Disposable camera app Dispo — originally founded by YouTuber David Dobrik — is in trouble. In February, Dispo raised $20 million at a $200 million valuation led by Spark Capital. Today, Spark Captial announced it has pulled funding, and Dobrik subsequently stepped down from Dispo’s board.
Earlier this year, the New York Times called the Dobrik’s Dispo app “the next Instagram,” and Dispo’s explosive popularity in its Japan test launch led to the Series A funding that propelled the app into the spotlight. Today, Dobrik is no longer associated with the company and its main financial backer has removed itself from any affiliation.
The up-and-down chain of events started last week when Insider published an investigative story into allegations from a woman who said that one of Dobrik’s “Vlog Squad” members Dominykas Zeglaitis sexually assaulted her while filming a video in 2018. Dobrik reportedly knew about the situation and never said anything. The full story is worth a read.
Zeglaitis has not responded to allegations. However, several key sponsors of Dobriks YouTube Channel have cut ties with him including DoorDash, EA Sports, and Dollar Shave Club. Insider reports that Dobrik has lost about 200,000 subscribers since the allegations were reported.
On March 16, shortly after the Insider story was published, Dobrik published a 2.5-minute video on the topic of consent, and apologized for “missing the mark” on the video in question from the Insider investigation. That video has over 5.5 million views at the time of publication, comments were turned off, and like/dislike numbers were not visible.
Five days later, Spark Captial announced that in light of recent news about the Vlog Squad and David Dobrik, the company had made the decision to sever all ties with the company. It pulled out of its position on the board, and is “in the process of making arrangements to ensure” that it does not profit from its recent investment in Dispo.
2/ We have stepped down from our position on the board and we are in the process of making arrangements to ensure we do not profit from our recent investment in Dispo.
— Spark Capital (@sparkcapital) March 22, 2021
Spark Capital had led the charge in Dispo’s recent Series A valuation and financing, which followed a seed funding round in October that raised $4 million led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six firm.
As of early on March 22, Dobrik had stepped down from the board of Dispo and removed himself from the company entirely, as first reported by The Information, so as to “not distract from the company’s growth.”
“David has chosen to step down from the board and leave the company to not distract from the company’s growth,” said Dispo’s chief executive officer Daniel Liss. “Dispo’s team, product, and most importantly- our community- stand for building a diverse, inclusive, and empowering world.”
(via Tech Crunch)