Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Carta, an equity management "unicorn," on Friday held an all-staff meeting in which CEO Henry Ward addressed a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the company's former VP of marketing, Axios has learned from several sources.

Why it matters: The company, which recently was valued at $3.3 billion, has generated attention for its reports on gender disparities in equity ownership —often the primary source of wealth creation for startup employees.

Details: The lawsuit was brought by Emily Kramer, who was at Carta between February 2018 and November 2019.

  • Kramer alleges she was underpaid (per an employee comp audit), improperly passed over for promotion, and excluded from meetings after complaining about such issues as Carta's all-male board. She also claims Ward, her direct supervisor, effectively forced her to quit, after a meeting in which he allegedly called her an "asshole," said "no one likes you," and that she'd gotten "passes" for being a woman.
  • Axios has learned that at least one other former female Carta employee, who worked in a different department and did not directly report to Ward, is also considering a lawsuit.
  • Kramer and her lawyer declined to comment on whether she had attempted to settle with the company prior to filing suit.

Ward, during Friday's meeting, talked at length about his working relationship with Kramer.

  • A source says Ward acknowledged using the term "asshole," but said it was in the context of providing mentorship — sharing feedback from others at the company who had worked with Kramer. The source also said that Kramer "worked very well vertically," (i.e., with Ward), but needed to improve her horizontal work in order to achieve her goal of becoming a CMO at Carta or elsewhere.
  • We were unable to learn what, if anything, Ward said about Kramer's compensation claims (she did get a raise and much more equity following the audit, but neither was retroactive).

Axios also has learned that Carta seriously considered adding former True Religion CEO Chelsea Grayson to its board of directors — after Ward pledged to add a female director in 2018 — but ultimately didn't.

  • Ward didn't return requests for comment. A Carta spokesperson said that Carta is working on a statement, but it wouldn't be ready by the time this piece published.

The bottom line: Carta plays a major role in the startup ecosystem, managing employee equity and developing a private company stock exchange (for which it quietly acqui-hired Australia' MarketGrid Systems).

  • Kramer may have a tough time proving her case, but Carta stands to lose the PR battle even if it wins the legal one (shades of Pao v. Kleiner Perkins).

Update 7/28: A day after the publication of this story, Carta provided Axios with the following statement:

Gender inequality in the workplace is a real and systemic problem, particularly in Silicon Valley, however, the allegations in this case are unfounded. We will allow the court to determine the merits of the claims.
Carta spokesperson

Go deeper

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
54 mins ago - Axios on HBO

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried mystified by value of NFTs

Crypto exchange FTX, valued last week at $25 billion, recently launched an NFT marketplace by selling an image of the word "Test" for $270,000.

  • FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" that he doesn't quite understand the appeal, but adds that he doesn't personally appreciate many visual arts.