CEO of $2 billion marketing startup Iterable is fired for 'taking LSD at work as part of microdosing regimen to improve his focus'

 The CEO and co-founder of the burgeoning marketing startup Iterable Inc has been fired for reportedly taking LSD at work to boost his focus.

The San Francisco-based tech company valued at $2 billion announced the departure of its chief executive officer Justin Zhu in an email to employees.

The letter did not specify why Zhu was being ousted, only saying that he violated company policy, but the fired CEO claimed his termination was due to his LSD consumption.

Speaking to Bloomberg, which first reported the story, Zhu said that he took the illegal drug before a meeting in 2019 as part of a microdosing regimen - the increasingly popular practice of consuming very low doses of hallucinogenic drugs - in a bid to improve his concentration. 

LSD, or Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that was first created in a lab in 1938. 

Iterable is headquartered in San Francisco (pictured). The company provides marketing solutions that allow retailers to reach customers via email, push notifications and text messages

Iterable is headquartered in San Francisco (pictured). The company provides marketing solutions that allow retailers to reach customers via email, push notifications and text messages

Zhu (left) and Andrew Boni (right) together launched Iterable in 2013. Boni has now replaced Zhu as CEO

Zhu (left) and Andrew Boni (right) together launched Iterable in 2013. Boni has now replaced Zhu as CEO  


In the US, LSD is illegal and is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse, is not used in medical treatments and is deemed unsafe.  

Zhu, a Twitter alum, co-founded Iterable with Andrew Boni, previously of Google, in 2013.

LSD, or Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that was first created in a lab in 1938 (stock image)

LSD, or Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that was first created in a lab in 1938 (stock image)

The company, which provides marketing solutions for businesses, has rapidly expanded, and its roster of clients currently includes such well-known brands as DoorDash, Zillow and Basics.

In the wake of Zhu's dismissal, the company's board replaced him with Boni as CEO.

Boni wrote in his missive to staff that Zhu's behavior not only violated Iterable's 'polices and values,' but also 'undermined the board's confidence in Justin's ability to lead the company going forward.'

At the same time, Boni praised his now-former colleague as a 'world-class innovator and creative thinker.'

According to an 2017 interview with 645Ventures.com, Zhu, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, was working as an engineer at Twitter when he met Boni at a house party, and the two eventually hatched a plan to launch a marketing company that would allow retailers to reach customers via email, push notifications and text messages. 

Zhu, a native of China, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree and computer science
Zhu was hired as a software engineer at Twitter straight out of college

Zhu, a native of China, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree and computer science and was hired as a software engineer at Twitter straight out of college 

In 2019, Iterable made headlines when it secured an additional $60million in funding from investors. 

Earlier this month, Zhu was among dozens of prominent Silicon Valley executives, among them Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, and Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, who joined forces and pledged a $10million donation to help stop attacks targeting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

Zhu helped organize the campaign, called 'Stand with Asian Americans,' telling Palo Alto Patch: 'The goal is to bring this issue into the mainstream because for our community to be safe.'

According to the article, Zhu was born in Shanghai, China, immigrated to Canada at age eight, moved to the US when he was in middle school and became a naturalized citizen in 2012. 

Zhu earned a degree in computer science from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and was hired as a software engineer at Twitter straight out of college.    

Nearly eight years after Zhu and Boni started Iterable, the company now employs some 400 staffers. 

CEO of $2 billion marketing startup Iterable is fired for 'taking LSD at work as part of microdosing regimen to improve his focus' CEO of $2 billion marketing startup Iterable is fired for 'taking LSD at work as part of microdosing regimen to improve his focus' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:07 Rating: 5

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