2019-08-24 —

Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who killed himself in jail this month, was also a tech investor. He was supposedly a limited partner in venture-capital funds and an investor in startups.

At least one investor who took his money in 2013, Joi Ito, has come forward. He acknowledged accepting Epstein's money years after the 2008 allegations, including Epstein's guilty plea of soliciting prostitution with a minor, were made public.

"Regrettably, over the years, the Lab has received money through some of the foundations that he controlled. I knew about these gifts and these funds were received with my permission," Ito said in a public apology last week. "I also allowed him to invest in several of my funds which invest in tech startup companies outside of MIT."


Founders are supposed to conduct due diligence on investors before they accept their money. That means calling up references to see whether they're decent humans. Likewise, investors are supposed to do due diligence both on the founders they want to back and on the limited partners who invest in their funds.

Often, little to no due diligence is happening.

"Is it too much to ask that people do a simple Google search before going into business with someone?" the entrepreneur Om Malik wrote after the Epstein-Ito connection was exposed.

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