In a leaked memo from Crux Informatics, the data startup backed by Two Sigma, Goldman Sachs, and Citi threatens legal action if its former employees talk to journalists

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In a leaked memo from Crux Informatics, the data startup backed by Two Sigma, Goldman Sachs, and Citi threatens legal action if its former employees talk to journalists

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Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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  • Crux Informatics, which raised tens of millions from Goldman Sachs, Two Sigma, and Citi, has overhauled its executive and technology teams since it was founded in last 2017, as outlined in a recent article by Business Insider.
  • After the article ran, Crux sent a memo to former Crux employees who had signed severance agreements telling them that the startup "will not hesitate to enforce its legal remedies" if former employees share non-public information or disparage the company.
  • Binding non-disclosure agreements from former employers have been under pressure thanks to #MeToo scandals. California introduced a law in November of 2018 that banned settlement agreements from disallowing people from speaking out about harassment or discrimination.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former employees of Crux Informatics received a stern warning on Valentine's Day.

The startup backed by Goldman Sachs, Two Sigma, and Citi sent a memo on Friday stating that former employees who had signed severance agreements could be sued by the data company if they were found to be speaking with journalists or making online comments about the company.

The memo, which was viewed by Business Insider, was sent by the firm's CFO Marie Sonde following a story written by Business Insider on the firm's changes to its executive and technology teams, including the closure of its San Francisco office, over the last 18 months.

The memo notes that Business Insider did not publish "confidential" information in its story, but that "they made it clear that former employees of Crux had divulged to them information that Crux would consider to be confidential."

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The firm did not disclose in the memo what query from Business Insider this was related to and declined our requests to comment.

"Crux is taking this opportunity to remind you of your obligations to Crux as spelled out in your recently executed Severance Agreement and Release. This includes your obligation of confidentiality with respect to the disclosure of all nonpublic information concerning Crux and its clients as well as your obligation not to make any false, disparaging, derogatory or defamatory statements online or otherwise," the memo reads.

"Relaying non-public information or making disparaging comments, even anonymously, is a breach of those agreements and obligations and Crux will not hesitate to enforce its legal remedies if it becomes aware of such a breach."

A broader push against non-disclosure agreements and settlement arrangements that limit a former employee's ability to speak publicly has grown, mainly as a result of the #MeToo movement. California passed a bill in November 2018 that does not allow settlement agreements to limit a person's ability to speak out against past harassment or discrimination.

Crux's memo stated that the Business Insider story was "instigated by former Crux employees," which is inaccurate. The firm did not respond to request for comment as to why this was included in the memo.

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The memo told former employees approached by journalists, consultants, and analysts to direct them to the firm's head of marketing Pablo Cerrilla.

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