Years before the venture investor Justin Caldbeck made unwanted advances toward the female founders who just came forward about the behavior, he made the CEO of Stitch Fix feel uncomfortable enough that she requested his removal as his firm's observer to her board of directors, according to multiple sources.
The CEO, Katrina Lake — who is now one of the most prominent female entrepreneurs in the tech industry as head of the popular e-commerce platform Stitch Fix — complained to Caldbeck's then-employer, Lightspeed Venture Partners. The venture firm then removed Caldbeck from his role, said sources.
Caldbeck had led an investment in Stitch Fix on behalf of Lightspeed in early 2013, according to reports. He left Lightspeed in 2014 to co-found Binary Capital.
He has since resigned from that firm after the news broke of the allegations of sexual harassment. Caldbeck said, "to say I am sorry about my behavior is a categorical understatement," and apologized to the women he made feel uncomfortable. That was a turnabout, since he initially denied that he had behaved unprofessionally.
On Tuesday, Lightspeed issued a statement referencing the controversy involving Stitch Fix, and said the firm "should have done more." But it did not identify Lake or the company by name. The Information and Axios previously reported that a woman leading a Lightspeed portfolio company had also complained about Caldbeck.
While multiple sources confirmed that Lake made that complaint to Lightspeed about Caldbeck, Recode does not have more details. Stitch Fix and Lake, as well as Lightspeed, declined to comment.
Update: Stitch Fix's Lake released the following statement after publication:
"Female entrepreneurs are a critical part of the fabric of Silicon Valley. It's important to expose the type of behavior that's been reported in the last few weeks, so the community can recognize and address these problems. I'm encouraged by the discussions that have been taking place and I intend to play a part in making positive changes in our industry."
After he left Lightspeed and the board of Stitch Fix, according to reports, Caldbeck continued his inappropriate behavior toward women entrepreneurs.