Ann Lai says she was fired from Bullpen Capital after helping provide $145m fund

Anne Laigeneral partner of bullpen capital, was fired from the company, she said. The investor called the firing experiment “discriminatory and retaliatory” in a LinkedIn post published Monday. Lai helped raise Bullpen Capital’s most recent fund, a $145 million investment vehiclethe first investment vehicle in which it was named an equal partner.

Prior to joining Bullpen Capital in September 2020, Lai was a Principal at Binary Capital, co-founded by investor Justin Caldbeck. When she quit that company, she attributed it to sexist behavior she said she witnessed while there. She claimed that Caldbeck, who was charged with sexual harassment in the past, told her he would blacklist her from the industry if she spoke. Lai said she filed a lawsuit – ultimately settled – so she could break her NDA and let others know her reason for leaving, as well as help others in the industry break warranty contracts. of past silences.

Her return to investing was marked by her hiring as a GP at Bullpen, as the company’s first female partner and first partner of color.

“All the interest of my original case [with Binary] is that such behavior is not covered by non-disparagement,” Lai told TechCrunch. “I specifically pulled it out of the GP deal for Bullpen, not thinking I would ever need it. “If it was like any other time, the only narrative would be theirs. And then I would have no options.

According to TechCrunch, Lai’s formal release communications were conducted entirely through legal counsel. Lai did not accept severance pay from Bullpen Capital at the time of his dismissal. Asked to comment, she declined to say more, referring inquiries to her attorney, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Michael Liftik, who declined to comment beyond the following statement:

“Ann did not choose to leave Bullpen and she did not have the opportunity to stay after the end of April. We believe she was deported, illegally, because she was not afraid to say this what she thought and to share her opinions.While vigorous debate was apparently tolerated among the other white male partners, it was unacceptable when it came from Ann, the only woman and minority in the partnership.Ann remains committed to the various founders she brought to Bullpen and LPs with whom she shared her vision for a data-driven due diligence process.

In a comment to TechCrunch, a Bullpen spokesperson said they weren’t going to comment on personnel matters. “We are disappointed with Ms. Lai’s recent comments on Bullpen, and strongly disagree with them.”

It’s LinkedIn, Lai described the partnership at the company as an “all-white, all-male partnership” in which “‘equal’ was never truly equal”. From her time at the company, she says she had to “defend female founders when they are unfoundedly labeled ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘unconvincing'”, pushing male founders within the Bullpen network to undergoing standard due diligence and defending themselves in meetings after being called a “waste of time” in partner meetings.

The company, through a spokesperson, said Bullpen promotes “a collaborative culture of healthy debate and diverse perspectives across our entire team, which is key to finding unproven companies with strong potential”.

Bullpen added, “Our accomplishments in this area predate and are independent of Ms. Lai joining the firm, and our commitment is stronger than ever. We are focused on moving forward without compromising our founding vision of partnering with strong founders with the perseverance to become market leaders and generate attractive returns for LPs. Lai’s attorney did not comment in response to Bullpen’s statement.

Lai, meanwhile, told LPs in her post that she is “committed to delivering what we marketed and promised for Fund VI. I would never stop so abruptly and irresponsibly.

As part of her dismissal, Lai was barred from remaining on the boards of her existing portfolio companies, including ChairmanMe, created by CEO Sarah Lacy, a former TechCrunch reporter. Bullpen continues to hold shares in Lacy’s company, as one of its biggest investors.

Lacy thinks Lai’s experience is emblematic of a larger problem within Silicon Valley. She wrote a Public publication on LinkedIn saying that what happened to Lai is an example of “why just hiring more female generalists hasn’t changed this industry, why despite more women getting these jobs, the percentage of capital going to underrepresented founders has declined. “

“Was it a feature or a bug that someone like Ann was – once again – kicked out for not playing the game?” Lacy wrote.

Lai says Bullpen has yet to be in touch with her since she went public with her story of the dismissal.

If you have any advice or leads regarding other personnel changes in the risk world, you can contact Natasha Mascarenhas on Twitter @nmasc_ or on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. Requests for anonymity will be respected.

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