Looks like Urban Airship is not going to suffer the same fate as RadiumOne when its CEO was investigated and charged with domestic violence. Urban Airship CEO and co-founder Scott Kveton is stepping down after reports emerged this week that he’s being investigated on rape charges.
Kveton penned a message to employees that was later posted to the company’s blog explaining that he has actually been planning to step down for several months, but the recent headlines have accelerated the process. Effective immediately, CTO Mike Temple will be stepping in as interim CEO until the company can find a replacement.
“Almost every startup founder dreams that one day their company will outgrow their ability to effectively lead it,” Kveton explained via blog post. “The skills that it takes to navigate the stormy early days are completely different than what it takes to plan, execute, develop, and expand a large, fast-growing enterprise. It is a very rare person that makes the leap between these stages, and often times attempts to do so compromise that very company’s ability to get it right.”
The Portland-based company is a mobile back-end developer for mobile apps, offering solutions like push notifications, in-app purchasing, subscriptions, geolocation, and more. Urban Airship has raised $46.6 million since its inception in 2009.
Kveton is currently being investigated for rape charges stemming from a tumultuous relationship he had with a woman who, at one point, worked as a nanny for his family. The two met online in 2008 while both were married to other people, the year before Urban Airship was founded. They dated on and off for five years, during which they “pushed each other’s boundaries” and likened their relationship to that of the one in hit erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, except Christian Grey had a safe word and a non-disclosure agreement.
The allegations against Kveton—and the evidence itself—speaks less to “boundary pushing” and more to boundary raping. And videotaping.
The 34-year-old woman has accused Kveton of several counts of rape, the first occurring in 2010 when she asked Kveton to pick her up from a bar. He reportedly took her back to his house, and she slept on the couch while he slept upstairs. At one point in the early morning hours, he texted her and asked her to join him upstairs. When she declined, he allegedly came downstairs and raped her.
“I can't believe how I treated you the other night,” Kveton wrote in an email to the woman following the attack. “I just felt so betrayed and hurt that night with all of the things you were saying ... that doesn't justify it whatsoever ... I'm just hurt and for some reason I took it out on you in that awful way."
Sounds pretty rapey. But it gets worse. Two days later, Kveton recounts the attack again, but also recalls “many, many, many” other rapes that the accuser “enjoyed”—as well as a video of one such attack.
"I think we did have a different memory ... I was not intoxicated and you were ... I can remember you saying no in the past ... many, many, many times in fact and actually enjoying it all the same ... I seem to think I even have video of it. That's neither here nor there however ... it was awful and I know it."
The woman also provided texts to the police in which Kveton threatened to post pictures and videos of the woman engaged in sex acts online, and would even approach her employer.
The two later resumed their relationship and Kveton admitted apologetically to taking videos of the woman without her consent.
But things went south again and the woman accused Kveton of hiding in her closet and jumping out at her one night when she came home from work. Kveton allegedly dragged her into the bedroom and tied her wrists with reusable tape.
There was a subsequent attack some months later, and the woman has alleged three additional attacks in 2012 and 2013. She now says that she has been removed from the “cycle of abuse” for a full year and is ready to cooperate with the investigation.
What’s particularly bizarre about this case is how open Kveton was with others about it, mass emailing friends to tell them about the accusations and how crazy the woman was, and then later mass emailing them again when he and the woman had resumed their relationship to say she wasn’t that crazy.
Urban Airship could not be reached for comment.