Zain Jaffer, CEO of Vungle, Arrested on Charges of Child Sexual Abuse

Zain Jaffer, charged on two accounts of child abuse, has been removed as the CEO of Vungle.


Zain Jaffer, the co-founder of San Francisco-based startup Vungle, a mobile ad company, has been arrested over charges of sexually abusing his children, among others. Jaffer was removed from the position of the company’s CEO immediately after the arrest, and replaced by Rick Tallman.

Jaffer, who is of Indian descent, has a three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter. He is accused of felony assault, lewd act upon a child, and other related charges.

Jaffer’s arrest was confirmed after he was present in the “inmate locator” database of San Mateo County Sherrif’s office.

Steve Wagstaffe, the San Mateo County District Attorney, said the 29-year-old entrepreneur was “charged with two counts of child abuse, against his son and daughter, as well as oral copulation of a person under 14, lewd act upon a child and assault likely to produce great bodily injury,” according to Forbes. Initially, he was also charged with attempt to murder but the charge was dropped due to lack of evidence, the report added.

Jaffer was also charged with misdemeanor battery upon a police officer and emergency personnel.

His attorney, Daniel Olmos told Forbes: “Mr. Jaffer has pleaded not guilty and he will not comment publicly at this time.”

Jaffer’s parents lived in Uganda in the 1970s during Idi Amin’s rule, and soon moved to the United Kingdom, according to the book Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups by Jim Stengel and Tom Post that added that Jaffer, an ethnic Indian, grew up in west London towns of Hayes and Harlington. When he started Vungle he did not have enough funding to run the organization but entered a competition sponsored by Angelpad, a startup incubator. He was educated at the King’s College London and University College London.

Rick Tallman Announces Jaffer’s Sacking

Tallman said in a statement, “We are aware of the extremely serious allegations leveled against our former CEO, and we are shocked beyond words. While these charges are completely unrelated to his former role at the company, they are obviously so serious that it led to his immediate removal.

We learned of the allegations late Monday night, and convened a board meeting, removed him as CEO and I was appointed permanent CEO all within 24 hours. He did not step down for personal reasons as has been erroneously reported. We removed him as rapidly as possible.

The actions of one individual are in no way reflective of the almost 200 dedicated and hard-working people who work for Vungle. Everyone at the company is appalled and deeply saddened by these events.”

Jaffer was included in the Forbes’ list of 30 Under 30 in 2012. Along with co-founder Jack Smith, Jaffer raised a $2 million seed round the same year. The company had earlier this year said it reached a $300 million run rate for annualized revenues.


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