Passion Capital Founder Stefan Glaenzer Removed on Sex Charges

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London: A venture capital fund led by a former adviser to Boris Johnson has been forced to remove one of its founding investors after he was charged with sexual assault.

Passion Capital, which is led by Eileen Burbidge, Johnson’s digital adviser when he was mayor of London, said it had learnt of criminal charges against Stefan Glaenzer.

Passion is understood to have temporarily suspended two of its funds as a result. Its investments include the banking app Monzo.

The Metropolitan Police said Glaenzer, 60, had been arrested in September 2021 following an allegation made in June that year. He is due to appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on April 7.

One of the country’s leading tech investors, Passion’s venture capital investments include the app-based bank Monzo and the insurance startup Marshmallow and has also secured taxpayer-backed funding through the British Business Bank.

Glänzer started Passion in 2011 alongside Eileen Burbidge and Robert Dighero, who now run the company. Glänzer departed in 2018 and did not have “an active role”, Passion said, but he remained a limited partner in some of its funds.

Glänzer had made millions of founding and leading businesses including the German online auction site Ricardo and the music recommendation site Last.fm.

A British Business Bank spokeswoman said it was a limited partner in the funds operation by Passion and had no direct involvement in running them. “As a limited partner, the bank has supported Passion Capital in its actions to remove Stefan Glänzer from these funds.”

This is not the first time he has been in sexual assault charges.

The London tech startup was rocked in November 2012 by revelations that Glaenzer is facing jail after being convicted of sexually harassing women on the London Underground Tube network. Multi-millionaire Stefan Glaenzer, the former chairman of music streaming site Last.fm and co-founder of the highly active Passion Capital VC fund and the tech cluster of White Bear Yard in Clerkenwell, was said to be under the heavy influence of cannabis at the time, a court heard.

German-born Glaenzer, a former dance DJ for 15 years prior to co-founding Ricardo.de – admitted in court that he had “smoked drugs for some considerable time” and that at the time of the incident he was “on a drugs binge” but that his behaviour had never previously lead to “anything like this.”

Glaenzer, of Notting Hill, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault after being witnessed by plainclothes police on the tube sexually assaulting a woman by thrusting “his groin against her backside”. This was after two similar incidents which were reported to the Police.

Glaenzer became chairman of Last.fm in 2004 and sold his stake for £22 million in 2007.

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