Published at 4:08 p. M., Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle
Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar, accused of sexual misconduct, says he is missing his duties at his venture capital firm Sherpa Capital and the start of the transport, Virgin Hyperloop One.
Pishevar, known for his early investment in Uber, said he is taking time off to file legal action against people who say they embarked on a smear campaign against him . Last month, he sued a corporate research firm founded by veterans of the Republican campaign, claiming he was trying to spread false accusations about him. The firm, Definers Public Affairs, denied the allegations and said it had never worked in Pishevar.
"As the legal case progresses, it is my priority to ensure that the Sherpa Capital family is not adversely affected," Pishevar wrote on Tuesday. in an email "I trust that I will be vindicated."
Five women who knew Pishevar in a professional context told Bloomberg that they were sexually assaulted or harassed by him. In each case, the women accused Pishevar of exploiting a professional connection, and using the prospect of a job, tutoring or investment to make an unwanted sexual advance. The current and former colleagues of a sixth woman, Uber executive Austin Geidt, told Bloomberg that he groped for her at the Uber party in December 2014.
Virgin Hyperloop One convened a council meeting on Sunday, where the directors discussed the accusations and raised the possibility of Pishevar should resign, said people with knowledge of the event.
Two high-profile Democratic senators, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, said this week that they had redirected the money that Pishevar had given to their campaigns or committees to sexual assault organizations or victims of domestic violence. Pishevar, one of Washington's leading technology industry connectors, has donated more than $ 500,000 to Democratic candidates and causes.
Pishevar was co-founder of Sherpa Capital, where he holds the title of managing director, and Virgin Hyperloop One, where he is co-executive chairman. In addition, Pishevar is taking a license from the boards of companies that Sherpa Capital and he have supported, including the food distribution company Munchery and the emerging company Cue.
A spokeswoman for Sherpa Capital said she had never received a report of sexual harassment.  Sarah McBride and Emily Chang are Bloomberg writers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com