- An investigative panel of investors have advised Risevest co-founder, Eke Urum to step down as CEO following allegations of sexual and non-sexual misconduct. Techpoint Africa confirmed this in an official statement dated August 19, 2022, which further revealed that Tony Odiba, the startup's Head of Operations will take up the CEO mantle in the interim.
- A 3-man panel has been instituted to carry out an independent investigation to verify these claims. This action is suspected to be necessitated by several harassment accusations that may have been laid against the founder. While the investment-tech founder has agreed to step down, the investigation panel is trusting that testimonies from ex-employees and current staff will provide more clarity.
- Recall that in 2021, Eke was accused of non-sexual workplace misconduct when he had a fallout with the then Head of Marketing. The disgruntled ex-employee remarked that the startup's work culture was unhealthy. Risevest investors, in the statement, however, attempted to allay any financial misappropriation fears that would usually arise when an investment platform that claims to be helping thousands of people invest in various investment portfolios is in the news for the wrong reasons.
While this latest revelation might raise a new wave of #HorribleBosses conversations, especially in the wake of layoffs, it is feared that fresh allegations might only be disclosed in hush tones. During a Twitter Spaces held on the topic in March, with thousands of listeners, Eke's name came up among the pile of testimonies made against some Nigerian startup founders and CEOs for bullying employees, although no case of sexual harassment was explicitly confirmed.
A Business Insider report notes how Silicon Valley tech companies are using Non-DIsclosure Agreements (NDAs) to promote toxic workplace culture. One of the findings revealed that some of these NDAs subtly or ostensibly prevent employees from sharing experiences of harassment and discrimination.
Apparently, getting affected individuals and witnesses to speak freely is critical to evaluating and deciding Eke's case since it cannot be confirmed if Risevest does not make its staff sign NDAs that have nothing to do with trade secrets.