Rami Beracha, the managing partner of Pitango Venture Capital, is leaving the fund on the heels of allegations he sexually harassed a number of women. His resignation is effective immediately, said a joint statement released by both Beracha and Pitango on Monday evening.
Pitango, which manages investments of $2 billion, is the largest venture capital fund in Israel.
“Rami and his family are going through a complicated and difficult period and they are determined to fight to clear his name. We hope they will succeed in their mission,” said the statement.
Beracha will also give up his seat on the boards of a number of startups that he raised funding for, including Carambola, Optibus, Ubimo, Fixya, MySupermarket and ParallelM.
In a post on his personal Facebook page, Beracha, 56, wrote: “I made the decision to leave Pitango against all the advice I was given. Against my own personal interests I want to shout out that I have been wronged. I intend on correcting this injustice. My name and the name of my family will not be trampled.”
Last week, the investigative television program “Uvda” reported that Beracha was concerned that allegations of his harassing women would reach the media, and hired private investigators to thwart news stories about him. Beracha gave them a list of young women he had met professionally, “Uvda” alleges. Beracha denied the claims.
Beracha supposedly retained investigators from the firm BICI - Business and Cyber Intelligence several months ago, after TheMarker published an exposé on harassment in the high-tech industry and the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment started gathering momentum in the United States.
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In WhatsApp messages, Beracha reportedly gave the investigators a detailed list of young women he had met outside the office. The investigators were also asked to create an avatar – a fake online personality – to enter closed online forums of women in high-tech to see whether his name was being mentioned.
The program also alleged that Beracha asked the investigators to follow entrepreneur Shahar Kaminitz, who has spoken out against harassment in the high-tech field, out of fear that Kaminitz would expose him. Also on BICI’s list were three journalists – Inbal Orpaz, Hadas Shteif and Sharon Shpurer – whom the investigators were also supposed to monitor online.
“Uvda” also aired testimony by women who alleged that Beracha had harassed them. “I felt that he was gripping me and I could not move and he put his mouth on my mouth,” said A., a high-tech entrepreneur, detailing the end of a meeting with Beracha. G., a senior manager at another startup, described a work meeting with Beracha at the same restaurant: “He put his tongue in my mouth. I was just thinking, ‘How do I get out of here?’”
Beracha had been a senior partner in Pitango for 20 years. Established in the early 1990s, Pitango is one of Israel’s oldest venture capital funds. Over the years it has invested in about 250 Israeli startups.