The Silicon Valley fallout from waging economic war against Russia

As the U.S. corporate world continues its withdrawal from Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, a growing stigma against anything Russian is reverberating in Silicon Valley as tech start-ups and venture capital firms reassess their exposure and limit risks. DoorDash and GrubHub recently cancelled deals with now-shut U.S. food delivery start-ups launched by Russian founders. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology pulled out of a multi-year partnership with Moscow’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, while Index Ventures halted further deals in the country. For Silicon Valley, the issues with Russian business run to the heart of immigrant founder-led culture and a global world of institutional investors that in recent years sought more access to top VC ideas. “There can be a stigma toward founders from Russia coming over to the U.S. and Russian-speaking entrepreneurs,” said Julian Zegelman, a general partner in Los Angeles at Step Ahead Capital, former investment banker and lawyer whose family left Russia when he was a child. “We hope it’s not a witch hunt,” he said.

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