Venture capital firm Spark Capital has decided to "sever all ties" with Dispo, a photo-sharing app co-created by famous YouTuber David Dobrik. The move, announced by the firm late Sunday, was triggered by a recent investigation by Business Insider that exposed allegations from a woman who said that a member of Dobrik’s Vlog Squad sexually assaulted her.
Update: Early investors Unshackled Ventures and Seven Seven Six have stepped away from the company as well, promising to donate any profits from their respective investments to organizations focused on survivors of sexual assault.
“In light of recent news about the Vlog Squad and David Dobrik, the co-founder of Dispo, we have made the decision to sever all ties with the company,” Spark Capital tweeted. “We have stepped down from our position on the board and we are in the process of making arrangements to ensure we do not profit from our recent investment in Dispo."
Hours later, Dobrik stepped down from the board of Dispo, as first reported by The Information. Dispo, in a statement to TechCrunch, said the following: "David has chosen to step down from the board and leave the company to not distract from the company's growth. Dispo's team, product, and most importantly — our community — stand for building a diverse, inclusive and empowering world."
The VC angle
Spark Capital’s decision to step back from the Dispo investment feels like a first of its kind, and if not, rare. It could trigger other investors with stakes in the company to do the same.
Spark Capital led a Series A in Dispo, a $20 million dollar financing event that valued the company at $200 million, less than one month ago. The current statement by Spark does not indicate that the investment has been pulled from the company.
Spark Capital did not immediately respond to request for comment in regard to what this process would look like, and if the shares will be sold back to the company or to another buyer. While the mechanics of the decision are unclear, the fact that the firm led a deal so recently in the company may have given it some leeway to walk away.
Other sponsors of Dobrik, including HelloFresh and Dollar Shave Club, have ended their partnerships with the creator.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect Dobrik's departure from Dispo as well as other early investors in the app stepping away from their investment.