DFJ’s Heidi Roizen Reveals the Sexual Advances She Dealt With as an Entrepreneur 

May 2, 2014

5:54 pm

In a Tumblr post called “It’s different for girls,” operations partner Heidi Roizen of the VC firm DFJ exposed some of the unbelievable treatment she received years ago as a woman entrepreneur.

As cofounder of T/Maker, she was having dinner in San Francisco with the senior VP of a major PC manufacturer, about to sign a pivotal deal:

“Wine was brought and toasts were made to our great future together. About halfway through the dinner he told me he had also brought me a present, but it was under the table, and would I please give him my hand so he could give it to me. I gave him my hand, and he placed it in his unzipped pants. Yes, this really happened,” recounts Roizen, who backed out on the deal.

Later, she found herself pitching in a Boston VC’s glass office. As she talked, she noticed that she could see reflections in the glass of the people in the hallway, behind her back.

“As I pitched him, one of his partners engaged in a pantomime in the corridor, making a circle with the fingers of one hand while poking his other fingers through the circle, then thrusting his hips in a sexual fashion. I found it rather hard to concentrate on my pitch. I did not get a term sheet from that firm,” she says.

Roizen doesn’t have much advice for women facing similar situations, except to walk away and move on. Her goal is just to show that the playing field certainly isn’t level yet. “It is different for women entrepreneurs. We face challenges that our male counterparts do not,” she writes. Read the full post here.


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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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