Bill Gurley

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Bill Gurley
Bill Gurley.jpg
Born
John William Gurley

May 10, 1966
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Florida
University of Texas
Known forInvesting, general partner at Benchmark

Bill Gurley (John William Gurley) (born May 10, 1966) is a general partner at Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm in Menlo Park, California. He is listed consistently on the Forbes Midas List[1][2] and is considered one of technology’s top dealmakers.

Education and early career[edit]

Gurley was born in Dickinson, Texas, outside of Houston, on May 10, 1966. Gurley graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science. While at the University of Florida, he was a member of the men’s basketball team.[3] Gurley received his MBA from the University of Texas in 1993.[4]

Prior to his investment career, Gurley was a design engineer at Compaq Computer, where he worked on products such as the 486/50 and Compaq's first multi-processor server. Before Compaq, he worked in the technical marketing group of Advanced Micro Devices' embedded processor division.[5] With both a financial and engineering background he “has a way of sizing things up that makes him both intriguing and highly quotable."[6]

Before joining Benchmark in 1999,[7] Gurley was a partner at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He had also spent four years on Wall Street as a research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston. He was considered “one of Wall Street’s premier technology analysts."[8] He covered companies including Dell, Compaq and Microsoft and was the lead analyst on the Amazon.com IPO.[9]

Career[edit]

Benchmark[edit]

At Benchmark, Gurley has led investments in and holds board seats on Brighter, DogVacay,[10] Good Eggs,[11] GrubHub, HackerOne,[12] Linden Lab, LiveOps, Nextdoor, OpenTable, Sailthru,[13] Scale Computing, Stitch Fix,[14] Vessel,[15] and Zillow.[16]

Investments[edit]

Previous investments have included: Avamar Technologies (acquired by EMC Corporation), Business.com (acquired by R.H. Donnelley), Clicker.com (acquired by CBS Interactive), Demandforce (acquired by Intuit), Employease (acquired by Automatic Data Processing), JAMDAT Mobile (acquired by Electronic Arts), Nordstrom.com (acquired by Nordstrom), Shopping.com (acquired by eBay), The Knot, Uber, and Vudu (acquired by Walmart).[5]

With the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, Gurley garnered attention[17] when he sent a letter[18] to his portfolio companies, advising CEOs to exercise caution in spending but to look for and take advantage of opportunities[19] that become available during harsh economic times. In a 2015 interview Gurley said of private tech investing, "It’s my belief that Silicon Valley and the venture-backed businesses have moved into a world that is both speculative and unsustainable."[20] Gurley’s warnings, and post on his personal blog,[21] Above the Crowd, on venture capital spending, have been widely discussed in the industry.[22][23] He also advises family offices to be careful before investing in unicorn companies.[24]

In March 2016, Gurley was named VC of the Year at TechCrunch’s annual Crunchies awards.[25]

Uber[edit]

Gurley left Uber's board of directors in June 2017. The announcement was released one day after the company announced the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick following months of controversy over Uber's corporate culture.[26][27][28] An advisor for Uber during allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment, Gurley was reportedly instrumental in the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick.

Gurley reportedly had a close relationship with CEO Travis Kalanick. He was Uber’s most engaged board member and the closest thing Mr. Kalanick has to a consigliere.[29] Gurley shared his support for Kalanick on Twitter, stating "There will be many pages in the history books devoted to @travisk - very few entrepreneurs have had such a lasting impact on the world."[30]

Personal life[edit]

Gurley is known for his above average height; he is 6’9”.[31] The title of his blog, Above the Crowd, and the book eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists that profiles the Benchmark team, both reference his height; the subtitle of eBoys is “The true story of the six tall men who backed eBay, Webvan, and other billion-dollar start-ups."[32]

Gurley is on the advisory council of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas and is a board member at KIPP Bay Area Schools.[7] He is married with three children and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Midas List - Forbes.com
  2. ^ "Bill Gurley". Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  3. ^ "Bill Gurley". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  4. ^ "John William Gurley CFA: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  5. ^ a b Benchmark Capital: Silicon Valley Team: General Partners: Bill Gurley Archived June 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Bill Gurley on flush VCs: "We’ve seen how this movie ends." - The Browser: Analyzing the tech biz[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Bill Gurley". CrunchBase. TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  8. ^ Jeffrey Pfeffer, The Human Equation. (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998) p.82.
  9. ^ Byran Eisenberg, Call to Action: Simple Formulas to Improve Online Results. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2006) p. 27.
  10. ^ Rao, Leena (13 November 2012). "The Airbnb For Pets, DogVacay, Raises $6M From Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Benchmark Makes 'Contrarian' Bet on Small Grocery Startup in Age of Amazon". Bloomberg.com. 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  12. ^ Gage, Deborah (28 May 2014). "HackerOne Emerges With $9 Million to Root Out Software Bugs". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  13. ^ Nisen, Max (11 February 2013). "Sailthru Raises $19 Million For Using Big Data Respectfully". Business Insider. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  14. ^ Taylor, Colleen (17 October 2013). "Stitch Fix, The Online Personal Shopping Startup, Sews Up $12 Million Series B Led By Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  15. ^ Kafka, Peter (24 June 2014). "Jason Kilar's New Startup Has a Name, and a Whole Lot of Money". Re/Code. Re/Code. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Bill Gurley reunites with Zillow's Spencer Rascoff to talk 'insane curiosity' and finding good leaders". GeekWire. 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  17. ^ How To Survive Great Depression 2.0 Without Firing Everyone article by Henry Blodget on Business Insider October 17, 2008, accessed March 16, 2015
  18. ^ How Tech Start-ups Plan on Getting By
  19. ^ Benchmark Capital Advises Startups To Conserve Capital, Look For Opportunities
  20. ^ Bill Gurley Sees Silicon Valley on a Dangerous Path Wall Street Journal. October 28, 2015
  21. ^ markmilian, Mark Milian. "VC Bill Gurley Tells Startups to Beware of 'Dirty' Fundraising Terms". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  22. ^ "Silicon Valley investor: Unicorn startups are like career college students". Fortune. 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  23. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Silicon Valley Investor Warns of Bubble at SXSW". Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  24. ^ Talati, Sonia (May 3, 2016). "Unicorns Out to Gore Family Offices". Barron's.
  25. ^ Lardinois, Frederic; Kumparak, Greg. "And The Winners Of The 9th Annual Crunchies Are…". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  26. ^ "Bill Gurley to leave Uber's board of directors – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  27. ^ "Amid Tumult at Uber, Bill Gurley Is Said to Be Leaving Board". The New York Times. 2017-06-21. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  28. ^ "Kalanick Critic to Step Down From Uber Board of Directors". Bloomberg.com. 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  29. ^ "In Silicon Valley, a Voice of Caution Guides a High-Flying Uber". The New York Times. 2017-03-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  30. ^ "Bill Gurley on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  31. ^ 08/25/97 BILL GURLEY-Venture Capitalist, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners Archived May 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Amazon.com: eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work: Randall E. Stross: Books

Further reading[edit]

  • Randall E. Stross, eBoys : The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work. (New York: Ballantine Books, 2000). ISBN 0-345-42889-7.

External links[edit]