Shervin Pishevar, an investor who left Silicon Valley for Miami after being accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct in 2017, has resurfaced in a role that will be familiar to anyone who has followed his career. According to new reports, Pishevar is now “vice-chairman” of Yeezy, the consumer brand controlled by Kanye West, which legally changed its name to Ye last year.
In a TBEN Business report today about Ye’s decision to end his relationship with the Gap (he ended their partnership early and plans to launch his own stores), Pishevar was quoted as saying an executive speaking on Ye’s behalf: “There’s only one Yes… His fingerprints are all over our modern life, our culture, our clothes, our devices, our music His influence has changed the design of our modern life, and only one other person I can think of has that ability, and that was Steve Jobs.”
While there’s no doubt that Ye is the ultimate influencer, Pishevar has never lost out on often grandiose language, as longtime industry watchers will know.
He is also known for pairing his chariot with power players and using his own companion power – sometimes in disturbing ways.
Pishevar, a serial entrepreneur who sold a mobile social games company for an undisclosed sum in 2011, joined Menlo Ventures later that year and convinced the company to lead Uber’s Series B round. With Uber’s star on the rise, Pishevar — a self-promoter who has said he put $4 million of his own money into the company — became sort of a de facto company spokesperson, routinely tweeting about his relationship with the then-CEO. Travis Kalanick (he continues until do this) and, less than three years later, used his burgeoning wealth to start his own venture, Sherpa Capital.
Things were going really well as Pishevar – he was drawing more and bigger stories about himself in the media – until one of his projects, Hyperloop One, failed in a big way, with a lawsuit filed by his co-founder in pursuit of Pishevar of nepotism and worse. (One of the co-founder’s most abhorrent claims was that Pishevar’s brother, brought on board as the company’s well-paid general counsel, threatened the co-founder by putting a noose on his chair.)
Not long after, those accusations of assault came together with a rape allegation in London. Pishevar was never charged with a crime; meanwhile, none of the five women who spoke to Bloomberg about Pishevar in 2017, saying he was using his increasingly powerful position in the tech world to pursue romantic relationships and unwanted sexual encounters, would go public for fear of repercussions.
Their fears were apparently not unfounded. Pishevar is known for litigating. He can also be intimidating, as this editor experienced firsthand for an onstage event with him in 2016. (While Pishevar was charming leading up to the sit-down, once backstage, Pishevar and several of his associates surrounded me as he warned in no uncertain terms that he would leave the live interview if I asked certain questions about his business dealings.)
Anyway, Pishevar left California after that, and it seems he successfully reinvented himself in Miami, lived lavishly, found new audiences for his stories, and invested in startups, not all of which worked out.
Most notably, Pishevar mentions Bolt Mobility on his LinkedIn page. But the startup, co-founded by famed Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, ran out of money this summer, leaving behind hundreds of unusable electric scooters and bicycles in at least eight U.S. cities.
Clinging to Ye – a towering, combative figure who, like Kalanick, does things his own way – completes the picture in a way. Now to see how long it takes.