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The experience of raising money last year bewildered Elizabeth Giorgi at first. Almost always, she pitched her startup company, Soona, to an all-male audience of investors. There were few women Giorgi could turn to. Many young companies look to venture capital investments to fund their early years, but that's an industry dominated by men.

And the industry has had its share of MeToo problems — as Giorgi says she soon personally experienced. Last February, she found an investor who seemed keen on her vision to expand Soona, a same-day photo and video startup she co-founded. He agreed to invest. Then later that evening, she says, he sent her naked photos of himself. So Giorgi asked her lawyers to draw up what she calls the " candor clause. It requires investors in her company to disclose any prior allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment. Giorgi says that because investors wield an enormous amount of influence over startups and their executives, it's critical to address potentially toxic personal dynamics upfront.

She has since shared it publicly on her company's websitehoping to help other women founders, who are a relatively rare breed. Last year, only 2. Don't see the graphic above?. Other surveys find that sexual harassment is a big problem for female founders. Ellen Pao is a former venture capital investor who sued premier Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner Perkins for gender discrimination.

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She lost at trial in and now he Project Include, which advocates for diversity in technology. Pao applauds the candor clause and its intent but says if it's violated and the case goes to court, women would still face an uphill battle. Indeed, meeting the legal standard for sexual harassment is difficult in court, which is one reason that the candor clause and other similar efforts aim to prevent problems before they occur. Take an online directory called MovingForwardwhich publishes discrimination and harassment policies of venture capital firms that agree to post them.

The list is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy, who says she was sexually harassed and assaulted by an investor five years ago. What can we do at the very basic level to improve that? About firms worldwide have posted their policies on MovingForward so far. Sew Hoy calls it slow but meaningful progress.

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Giorgi says 40 women founders have gotten their investors to the candor clause, but others are afraid to push for it. When startups need money, they often turn to venture capital. Men dominate that world. The industry has had its share of MeToo problems. One woman who has survived that has come up with a new kind of safeguard she hopes others will follow. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has her story.

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Almost always, she pitched her firm to an all-male audience of investors. I would occasionally have people ask me about whether or not I have children or if I was planning on having children anytime soon. In February, she found an investor who seemed keen on her vision. He agreed to invest, then sent her naked photos of himself. GIORGI: I remember crying in the bedroom upstairs while my colleagues were having dinner downstairs because I just thought, is this what I'm going to have to subject myself to if I want to raise this money and build our dream?

Giorgi says investors wield a huge amount of influence over startups and their executives, so it's critical to address potentially toxic personal dynamics up front. GIORGI: If nothing else, we should be able to have radically honest conversations with each other about how we want to be treated in the world. She's since shared it publicly on her company's website, hoping to help other women founders, who are a relatively rare breed. Last year, only about 2. Other surveys also find sexual harassment is a big problem among female founders. Ellen Pao is a former venture capitalist.

She sued premier Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner Perkins for gender discrimination. She lost that trial. She now he Project Include, which advocates for diversity in technology. Pao applauds the candor clause and its intent. But, she says, if it's violated and the case goes to court, women would still face an uphill battle. They have so many resources.

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That's why the candor clause and other similar efforts aim to prevent problems before they occur. Take an online directory called MovingForward.

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It publishes discrimination and harassment policies of venture capital firms that agree to post them. About firms have posted so far. It's the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy, who says that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by an investor five years ago. There's a problem between VC-founder relationships and the power imbalance. But others are afraid to push for it.

GIORGI: I have had conversations with other female founders who've expressed fear about trying to talk about the candor clause and concerns that it would somehow cause an investor to rescind their support. You have a right to demand better behavior. View the discussion thread. Delaware Public Media. Share Tweet.

Elizabeth Giorgi created the "candor clause" after being harassed by a would-be investor. Courtesy of Soona Studios. Giorgi turned down his money and blocked all contacts with him.

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But the experience reverberated.

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