One of the most powerful women in venture capital and a well-respected tech investor says she never saw or experienced gender discrimination at the California firm at the center of a $16 million gender bias lawsuit.
Mary Meeker is one of the few female senior partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the Silicon Valley’s most prestigious venture capital firms.
She testified Monday that Kleiner is the best place to be a woman in the business, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
“I have a view – and I’ve developed this over many, many years – (that) two women are more powerful than one, three are more powerful than two, four are more powerful than three, if you have the right people in the room,” Meeker said.
She then said how much she appreciated working with Kleiner women Susan Biglieri, Juliet de Baubigny, Beth Seidenberg and Christina Lee. Implicit in her testimony was that perhaps plaintiff Ellen Pao just wasn’t one of those right people.
Pao testified last week she was denied a promotion at the firm because of gender bias and then fired after she complained.
Meeker’s testimony has been hotly anticipated: She is a widely respected and influential tech leader who was long ago dubbed “Queen of the Internet” for her early and savvy tech investments. Meeker worked from 1991 to 2010 at Morgan Stanley as a managing director and research analyst. She helped the firm, at the infancy of the Internet boom, identify key tech players such as Google, Netscape and Alibaba, she said.
When Kleiner Perkins attorney Lynne Hermle asked Meeker if she ever witnessed any gender discrimination, Meeker replied, “I have not.”
Meeker also undercut Pao’s complaint about an all-male dinner in 2011 at former-Vice President Al Gore’s house, saying she had been invited to a dinner at Gore’s apartment.
Pao testified that male members of the firm joined male CEOs at Gore’s house for dinner, and no women were invited because “they kill the buzz,” one male partner allegedly said. Pao was humiliated, she said, because she lived in the same building as Gore and bumped into some of these men on their way to dinner.
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