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Source: Francisco Riordan
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Venture Capital

He Blew the Whistle on a Silicon Valley Highflier. Then Came the Blowback

Francisco Riordan says he helped expose Rothenberg Ventures to the SEC. It’s a touchy subject in job interviews.

Rothenberg Ventures didn’t waste any time with the red flags, Francisco Riordan says. During Riordan’s first week working on the website for the San Francisco company, known to Silicon Valley startups for its over-the-top spending on parties and perks, Rothenberg’s finance director resigned with no explanation.

That was February 2016. By July, Riordan says, he’d downloaded emails, financial reports, and other records from the network that he says showed the company’s namesake, Chief Executive Officer Mike Rothenberg, was using investor money to fund other projects he owned—projects the investors hadn’t agreed to support. “It just kept escalating and escalating,” says Riordan, 28, who’s featured in the latest episode of the Decrypted podcast. So he contacted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.