spark capital

spark capital

Twenty-four-year-old David Dobrik rose to internet fame with a vlog crew known for comedy videos and then quickly used his cache to launch a buzzy camera app that pulled in more than $20 million from investors.

All that good will evaporated in days after allegations of sexual assault by a member of the Vlog Squad came to light. The situation has raised flags about how well investors vetted the startup's founders — and whether VC firms or brands should prepare for these situations when working with young influencers, who are increasingly creating their own brands and companies.

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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.

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Valence, a tech platform and professional network launched last year that connects Black founders, announced its inaugural funding network Thursday. The list includes investors at top firms including Sequoia Capital, Accel and Upfront Ventures.

"For years, Black entrepreneurs have been told that Silicon Valley is a meritocracy, but at the same time most haven't had access to the top networks, the warm introductions, and the mentorship that underpin lasting success in tech. Valence is upending this completely by bringing the top VCs to compete for the best Black entrepreneurs." said Valence co-founder and general partner at Upfront Ventures, Kobie Fuller. "We want to even the playing field with the goal of exponentially growing the number of Black-owned startups that get funded."

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