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San Francisco unicorn startup Carta hit with multiple lawsuits, exposés

A Google Street View screenshot of a brown corporate building with blurred bystanders walking by
Carta’s San Francisco headquarters are located at 333 Bush St. in San Francisco. | Source: Google Street View

Visits to San Francisco’s infamous Gold Club, indecent exposure and NSFW conversations at company events, executives sexually harassing staff and a toxic boys’ club culture: Those are just some of the allegations brought against Carta, a San Francisco company valued at $8.5 billion late last year.

At least two lawsuits filed in San Francisco Superior Court in the past year, both by women—combined with a series of reports by Fortune and Insider—paint a picture of an unruly corporate culture at the San Francisco tech unicorn.

This month, a lawsuit was filed in San Francisco by Alexandra Rogers, a female ex-employee, who says she was groped at a work happy hour by Carta Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Perry in June 2022. While waiting in line for the bathroom, the suit alleges, Perry “walked by her, slapped the top of her thigh, and grasped it in his hands.“ 

A couple months later, at a sales dinner, Perry again allegedly grabbed her—placing his hand on her leg twice under the table and stroking her arm. (At this point, after Rogers got a promotion, Perry was her immediate supervisor, the lawsuit noted.)

Rogers reported both incidents in June 2023, a year after the happy hour incident, hoping for an investigation. Instead, Carta CEO and co-founder Henry Ward allegedly treated Rogers “in an aggressive and demeaning manner during several meetings.” Her manager suggested she apologize to him, while acknowledging that Ward “doesn’t like women with strong personalities.” 

READ MORE: Salesforce Sacked Exec on Leave During ‘Traumatic Health Crisis,’ Suit Alleges

Rogers was eventually fired “under the pretext of a reduction in force.”

Carta’s software helps startups track who owns shares and options and how ownership is diluted in new funding rounds. 

Suits and Countersuits

Another lawsuit filed earlier this year by Amanda Sheets, an account executive, alleges she was fired after requesting remote work accommodations for her chronic migraines. Her accommodations were denied and heavily scrutinized, while male employees who requested remote work exemptions received no such scrutiny from management, the suit alleges.

But these lawsuits, at least according to Fortune and Insider, reflect broader issues with Carta’s leadership. 

Ward was described in both reports as volatile—demanding loyalty and punishing anyone who brought up concerns about the company’s operations. In addition to at least nine recent executive departures, according to Fortune, at least two former executives who blew the whistle on the company’s culture were sued by the company. 

One of those whistleblowers was Jerry Talton, a former chief technical officer at the company. He filed a complaint to Carta’s board of directors alleging widespread misconduct and a lack of accountability at the company, and was fired two months later. Among one of the more sordid things he witnessed, according to another document viewed by Insider, was an individual described as Ward’s right-hand man joking at a team dinner about women’s breasts.

Even Rogers, the employee allegedly harassed by Perry, received a defamation countersuit from the company this month alleging she was laid off after months of subpar performance, capped off by her flubbing a key presentation. The company also called Rogers’ claims “wholly and completely false.”

The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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