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San Francisco unicorn startup cuts employees weeks after exposés

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

Carta, the San Francisco equity management startup hit with a series of stunning exposés and allegations of wrongful termination and harassment from former employees, slashed multiple jobs this week.

The extent of the employee reduction and which departments were affected remain unclear. A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Two laid-off employees, including one worker who says they were hired just two months ago, took to LinkedIn to share the news of the layoff round, apparently the third round of layoffs Carta conducted in 2023.

Carta’s software helps startups track who owns shares and options. It received an $8.5 billion valuation last year.

The news of the layoffs was first reported by Fortune, which ran one of the exposés that detailed the alleged misconduct within the company. Among the revelations in that report: Two former executives who publicly blew the whistle against Carta were sued by the company. An anonymous employee also alleged that Carta CEO Henry Ward “doesn’t really have control over anything” because of all of the bad press his company has received in recent weeks and months.

Two workers filed suits against Carta in the past year in San Francisco court. One alleged that Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Perry inappropriately touched her during two work events, while another alleged that she was fired after requesting remote work accommodations.

Shortly after the reports were published, which encompassed these lawsuits and listed other alleged inappropriate behavior by high-level staffers, Ward sent a memo to customers acknowledging the article—amplifying the bad press to customers who may not have been otherwise aware.

“You may or may not have been following some of the negative press about Carta,” Ward wrote. “If you haven't, or have but don't care, please delete this. I’m sorry to bother you.”

He also linked to a lengthy Medium post about the lessons he’s learned from “bad press cycles,” in which he “gently proposes that the press is biased.” He also asserts that the company’s employees matter most, despite allegedly engaging in legal action against two former employees.