- Following reports that Jeffrey Epstein helped fund an investment firm led by MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito, attention turned to other high profile investors in Silicon Valley.
- More than 20 of Silicon Valley’s top venture firms, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Union Square Ventures, confirmed that the disgraced financier had never been an active limited partner or helped fund any investments.
- There is a possibility, however, that Epstein helped fund VCs through a family wealth office or other large funds. Funds in that category are not legally required to reveal their personal benefactors when agreeing to back venture capital firms.
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After revelations that Epstein helped fund an investment firm led by MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito, speculation has grown about whether Epstein — the now-deceased financier charged with sex trafficking — may have had more extensive ties to the VC industry at the heart of Silicon Valley’s booming tech economy.
The possibility that Epstein invested his money as a so-called Limited Partner in the gilded venture capital firms that fund and advise tech startups would represent an embarrassing, and potentially problematic development, for any firms involved.
Business Insider contacted 34 of the top venture capital firms in the tech industry to ask whether or not Epstein had ever been a limited partner, or investor, in any of the firms or whether he had worked with the firms in a personal or professional capacity at any point.
Of the 34 VC firms, 27 confirmed that Epstein had no direct involvement.
These are the firms, representing some of the most prominent names in venture capital, that said they have no direct involvement with Epstein: Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Baseline Ventures, Battery Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, CRV, DFJ Growth, Day One Ventures, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Forerunner Ventures, GGV Capital, Greylock, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, L Catterton, Lightspeed Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Menlo Ventures, NEA, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia Capital, TCV, True Ventures, Tusk Venture Partners, and Union Square Ventures.
Several firms, however, did not respond to Business Insider’s multiple requests for comment or confirmation. The VC firms that would not respond to requests for information about Epstein are: Felicis Ventures, Floodgate, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, IVP, Softbank, and Venrock.
Not a single VC firms that Business Insider reached out to has said that Epstein was a limited partner.
But there’s a big asterisk
However, even for those VC firms that disavowed any direct involvement with Epstein, it’s not yet possible to rule out the possibility that he was invested in the firms. That’s because many of the limited partners in VC firms are not specific named individuals, but rather a family office, a “fund of funds,” and other types of wealth funds not legally required to disclose whose money they manage.
So, unless someone working at a VC firm had reason to be cautious of one of those investors and had asked for more details, it is unlikely they would know if any of the money in their funds came from Epstein.
Epstein was charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy. He was found dead by apparent suicide on August 10 in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan after being refused bail.
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