A former employee is suing troubled VC firm Rothenberg Ventures, claiming unpaid salary


mike rothenberg


Mike Rothenberg

The former chief of staff for Rothenberg Ventures has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the troubled venture capital firm, alleging that the company failed to provide employees with their final paychecks, according to court filings.


The lawsuit, filed Friday by Katie Fanelli in San Francisco, claims that the company violated California labor codes "by failing to provide the employees with their final paycheck and thereby denying them payment for all hours worked."

The complaint also alleges that the firm failed to pay vested paid time off, expense, or any overtime.

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Fanelli worked there for a little over a year, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The firm has been the talk of Silicon Valley, as the small venture-capital firm led by charismatic 32-year-old Mike Rothenberg essentially imploded in August.


The firm, which had had about $50 million under management, ran out of operating money, and all its employees except its lawyer were put on unpaid leave as of mid-August, according to a report by Backchannel. That report and former employees who have spoken to Business Insider portrayed Rothenberg as a lavish spender, at times employing multiple personal assistants and entertaining associates in luxury boxes at sporting events.

One employee who spoke to Business Insider dismissed the idea that Rothenberg put people on unpaid leave, telling us the situation was more akin to being "unemployed."

The venture firm, which has renamed itself Frontier Tech Ventures, could face other legal actions as well.

The company admitted to its investors that the Securities and Exchange Commission was looking into the company, according to an email obtained by Business Insider, although such inquiries do not automatically mean that any further action will be taken. At issue is how the company managed its money.

The SEC also asked people familiar with the company to speak to the FBI and the US Attorney's office, a person close to the matter told Business Insider, which could mean that more investigations are being considered.


We've reached out to the firm for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

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