Too Much Risk In Silicon Valley: Venture Capitalist


Venture capitalist Bill Gurley told CNBC recently there’s still too much risk in Silicon Valley today.

“I don’t see radically insane valuations. What I do see, out here, is an abundance of capital … and as you cram almost unnecessary levels of capital into these private companies, it creates kind of perverse behavior,” Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark, said on “Squawk Alley.”

Over the past five years, there’s been “an unprecedented amount of capital” poured into technology startups, he said.

There’s no capital intensity for many of these tech startups, though, being as they don’t need to build physical factories or stores, Gurley said. In turn, the only way to spend all that excess cash is to increase the burn rate, he said.

“The problem is, this growth at all costs mentality causes almost a substantiation of survival. It’s much easier to execute unprofitably than profitably,” Gurley said.

For example, one company could be profitable while another could lose $30 million annually, he noted.

“It’s much easier to do that latter, so I think we end up with more companies at higher revenue rates where their business models may still be at question and that’s what leads to the risk that I was talking about,” he said.

If this “sloppy behavior” is not addressed by the tech startups themselves, Gurley worries it could eventually trigger a selloff.

Since Gurley first started sounding the alarm on this issue via Twitter last month, though, he said many company’s board have started talking about this issue.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by epSos .de

About the author: Drew Sandholm

Drew Sandholm is a producer for CNBC, writing articles and working on special features for CNBC.com. Before joining CNBC, he reported for the investigative unit at ABC News and was a television anchor/reporter at an ABC News affiliate. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Mass Communications and English from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

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