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Bill Gurley: Here's the worst advice ever given to Silicon Valley startups

Jillian D'Onfro
bill gurley

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark Capital, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Goldman Sachs Technology And Internet Conference in San Francisco, California.

Famed investor Bill Gurley thinks that the worst advice ever given to companies in Silicon Valley is "stay private longer."

Gurley believes that the hesitance of private companies with huge valuations to enter the public markets has set the bar for more promotional behavior and less discipline. 

Speaking on stage at the Wall Street Journal's WSJD conference, Gurley compared the situation to college, when you'd be at the bar and see that one really old person that's in their seventh or eighth year of undergrad. 

"Everyone's like, 'What is he doing?'" Gurley said. 

That's how he thinks we should view these enormous private companies. When startups have raised hundreds of millions of dollars and have hired thousands of employees, they shouldn't hold to the notion that they don't need to go public. 

"We need to go back to looking at the IPO as the objective," Gurley says. "Until you get liquid, you really haven’t accomplished anything," he said.  

"What you're signaling when you tell people that is that you’re afraid to play," he said. 

Gurley also said that the scariest thing that he's seen in the last year is the increase in burn rates. 

"Somehow we’ve gotten very comfortable with a $20 million a month burn rate," he said. "When did that become okay?" 

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