- The 600 employees of Intercom are gathering for an all-hands meeting on Thursday, sources tell Business Insider.
- They are there to discuss a news report that documents multiple investigations of its founder and CEO Eoghan McCabe.
- McCabe has been the subject of two HR investigations after sexual harassment complaints were filed against him from alleged incidents in 2014 and 2015, the the Information’s Zoë Bernard reports.
- And now the company has launched a new internal investigation to look into those matters, as well as how the company handled the two previous investigations, Business Insider has confirmed.
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The more than 600 employees of Intercom are gathering for an all-hands meeting on Thursday, sources tell Business Insider.
They are there to discuss a news report documenting multiple investigations of its founder and CEO, Eoghan McCabe.
McCabe has been the subject of two HR investigations after sexual harassment complaints were filed against him from alleged incidents in 2014 and 2015, the the Information’s Zoë Bernard reports.
These include investigations into claims that he inappropriately touched a woman, and claims that he propositioned a junior employee at his company after a work party at his house that involved drinking.
The company concluded the first incident was a misunderstanding. It later hired an another investigator to investigate the internal investigation. Both of these concluded with no action taken against McCabe.
Sources told The Information that at least two women involved in the complaints left the company with severance agreements that involved payments from the company.
With these complaints surfacing again, the company has now launched another investigation, to look into the complaints as well as the HR procedures in handling those complaints, Business Insider has confirmed.
Other people reportedly left the company because they were uncomfortable with the culture, leading to an internal joke in 2017 about Intercom’s "wexit," meaning women exiting the company, The Information reports.
In a statement to the Information McCabe apologized for his behavior, saying that he "demonstrated some poor judgment" in the company’s early years.
"I apologized at the time and have matured as a person and a CEO since then. I’m proud of the respectful culture we’ve built, and have long believed that people do their best work when they feel truly happy and safe. I fully support the independent review into these matters and our HR practices," he said.
From Ireland to VC darling
Intercom is a fast-growing San Francisco startup that helps software companies interact with their customers and prospects through various forms of messages.
It has a charming backstory.
IntercomIts founders, including McCabe, moved from Ireland to San Francisco shortly after founding their company in 2011. After being turned down by VCs, they were befriended by Twitter cofounder Biz Stone who became an angel investor and introduced them to the power elite of Silicon Valley.
Since then the company has experienced fast growth and become a VC favorite, backed by A-list investors like Bessemer Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins and Vulcan Capital (the investment firm from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen).
Kleiner’s Mary Meeker is a board member observer but she was not aware of these allegations before she became involved with the company, a spokesperson for her told both Business Insider and The Information. She became aware of them only after she was contacted by The Information. Kleiner partner Mamoon Hamid is also on the board. Kleiner declined comment.
Its product is popular with software companies like New Relic and Atlassian, as well as startups.
And it has attracted a slew of other big name angel investors like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Stewart Butterfield, according to Pitchbook, a database that tracks such things. Intercom has raised over $240 million in funding and was valued at $1.28 billion in 2018.
Intercom did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We asked Bessemer about its policies when executives of its portfolio companies face sexual harassment allegations. A Bessemer spokesperson told us:
"Intercom is experiencing incredible growth and is on a path to becoming an enduring company – meeting a genuine need for its customers. That growth was enabled by a deliberate focus on building a culture steeped in respect and inclusion. This focus is nurtured by both the employees and the leadership team, and led by Eoghan in his role as co-founder and CEO.
"Recently, questions regarding the handling of some matters that were previously investigated by HR and reviewed by the board have been raised. We have engaged an expert to conduct a new investigation and review into these matters as well as our HR policies and will follow any recommendations that come from it."
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