Fed up over sexual harassment scandal, she quit 500 Startups. Now she’s starting her own VC firm to ‘level the playing field’

When 500 Startups founder Dave McClure admitted to being a “creep” and resigned, that was the last straw for Elizabeth Yin.

The serial entrepreneur and investor, and former 500 Startups partner, quit the firm in July, saying “I can no longer continue to represent this organization.”

Now Yin is back with a vengeance. She’s starting her own venture capital firm, dubbed Hustle Fund, which will focus on leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs. She and co-founder Eric Bahn, another former 500 Startups partner who also left the startup accelerator in protest of McClure’s actions, will focus on funding founders that don’t necessarily fit the standard pedigree that other investors tend to look for, a person with knowledge of the fund told SiliconBeat. The partners will look for diversity in race, gender, geography, education, and more.

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Yin can’t yet comment on the record about the fund, due to Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

Hustle Fund is raising $50 million, according to a form the firm filed with the SEC.

The fund will focus on “pre-seed” investments — meaning it will back very early-stage companies that have a couple of founders, a product and not much else, the person familiar with the fund said. Yin and her partner will dole out $25,000 checks, and likely will invest in more than 100 companies. The person familiar with the plans said Hustle Fund already is working on deals with several companies that went through the 500 Startups accelerator program.

Haven’t heard of a “pre-seed” fund? It’s the hot new fundraising vehicle in Silicon Valley, as Axios reports, explaining that “pre-seed” is the new seed.

Yin apparently has been planning to start her own fund for some time, but the 500 Startup scandal helped her pull the trigger. In early July, McClure quit the accelerator he founded after publicly apologizing for coming on to multiple women in work-related settings. He admitted to hurting or offending several women in a blog post titled “I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry,” which he published after a New York Times article accused him of hitting on a job candidate while recruiting her to his firm.

Since launching 500 Startups in 2010, McClure and co-founder Christine Tsai, who took over in McClure’s wake, have invested in more than 1,800 tech startups around the world, including Twilio, Credit Karma and Uber competitor Grab.

¬†Photo: Screen shot from Elizabeth Yin’s LinkedIn page. Yin is launching a new venture capital fund called Hustle Fund. (Elizabeth Yin)

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