$3 billion Carta bypassed its Marketing VP to include this ‘offensive’ slide citing slavery in its Series E pitch-deck: lawsuit

  • Carta disregarded its vice president of marketing’s objections to a slide referencing “slavery” and startup equity ownership, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
  • Emily Kramer was subject to gender discrimination and retaliation during her two year stint as the only female executive at Carta, according to the complaint.
  • She was excluded from decision-making and reprimanded when she objected to including the slide on the grounds that it was “offensive,” the complaint says.
  • Carta spokeswoman Lauren O’Mahony declined to comment on the lawsuit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When Carta was fundraising in 2019 for what would become a $300 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, the company included a depiction of feudal fieldworkers that rubbed some people the wrong way.

That slide, and how the company handled it, is a key detail in a new lawsuit filed Tuesday by Carta’s former vice president of marketing, Emily Kramer, who claimed she was excluded from the pitchdeck process and reprimanded when she tried to stop the company from displaying the slide at a big tech conference.

A screenshot of the slide, obtained by Business Insider, shows a short timeline of labor, beginning with “slavery” and ending with “ownership”. “Ownership” is a reference Carta’s main product, an equity management software which helps startups track who owns shares in the company.

Kramer said she was concerned that having the word “slavery” in a pitchdeck would be triggering for its viewers, but that she was reprimanded when she suggested it be removed. She told both Ward and human resources that she found the slide “offensive” but it stayed in the pitchdeck, according to the complaint. 

“It’s just an insensitive slide and a message that could be told in a much more thoughtful and mindful matter,” Kramer told Business Insider.

The pitchdeck is just one example in the lawsuit, which alleges that Kramer was subject to gender discrimination and retaliation during her two year stint as the only female executive at the company.

Kramer stepped down in November 2019, after Carta CEO Henry Ward called her an “asshole” and told her she had been given “passes” because she is a woman, according to the suit.

Carta spokeswoman Lauren O’Mahony declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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