Startup’s ‘Candor Clause’ Puts Bad Behavior Out In The Open

Star Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When Liz Giorgi got creeped out by how she was treated by potential investors for her startup, she turned to her lawyer for help. Instead of politely asking investors if they treat women well, she wanted to contractually obligate investors to describe how they plan to treat partners. The result is what they call the “candor clause.”

Star Tribune

Unlike the Silicon Valley types who claim with little evidence to be making the world a better place, Minneapolis entrepreneur Liz Giorgi seems to have a good shot at actually doing that.

Giorgi is CEO and co-founder, with Hayley Anderson, of a Minneapolis startup called Soona. Maybe best described as a Kinko’s for high-quality, same-day video and photos, Soona is just getting going. It has 17 employees, studios in Minneapolis and Denver and it just launched an online service.

But as promising as the business sounds, what makes Giorgi particularly noteworthy is the contract language she put into the company’s financing documents. It aims to curb the sexual harassment, discrimination and just plain different treatment female founders get from potential investors.

As you probably suspected, Giorgi learned about this problem the hard way.

She and Anderson were in a position earlier this year to be part of a natural experiment into how women get treated by investors, enrolling in a Techstars accelerator program with nine other companies in Boulder, Colo.

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