ConsenSys and a Former Exec in $50 Million Clash

  • The VC backed by an ethereum cofounder alleged ex-partner Kavita Gupta lied about her credentials.
  • It alleged that she produced a forged letter from MIT’s president and called a colleague “fat ass.”
  • Gupta said that was nonsense and that she deserved a chunk of the investment fund’s profits.

ConsenSys Mesh, the crypto investor and incubator launched by the ethereum cofounder Joseph Lubin, has accused a former partner of lying about her credentials, abusing her fellow employees, and trying to “shake down” the company.

In a lawsuit filed this week, ConsenSys Mesh alleged Kavita Gupta lied about having gone to Harvard Business School and forged records, including a letter from the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to backstop her résumé. It said that some employees quit because of Gupta’s “toxic and abusive personality” and said she once told a colleague to “move your fat ass up the stairs.”

Gupta left ConsenSys AG’s investment arm in 2019 before its legal split into ConsenSys Software and ConsenSys Mesh and announced last year that she was raising her own $50 million-plus fund, the Delta Blockchain Fund, with support from big-name crypto investors. 

In an interview with Insider, Gupta called the forgery allegations “bullshit” and laughed at claims that she called a colleague fat. She said that she herself had been a victim of inappropriate conduct at ConsenSys and that the company did not act on her complaints. She alleged the company was calling her dishonest to avoid paying what it owed her.

“It’s shocking to me that ConsenSys would want to open the door for a public airing of what went on in the ConsenSys workplace,” her lawyer Peter Cane told Insider. “That was an interesting choice, and I think they will live to regret it.”

Gupta sued Lubin and several ConsenSys entities on New Year’s Eve, claiming she generated perhaps $300 million in profit for the company by picking startups to invest in. She said that she was entitled to 20% of the profits and that the company offered her “low-single-digit millions” to end the conflict.

In its lawsuit, ConsenSys Mesh said Gupta was allowed to resign in 2019 to avoid negative attention. The company called her “a fraud” and said the contracts she signed meant she wasn’t entitled to anything.

“Gupta’s fraud and her consequent disastrous failure to perform her duties caused ConsenSys millions of dollars in damages, including in the form of lost employees (who quit rather than work with Gupta), lost investment opportunities with promising companies (who refused to work with Gupta or for whom the ConsenSys brand was tainted), and injury to ConsenSys’s reputation,” the company said in its complaint.

The company declined to share copies of the documents that it alleged were fraudulent.

“This is an ongoing legal matter and consistent with our practices, we will let our formal filings and the results of the litigation speak for themselves,” a representative for ConsenSys Mesh told Insider.

Cane, Gupta’s lawyer, said he anticipated that she would be filing her own allegations later this week.