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Nextdoor cofounder Sarah Leary is joining early-stage venture firm Unusual Ventures as an investing partner

Sarah Leary, Nextdoor, sv100 2015
  • On Tuesday, Unusual Ventures announced in a Forbes report that Sarah Leary, the cofounder and former vice president of neighborhood social media site Nextdoor, was joining the firm as a partner focusing on consumer investing.
  • Business Insider reached out for an interview with Leary regarding the announcement and after initially cooperating with the request, Unusual Ventures declined to make Leary available for an interview.
  • The move may be due to pressure mounting on social media for Unusual to distance itself from Leary, whose former startup has been accused of facilitating discrimination against communities of color.
  • The announcement also broke ranks with other tech companies and venture firms that have largely postponed major announcements or events as the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against police brutality have continued to gain momentum online and in cities across the country.
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Sarah Leary, cofounder of Nextdoor, is joining the early-stage firm Unusual Ventures as a partner on Tuesday.
In an interview with Forbes' Alex Konrad, Unusual Ventures announced that the Nextdoor cofounder and former vice president was joining the firm's consumer investing practice. When Business Insider reached out to speak to Leary and firm cofounder John Vrionis about the news, the group initially cooperated before walking the decision back and declining to make Leary available for media interviews.
"We're super excited about Sarah joining the firm, but we also want to respect that there are bigger conversations happening right now in our country," a firm spokeswoman told Business Insider when declining the interview request. "Like others, we're focused on the actions we can take and as such, we are refraining from media discussions at this time."
Leary stepped down as Nextdoor vice president of marketing and operations in May 2019 but will remain on the board as an observer in addition to her role at Unusual. She will primarily focus on seed and Series A investments together with partner Andy Johns, Forbes reported.
During city-wide shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, many users turned to Nextdoor to organize grocery runs for high-risk neighbors or to barter baking essentials for other household necessities. But as protests against police brutality gain momentum in cities across the country, many users were reminded of the fraught history of policing discrimination on Nextdoor.
Some Twitter users reacted to the news by pointing out that Leary's former startup has been accused of facilitating discrimination against communities of color. The startup markets itself as a public forum for different neighborhoods within cities and suburbs, but has struggled to enforce restrictions on discriminatory behavior from its users in the past.
Leary's appointment and splashy announcement also felt like a rank-breaking by Unusual as more tech companies and venture firms temporarily pause similar announcements or events in a show of solidarity with the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. On Tuesday, many users across social media platforms committed to pausing their own content in favor of amplifying black and other marginalized voices in a show of solidarity with the community.
SEE ALSO: The Information reporter apologizes for 'judgmental' tweet that called out Andreessen Horowitz's silence after pressure from firm founder Ben Horowitz's wife, Felicia
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