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Under fire for alleged sexual harassment, Shervin Pishevar temporarily leaves Hyperloop One and his venture capital firm

The high-profile investor gave no indication of when he would return.

Sherpa Capital co-founder and managing director Shervin Pishevar Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

Prominent tech investor Shervin Pishevar will temporarily leave his venture capital firm and his transportation company as he battles accusations of sexual harassment.

Pishevar, one of Silicon Valley’s most battle-scarred investors, said Tuesday that he would take an “immediate leave of absence” from both Sherpa Capital and Hyperloop One, the company built on well-known entrepreneur Elon Musk’s vision for fast and efficient freight and passenger transportation. He will also leave his current board responsibilities.

“This was a decision I came to and proposed on my own accord,” Pishevar said in a statement. “It is not one I took lightly and it was a difficult decision that was guided by Sherpa Capital’s abiding belief in service and putting others before ourselves.”

He gave no indication of when he would return.

Pishevar noted that he was taking the leave in order to protect his venture capital firm and its portfolio companies as he pursues a lawsuit against individuals who he said have conducted a “smear campaign” against him. Pishevar has filed a lawsuit against Definers Public Affairs, an opposition research firm, which has denied spreading information about him.

Pishevar is the latest venture capitalist to leave his firm amid allegations of sexual misconduct. A story published last week by Bloomberg included several women alleging that Pishevar touched them without their consent.

Pishevar co-founded Sherpa after rising to prominence at Menlo Ventures, a firm that placed one of the earliest bets in Uber, now the world’s most valuable startup. Pishevar has been a close friend of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and served as an observer on its board for several years. He is also a prominent donor to the Democratic Party, and several prominent politicians have reportedly said they will direct the money Pishevar donated to them to charities.

Sherpa Capital said Tuesday that it would launch an “independent internal review” to investigate what happened. It declined to say whether it would do so on Monday when asked by Recode, only saying that it was “taking this matter extremely seriously.”

“Since Sherpa Capital was founded in 2013, our Firm has been committed to upholding a culture of integrity and service, including best in class policies and practices that reflect these values,” said a Sherpa spokesperson on Tuesday. “We recognize the inherent challenges of reporting misconduct, but note that Sherpa has never received a sexual harassment complaint.”

Hyperloop One, where Pishevar is a co-founder and co-executive chairman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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