David Dobrik Leaves Dispo After Vlog Crew Member Accused of Sexual Assault

Investors behind David Dobrik's app Dispo are beginning to cut ties.

The venture-backed startup lost its top investor Sunday night following an investigation into a sexual assault allegation against a former member of his vlog crew.

And two early investors have since released statements and confirmed they would donate any profits from from investments to organizations working with survivors of sexual assault.


Spark Capital, who led the startup's $20 million Series A round in February, announced Sunday night that it has chosen to "sever all ties."

"We have stepped down from our position on the board and we are in the process of making arrangements to ensure we do not profit from our recent investment in Dispo," the venture capital firm posted on Twitter.

The firm did not directly address its investment and could not be immediately reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Dobrik, a co-founder of the Los Angeles company, said he has stepped down from Dispo, according to a report from The Information.

The departures come on the heels of a report from Business Insider last week that outlined the story of one woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a former member of the content creator group Vlog Squad. The woman said Dobrik had been present that night before the assault, filming.

Days after the story was published, a handful of Dobrik's sponsors, including HelloFresh and the Dollar Shave Club, ended their partnerships with the social media influencer. DoorDash, Honey, General Mills and Angel City Football Club also dropped sponsorships.

Early-stage investors are beginning to speak up about the allegations and reports.

Seven Seven Six, an early-stage venture capital firm created by Reddit's Alexis Ohanian, tweeted Monday that the allegations "are extremely troubling and are directly at odds" with the firm's values.

"We have made the decision to donate any profits from our investment in Dispo to an organization working with survivors of sexual assault," the firm posted. "We have believed in Dispo's mission since the beginning and will continue to support the hardworking team bringing it to life."

Ohanian could not be reached directly for comment.

Minutes later, Unshackled Ventures, an early-stage fund for immigrant founders, posted a brief statement calling the allegations "disturbing." The firm also participated in Dispo's October seed round and told TechCrunch it would also donate any profits to groups dedicated to survivors of sexual assault.

"As a female majority team, we do not take this lightly," reads the tweet. "We are in support of the companies decision to part ways with David and will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information about sponsorships and investors throughout.

Breanna de Vera also contributed to this report.

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Social video app Triller's parent company TrillerNet announced two acquisitions Wednesday, along with a new CEO.

The startup acquired Palo Alto-based Amplify.ai, which offers brands an AI chatbot tool to interact with consumers. It was previously integrated into Triller and will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of TrillerNet, which says it will use the tool to "offer brands and advertisers a unique, fully comprehensive branded content experience, starting with influencer-created short-form content from [Triller] which is pushed through the wider internet while using Amplify's AI tools to properly match the content to consumer," according to a statement.

As part of the deal, Amplify AI's CEO Mahi de SIlva, who was already a TrillerNet board member, will become TrillerNet's CEO. Mike Lu will shift from TrillerNet's CEO to president, and will focus on investor relations.

In a separate deal, TrillerNet also has acquired FITE, a live-events and pay-per-view streaming platform focused on sports. The two companies had previously collaborated to distribute Triller-sponsored boxing matches, and FITE will now become the exclusive global distributor for Triller Fight Club, another of TrillerNet's relatively new subsidiaries.

"The deal represents our ambitions to not only expand Triller Fight Club and grow FITE's distribution relationships, but also to reimagine what, how and when premium music, sports and entertainment is delivered to today's audiences," said Bobby Sarnevesht and Ryan Kavanaugh, who together own the majority of the company's shares, in a joint statement.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The moves represent a continuation of Kavanaugh and Sarnevesht's expansion of Triller, over which they took a controlling stake in late 2019. Late last year the company sponsored a fight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., which reportedly generated $80 million in pay-per-view revenue. The company has also recently created its own star-studded content network TrillerTV, launched an NFT marketplace and acquired online rap-battle platform Verzuz.

Sources familiar with the company previously told dot.LA that Triller has explored going public via a SPAC. Those sources said the valuation of the potential move would be dependent on the completion of a series of potential acquisitions. It is not immediately clear whether Verzuz, Amplify.AI or FITE were the targets, nor whether the SPAC plan will still go through.

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It is a great time to be a startup founder, with soaring valuations and investors tripping over themselves to get a piece of startups. As hot as the startup scene was last year, it has gotten even hotter this year, with a slew of megadeals pumping even more money into the biggest startups as they prepare to go public in the frenetic IPO market.

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