Startup CEO from S.F. charged with felony assault, child sexual abuse

A prominent San Francisco tech CEO has been arrested and charged with felony assault, sexually abusing a child and committing battery against police and emergency workers while resisting arrest, according to new reports.

Zain Jaffer, 29, is alleged to have sexually assaulted and attacked his son, 3, and also harmed his one-year-old daughter, AdAge reported Oct. 20.

None of the allegations have been proven and Jaffer has reportedly entered a not-guilty plea.

The board of mobile video-advertising startup Vungle has stripped Jaffer of his authority and put him on indefinite leave, according to the company.

“We are aware of the extremely serious allegations leveled against our former CEO, and we are shocked beyond words,” the firm’s new CEO Rick Tallman said Oct. 20 in a statement.

“While these charges are completely unrelated to his former role at the company, they are obviously so serious that it led to his immediate removal.

“We learned of the allegations late Monday night (Oct. 16), and convened a board meeting, removed him as CEO and I was appointed permanent CEO all within 24 hours.

“He did not step down for personal reasons as has been erroneously reported. We removed him as rapidly as possible.

“The actions of one individual are in no way reflective of the almost 200 dedicated and hard-working people who work for Vungle. Everyone at the company is appalled and deeply saddened by these events.”

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Police arrested Jaffer on suspicion of attempted murder, but the DA laid a felony assault charge instead, according to VentureBeat.

He was arrested early in the morning of Oct. 15 at his home in posh Hillsborough, according to AdAge.

Jaffer, who launched Vungle in 2011, is charged with four felonies — assault, child abuse and two offenses related to sexual acts with a person under 14, reports said. He’s also charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer and emergency personnel for allegedly resisting arrest, VentureBeat reported Friday. He allegedly spit on an officer during his arrest, according to AdAge, which cited San Mateo County DA Steve Wagstaffe.

Vungle employs about 200 people and generates annual revenue of about $300 million, SFGate reported, citing information from the company.

“Jaffer was a colorful personality, and he spoke at our recent GamesBeat Summit 2017 event about the future of mobile advertising,” according to VentureBeat.

“As leader of Vungle, he bet on video advertising to be the big driver in mobile apps and games.”

A lawyer for Jaffer told VentureBeat in an email that his client had entered a not-guilty plea. The website reported that he’s to appear in court Nov. 1, with bail set at $300,000.

Vungle had been featured in Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report, according to AdAge.

“Vungle is a successful platform that specializes in creating custom-tailored ads using brands’ first-party data to get consumers to download and install apps,” the website reported.

“Meeker used Vungle as an example of how dynamic ad creation can increase conversion rates.”


 Photo: Police crime scene tape (Wikimedia Commons/Yumi Kimura)


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  • George Johnson

    Remember, people are innocent until proven guilty in the USA. As soon as he is found to be guilty he should be taken to the Golden Gate Bridge and thrown over the side while wearing the infamous “MAFIA concrete boot.”

  • joey ma

    White people are innocent until proven guilty

    • Cyberspace

      Sure he’s white or is that just a racist assumption?

  • Alan

    The case was thrown out.
    The damage to his reputation will likely be permanent.
    Now the MN should publish the name of the accuser.