Code of Conduct
The SOSV Community is a planet-wide family of startups, their founders, employees, advisors, and SOSV mentors, partners, and staff – past, present, and future. SOSV helps startups achieve outsized success – helping teams go further, faster. We do this through various means, many of which include a wide variety of interactions with and amongst this SOSV family. Specifically, SOSV conducts operations in the physical SOSV program locations and in the on-line SOSV Community with the startups we back. We strive to make these co-working spaces, and co-learning spaces, free of inappropriate behavior and trusted places of learning and growth where we treat each other as mature and responsible adults. Your continued involvement is subject to adhering to our Code of Conduct.
It is the responsibility of SOSV to notify founders of the updated Code of Conduct location, and to review the Code as part of orientation at each SOSV program. The Code of Conduct will be posted on the SOSV website, as well as in the SOSV portal for founders. In addition, all SOSV staff are required to sign off that they have read and understand the Code of Conduct.
This Code of Conduct is built around core values that we hold as individuals and as an organization.
We hold ourselves and our community to the highest standards of integrity in our internal business practices, as well as in interactions with other teams, alumni, staff, investors, mentors and partners. Members of the SOSV community are expected to adhere to all local laws, rules, and regulations. All potential conflicts of interest with SOSV employees must be reported to the appropriate parties (see below), as per the SOSV staff conflict of interest policy. Every startup is required to truthfully complete an SOSV Ethical Compliance questionnaire on first investment from SOSV (the legal department collects this information as part of the initial SOSV investment for each team). If any of the startup’s activities change after signing and fall within the scope of banned activities, or if significant internal events occur that threaten the startup’s ethical compliance come to light, this must be reported to SOSV immediately.
SOSV is not a place for behavior that is inappropriate, illegal, off-topic, disruptive, or abusive. SOSV defines inappropriate behavior as any form of verbal, written, or physical abuse, the use of directly or indirectly derogatory or discriminatory language, gestures or actions, any form of harassment, bullying, racism, sexism, or any other targeted comments which are intended to cause personal offense to another SOSV community member either in-person or through any means of communication, including social media channels, or in violation of any local, state, or national laws.
In interacting with members of the SOSV extended family, you will come to learn certain information that is not public. Our Community takes confidentiality seriously, and you are expected to as well. If you are unsure what is confidential or not, ask. Consider it confidential until you receive an answer. This discretion is the foundation for building meaningful, trusting, and mutually beneficial relationships among the SOSV Family.
SOSV may take action in its discretion against any individual(s) or group(s) it believes fail to meet the standards set forth in this Code of Conduct. Any founder may, in certain circumstances, be deemed responsible for the actions or behaviors of his/her co-founders, employees, or advisors that are in breach of this code. Enforcement actions for any such breach may include, but are not limited to, ejecting or suspending you from an event, program, workspace, or online Community, requiring your participation on a training/education course relevant to the breach in question, and/or immediate termination of your employment, membership and/or association with the SOSV Community.
If you believe you’ve observed or experienced a violation of this Code of Conduct, please notify any SOSV staff member who you feel comfortable talking with, and SOSV will work to assess the situation and to respond as quickly as possible. Please remember that notifying SOSV does not constitute or replace a notification to local law enforcement, and all violations of the law should be reported to local law enforcement.
And don’t forget… often all it takes for bad behavior to be reined in is simply a single voice – perhaps yours – standing up for good and just behavior. Don’t let bad behavior go unnoticed. ‘Community’ means all members of the community have responsibility for maintaining the standards of the community. We expect everyone to hold each other to high standards. While reporting violations of this code of conduct is important, often nothing is as effective as dealing directly with the situation in a mature way at the time of offense, where possible. SOSV cannot act as an arbiter of spaces and places in respect of which SOSV does not have any jurisdiction over. In such situations, please recognize your own personal authority as a leader in your startup to create better standards around you, and, where possible, “Speak Truth to Power” in order to assert the moral authority you have in your situation.
If possible, please try to capture any incidents by saving a copy of the offending e-mail; or, if a physical event, with a video clip or photo. It is far easier to understand violations and take action when there is physical proof.
If you need to report a violation of this Code of Conduct, please inform one of the following individuals at SOSV:
- Sandra Manning, Senior Financial Accountant firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maria O’Brien, General Counsel email@example.com
All complaints will be heard as a priority, in confidence, and with the utmost respect for discretion, and elevated as appropriate and as may be required to the General Partner and/or Managing Partner.
This is a living document that seeks to address community behavior across thousands of people from scores of nations. It will evolve over time. The most up to date version can be found at https://sosv.com/code-of-conduct.
Last updated: 11 May 2021