Bill Gurley

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Bill Gurley
Bill Gurley
Gurley in 2013
John William Gurley

May 10, 1966 (1966-05-10) (age 58)
Known forInvesting, general partner at Benchmark

John William Gurley (born May 10, 1966) is an American businessman. He is a general partner at Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm in San Francisco, California. He is listed consistently on the Forbes Midas List[1][2] and is considered one of the top dealmakers in the American technology industry.[3][4]

Education and early career[edit]

John William 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 degree.[5] While at the University of Florida, he was a member of the men’s basketball team.[5] Gurley received his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business in 1993.[6]

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 AMD's embedded processor division.[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 IPO.[9]


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]

Other investments of his have included: Avamar Technologies (acquired by EMC Corporation), (acquired by R.H. Donnelley), (acquired by CBS Interactive), Demandforce (acquired by Intuit), Employease (acquired by ADP, Inc.), JAMDAT Mobile (acquired by Electronic Arts), (acquired by Nordstrom), (acquired by eBay), The Knot, Uber, and Vudu (acquired by Walmart).[7]

2008 recession[edit]

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 posts 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]


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 had 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]

In April 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gurley would be stepping back from Benchmark as he was not investing in a new fund that his venture capital firm was raising.[31][32]

In popular culture[edit]

A fictionalised version of Gurley portrayed by actor Kyle Chandler appeared in the Showtime drama series Super Pumped.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Gurley is known for his above-average height; he is 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m).[34] 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."[35]

Gurley is married with three children and currently lives in Austin, Texas.[36]


  1. ^ "Forbes List Directory". Forbes. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  2. ^ "Bill Gurley". Forbes. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  3. ^ "When Money Looks Easy, It Brings Out The Worst Entrepreneur". Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  4. ^ "Bill Gurley Sees Silicon Valley on a Dangerous Path". Wall Street Journal. October 27, 2015. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "#3 Bill Gurley". Forbes. 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  6. ^ "John William Gurley CFA: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Benchmark Capital: Silicon Valley Team: General Partners: Bill Gurley Archived June 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  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 (November 13, 2012). "The Airbnb For Pets, DogVacay, Raises $6M From Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  11. ^ "Benchmark Makes 'Contrarian' Bet on Small Grocery Startup in Age of Amazon". May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Gage, Deborah (May 28, 2014). "HackerOne Emerges With $9 Million to Root Out Software Bugs". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  13. ^ Nisen, Max (February 11, 2013). "Sailthru Raises $19 Million For Using Big Data Respectfully". Business Insider. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  14. ^ Taylor, Colleen (October 17, 2013). "Stitch Fix, The Online Personal Shopping Startup, Sews Up $12 Million Series B Led By Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  15. ^ Kafka, Peter (June 24, 2014). "Jason Kilar's New Startup Has a Name, and a Whole Lot of Money". Re/Code. Re/Code. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  16. ^ "Bill Gurley reunites with Zillow's Spencer Rascoff to talk 'insane curiosity' and finding good leaders". GeekWire. July 2, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  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". Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  22. ^ "Silicon Valley investor: Unicorn startups are like career college students". Fortune. October 20, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  23. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Silicon Valley Investor Warns of Bubble at SXSW". Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  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 August 24, 2016.
  26. ^ "Bill Gurley to leave Uber's board of directors – TechCrunch". Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  27. ^ "Amid Tumult at Uber, Bill Gurley Is Said to Be Leaving Board". The New York Times. June 21, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  28. ^ "Kalanick Critic to Step Down From Uber Board of Directors". June 21, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  29. ^ "In Silicon Valley, a Voice of Caution Guides a High-Flying Uber". The New York Times. March 18, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  30. ^ "Bill Gurley on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  31. ^ Winkler, Yuliya Chernova and Rolfe (April 23, 2020). "WSJ News Exclusive | Venture Capitalist Bill Gurley Isn't Joining Benchmark's Next Fund". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  32. ^ "Bill Gurley is stepping away from an active role at Benchmark, 21 years after joining the firm". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  33. ^ Kiefer, Halle (May 27, 2021). "Kyle Chandler to Take You for a Ride in Showtime's Super Pumped". Vulture. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  34. ^ "When $8 billion is yours to lose: How Uber's top investor suffered through the wildest tech drama of the year". CNBC. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  35. ^ eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work: Randall E. Stross: Books
  36. ^ Mathews, Jessica (May 16, 2023). "From his new home in Austin, legendary VC Bill Gurley opens up about why he stepped back from Benchmark and his next act". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

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]