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Contxto – I’m a tech blogger; I mostly write about great products and awesome business models. But sometimes you’ve just got to speak up.
So here’s this: Last Friday I published an article featuring my go-to choices for Mexico’s most promising startups in 2020. I truly dug into the tech, product, and the market each company we selected was going after.
I really believed they were great products. I still do.
Nevertheless, a few hours after we published that, it was revealed to us that one of the co-founders of one of the companies I had written about had been involved in a pretty problematic personal scandal during a hiring process. Allegedly, Homie’s founder, Jordi Greenham, was involved in an extremely indecent proposal aimed at a job applicant for his startup.
Everything we know so far comes from a post the hitherto-potential employee made on her personal Facebook timeline. Many parts of the story may be missing. Here’s what we know so far:
The founder contacted a potential female employee over Linkedin offering her a position within the company. He did interview her and, eventually, turned her down. So far so good. Nevertheless, according to the post, she wrote he contacted her late at night asking her for what seems to be sexual favors in exchange for money.
He vanished from social media and we weren’t able to find him on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. We reached out to his professional email.
If the accusations turn out to be true—parting from the fact that we should believe accusers—the evidence is just undeniable.
At the social level, one of the greatest issues this ecosystem—not just here in Latam, but on a global scale—is that of the image of the unaccountable tech bro. We’ve grown perhaps too accustomed to sweeping these issues under the rug as being “a drunken mistake” or “just boys being boys”.
But make no mistake, this episode will reverberate far beyond the two people directly involved in this story. It will add another notch on the list of worries that women will have when considering entering this ecosystem, it will affect this founder’s startup and everyone who works there by extension, and this story may well stain our entire region as a “risky place to do business”. If we keep quiet, they may well be right.
For these and many more reasons it is necessary for all of us to take a stance on this issue. We, at Contxto, take our responsibility as a voice within this ecosystem very seriously.
Founders (and everyone for that matter), don’t do things that abuse your position of power.
Last Sunday, I received a response from the company. According to the correspondence, the company’s board was notified of Jordi’s behavior on February 14th. Two days later he resigned as CEO and President of the company.
Disclaimer: This is a developing story. Both parties have been contacted by Contxto and details to the story will be eventually adjusted as the facts become clear.
Update (16/03/2020)—Ex-CEO’s response
This Saturday, I woke up to an email with the following subject: Right of reply Jordi Greenham “Change begins with awareness”
Jordi Greenham—Homie’s founder and, as of a few weeks ago, its ex-CEO—had spoken up about the situation that led to his exit from Homie. After we covered the allegations of sexual harassment from a job candidate at the company, Jordi broke his silence.
The email included nothing but a subject line and the link to his most recent Medium post, where he talks about the situation. He starts the post off by apologizing to women:
“First of all, I would like to offer my deepest and most sincere apologies to each and every woman for my disrespectful behavior,” he wrote. Subsequently, he also apologized to all of the people he might have disappointed including partners, investors, clients, employees, etc.
However, according to Greenham, the conversation had been taken out of context. “Rocío and I met almost six years ago and what happened—although it is very bad and incorrect— has no relation or link with the interviews and recruitment process that she had with my team, where I did not participate.”
After that, he inserted a screenshot of the conversation they had over LinkedIn.
Subsequently, he wrote about how many of the members of the startup ecosystem upheld what he considered to be “double standards” regarding these practices, indicating the wider issue of harassment to be a systemic problem.
We reached out to the aggrieved for commentary, but she declined to offer any further comment.
You can read Greenham’s Medium post here.