The Apttus Story: The Scandalous Rise & Fall of a Startup CEO


When employees showed up to work at Apttus’ San Mateo headquarters on July 2, 2018, they were shocked to learn that the startup’s longtime CEO, Kirk Krappe, was no longer at the company. It didn’t take long before rumors about Krappe’s disappearance were swirling through the company’s offices.

With promises of an eventual IPO, Krappe sold employees, customers, and investors on a Silicon Valley dream that in hindsight appeared to have been only loosely based in reality. Instead of a hot startup, the company Krappe created was by a number of accounts a lawless place where sexual harassment and inappropriate relationships were rampant at the highest levels.

The startup’s still unfolding drama, if the allegations are true, shows how pervasively a company can be infected by toxic behavior once it’s taken root at the top of the organization, and how easily it is allowed to happen in Silicon Valley.

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