By Claudia Aoraha, Senior Reporter For Dailymail.Com
18:37 17 Jan 2024, updated 18:37 17 Jan 2024
- Narv Narvekar, Harvard Management Company’s CEO, made his way to California last week to speak to a number of venture capital firms
- The unusual move comes after Harvard’s embattled president Claudine Gay resigned over accusations about her plagarism and handling of antisemitism
Executives who run Harvard University’s $51billion endowment took a tour around Silicon Valley last week to ease top venture capitalists’ concerns about the pro-Palestine bias on campus.
The unusual move comes after Harvard’s embattled president Claudine Gay resigned over a slew of accusations about her plagarism and handling of antisemitism.
Narv Narvekar, Harvard Management Company’s CEO, made his way to California along with the Chairman and Chief Investment Officer to speak to firms such as Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz, WSJ reports.
They also organized meetings with with Elad Gil, an influencial Silicon Valley exec and Israeli-born investor who previously spoke out about Gay’s plagarism scandal.
Narvekar and the other Harvard representatives also met with Patrick Collison, the CEO of payments company Stripe – which counts on Harvard as a direct investor.
Some of the VC executives, who raise money for Harvard, previously tried to get the university to address concerns about the handling of the antisemitism situation.
Paul Finnegan, who is the treasurer of Harvard University and Chair of the Harvard Management Company, also attended the meetings with Silicon Valley chiefs – which is a rare and unsusal step from him.
Finnegan is also a member of the prestigeous 12-person Harvard Corporation, that governs the university.
While speaking to the investors last week, Finnegan allegedly said that Claudine Gay’s initial lackluster statement about the Israel-Hamas conflict was weak, because she had sought the input from various deans.
He also said in some of the meetings in Silicon Valley that he was aware many believe Harvard’s DEI – diversity, equity, and inclusion – programs have ‘gone too far,’ in recent years.
Narvekar, the endowment’s CEO, was present in many of the meetings, WSJ reports.
The pressure from investors, who are hired by the school to manage their money, is a new facet in the percussive accusations Harvard and its disgraced ex-president have faced in recent months.
Harvard is partially funded by the endowment – which includes thousands of philanthropic, donated gifts. Their move to bring venture captial into the endowment is a relatively new – and Harvard has been slow on the come-up.
Despite this, HMC, which was formed in 1974, is the largest academic endowment in the world.
The VC industry is bolstered by several prominent Israeli investors – and the Jewish country has produced lucrative startups that amass billions of dollars each year.
While there was internal discussion about how the pro-Palestinian sway on campus may affect Harvard’s spot in future venture funds, WSJ reports that the endowment execs were more focused in having open conversations with the CEOs.
As well as California, members of the endowment have been easing the minds of top investors on the East Coast too. One of Harvard’s investiment chiefs allegedly spoke with Josh Kushner, of Thrive Capital, in New York.
Kushner, who is the brother of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared, is a venture manager to Harvard’s endowment and has been outspoken about antisemitism.
When Harvard released a secondary statement after Gay’s shameful congressional testimony in December, Kushner wrote: ‘Congressional testimonies speak louder than tweets. harvard is better than this.’
Harvard endowment spokesman Patrick McKiernan said in a statement to WSJ: ‘HMC is fortunate to have strong, longstanding relationships with many investment managers who care deeply about higher education.
‘It is important to engage with our partners and share with them all of the ways that Harvard is actively working to ensure student safety and protect freedom of speech.’