Venture capitalist Bill Gurley has become an institution in Silicon Valley. He and his VC firm, Benchmark, have invested in some of the most disruptive technology companies in the past 10 years, including Dropbox, Zillow, Uber, Twitter and Snapchat. We’re excited to announce that Gurley will be joining us to share his insights at Disrupt NY in a couple of weeks.
He is exceptionally articulate and has done a great job explaining over on his Above The Crowd blog what he values as he invests in companies. For example, last summer he wrote about his focus on local businesses, right around when Benchmark made an early bet on neighborhood site Nextdoor. His point is that companies with a local focus can provide much deeper value to customers than many incumbents, because they build software and services custom-tailored to solve end-user needs — and in doing so, give themselves unique data sets and access points to those customers.
Since then, Nextdoor has grown quickly, recently reaching 10,000 neighborhoods around the country.
One of the things that makes Gurley so unique as an investor is his understanding of both the product and financial sides of technology. He was formerly a research analyst for a financial firm (he was the lead analyst on the Amazon IPO). And Gurley was previously a design engineer at Compaq Computer, where he worked on products such as the 486/50 and Compaq’s first multi-processor server. It’s this vast experience (plus much more) that has made him one of the most successful venture capitalists of the past decade.
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Bill Gurley has spent over 10 years as a General Partner at Benchmark. He joined in 1999 after spending two years as a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
His current investments and board seats include Brighter, DogVacay, GrubHub, Linden Lab, Nextdoor, OpenTable (IPO: OPEN), Sailthru, Scale Computing, Uber, and Zillow.com (IPO: Z).
Before entering the venture capital business, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston focusing on personal computer hardware and software. His research coverage included such companies as Dell, Compaq, and Microsoft, and he was the lead analyst on the Amazon IPO. In both 1995 and 1996, Bill was a member of the Institutional Investor All-American Research Team.
Prior to his investment career, Bill 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 served in the technical marketing group of Advanced Micro Devices’ embedded processor division.
Bill also maintains a blog on the evolution and economics of high technology businesses called Above the Crowd.