 2014, he reportedly put his hand on the leg of Austin Geidt, Uber’s then head of global expansion, and “moved it up her dress.” Bloomberg also found that the investor and major Democratic party donor repeatedly tried to pressure a woman, whom he had hired to work for him, to have sex. And during a party at the Web Summit in Dublin in 2013, a laughing Pishevar reportedly showed explicit images on his phone to a female entrepreneur who told Bloomberg: “It became really scary.”
“In each case, the women accused Pishevar of exploiting a professional connection, and using the prospect of a job, mentorship or investment to make an unwanted sexual advance,” according to the article.
As Fast Company first reported last month, Pishevar was arrested by London police on suspicion of raping a woman in late May at the Ned hotel but he was released and never charged due to “insufficient evidence.” In a statement, Pishevar admitted that he was detained briefly by the police but denied the assault claim. And the City of London police said that a police report describing the arrest was false. In early November, Pishevar filed a defamation lawsuit against a Republican-led opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs, claiming that it conducted a “malicious smear campaign” that included “false, defamatory, and highly damaging claims,” including that he “paid money to settle a claim for sexual assault in London.”
In a statement sent to Fast Company, a crisis expert working for Pishevar said: “Shervin Pishevar is the victim of an organized smear campaign, which so far has involved the fabrication of a London ‘police report.’ Now, anonymous and untrue stories have suddenly surfaced concerning Mr. Pishevar. The assertions regarding the only person named have now been directly refuted by an eyewitness to the claimed events, and there are communications sent from the named person herself to Mr. Pishevar which directly undermine any credibility being given to the claims made. Just as the London ‘police report’ turned out to be fabricated, we are confident that these anecdotes will be shown to be untrue as well. Mr. Pishevar is confident that he will be vindicated.” The crisis expert, Mark Fabiani, also sent Fast Company several friendly emails, purportedly from Geidt to Pishevar. Geidt declined comment to Bloomberg for their story.
UPDATE 12/4, 11:35am: In a statement, a spokesperson for Sherpa Capital said: “Sherpa Capital was built on the vision of supporting the success of extraordinary founders and companies, and doing so through an unwavering commitment to operating with integrity and professionalism. We are taking this matter extremely seriously and remain focused on acting in the best interests of Sherpa Capital and all of our stakeholders.”
And Uber, where Geidt currently works as the head of operations at its Advanced Technologies Group, also commented on the story. A spokesperson for the ride-sharing company told Fast Company‘s Ruth Reader: “We fully support those who have felt harassed speaking out, whenever and however they choose. We commend their bravery.”MB