In a release Tuesday, ALLVP announced that co-founder and Managing Director Fernando Lelo de Larrea has left the fund he co-founded. The Mexico based venture capital fund was founded in 2012 by Federico Antoni and Lelo de Larrea.
Lelo de Larrea’s departure comes after anonymous allegations from a university student at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), where Lelo de Larrea is a professor and alumnus and further public allegations from multiple women in the Mexican startup ecosystem.
On November 10, 2021, students from ITAM participated in a protest called “El Tendedero” (or clothes line), a space where women publicly and anonymously denounce acts of alleged harassment or misconduct perpetrated by other students, professors and/or university authorities.
A photograph of these allegations involving Lelo de Larrea were shared on the social networks, ITAM student groups, and particularly on Twitter. Since then, the original photograph has been shared in private conversations by startup employees, founders, investors, and others within the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem, and at least two more women in the Mexican startup ecosystem have come forward publicly, and photos of previous year Tendero allegations surfaced. In February 2022, another founder came forward in a blog post called “about sexual harassment and power dynamics”, where she shares her experience with Lelo de Larrea back in 2015.
On Dec 2nd, Lelo de Larrea released the following statement:
To the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem community,
This is a personal, difficult and painful writing, which arrives late and with the intention of clarifying, apologizing and correcting, so that we have a safer and more professional ecosystem, where entrepreneurship and investment led by women reach a place of parity.
In an act of incongruity with the ethics with which I seek to conduct myself, in the past I made mistakes in some communications with women via messages, where although there was never an intention focused on hurting, conditioning or disrespecting, I expressed myself in a way that made them feel uncomfortable and led, unconsciously and irresponsibly, to interpretations that I did not foresee. It is a behavior that indirectly also affects the well-being of women in general and is unacceptable, for which I offer my sincere apologies for my lack of understanding, sensitivity and the repercussions on those I affected with my words.
Writing private messages without a prior mutually agreed communication agreement is unacceptable. It will not happen again and I want to help others not make these mistakes.
Regarding what was published on November 10, where my name was linked, in my capacity as a subject professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) to accusations made by some students, pointing out inappropriate behavior via “El Tendedero”, I reject these accusations and I point out that under no circumstances have I invited students to go out nor have conditioned their course grades in any way to non-academic subjects. Given these facts, the ITAM has been asked to share any information it has at its disposal, and the attached letter has been extended to me, in which it states the non-existence of any complaint under institutional protocols. I am, of course, fully willing to cooperate with any further investigation, if that is the case.
The accusations against others that have been made public at ITAM include very serious cases. Upon acknowledging them, I considered that responding to my case and expressing the above described would detract from the valid and courageous accusations, and I decided to keep silent, leaving a void that was filled with rumors and a personal and institutional omission of what I represent. I no longer want to leave this void.
I understand that my position entails a commitment and care that I failed to do. I am absolutely responsible for the consequences of my actions, having neglected in the private sphere what I have tried so hard in the institutions where I have worked. I am committed to working consciously to help make our industry safe and fair for women. I am training in specialized courses on these topics, to generate specific accountability mechanisms in the way I interact, by listening, learning and designing measures so that from my personal and professional position I can be an agent of change in this problem that is everyone’s responsibility.
I appreciate the opportunity for us as a community to work to prevent any conduct or action that bothers or harms members of our group.
Fernando Lelo de Larrea y de Haro
The next day, ALLVP released the following statement:
R E L E A S E
Regarding the statement that our partner Fernando Lelo de Larrea has made public recently, we state the following:
- We recognize the private nature of the events described by Fernando in his letter and we respect his family environment, and the process he is facing, which is personal.
- We are guided by our corporate values: Empathy, Discipline, Boldness, Growth Mindset, and Make a Difference, by always doing the right thing. We also adhere to our Code of Ethics and that of the industry.
- At ALLVP we take gender issues extremely seriously. With 70% of female collaborators, we empathize with the serious complaints that occurred in the ITAM and with the affected students. We reiterate our commitment to keep the best practices in the matter, seeking continuous improvement.
- We recognize the imperative of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region that adheres to international best practices, where the moral position in the investor-entrepreneur relationship is strictly professional at all moments.
- The Compliance and Human Resources area of ALLVP, as well as the other partners, have investigated the accusations against Fernando at ITAM that were shared on social networks. With the information available, they have found said accusations unsubstantiated and with no link with his job functions.
- Likewise, ALLVP’s internal protocols have been reviewed for complaints about harassment or bullying with the entire staff, not finding any allegations or complaints of any kind towards any member of the team. This mechanism will continue to be performed periodically.
- Anonymous complaint lines have been established at the firm, where a Three Members Committee (always excluding the designated party) will review each case. Not one case has been presented to date.
ALLVP recognizes the importance of redoubling efforts, and has hired the services of a firm specialized in ESG and gender issues, to review our current processes and if necessary, to strengthen them. Additionally, training and awareness workshops for all staff will be conducted to generate more transparency, accountability and trust.
If required, ALLVP would be open to hire a prestigious firm to independently investigate this matter and publish their conclusions.
ALLVP is a firm that was born with Fernando and from the management team we are proud to have one of the best professionals in the industry. We trust in his will to become an agent of change and we count on his commitment to building a more equitable and safer industry for women.
This morning, Fernando Lelo de Larrea permanently separated from ALLVP for personal reasons. What happened is painful for us and we wish him the best.
We are grateful to the people with whom we have spoken and we will remain available to meet always.
ALLVP aspires to be an inclusive, safe and trustworthy space. We will dedicate our efforts to contribute in creating a healthier ecosystem and to be the best partner that exceptional people need to become entrepreneurs.
Anne-Charlotte, Antonia, Blanca, Chloé, Federico, Maria Fernanda, Nicolas, Nicole and Patricia
Mexico, December 21, 2021