Why top investor Bill Gurley hates 'fundraising parties'

“I hate fundraising parties,” famed investor Bill Gurley said on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, during a discussion about whether or not we’re in a tech bubble.

“Fundraising parties” are when a startup throws a big celebration after raising a big round at a hefty valuation.

We’ve been to quite a few: There’s usually a lot of free food, alcohol, and branded tchotchkes for attendees, as well as a speech or two by executives about their “journey.”

But Gurley says he hates these parties, because they fundamentally misunderstand what raising money and earning a big valuation means.

“Valuations are not a reward for what you’ve done in the past,” Gurley said.

Instead, they’re a bet on where the company will be in the future.

“[After raising a round] people should really be thinking, ‘Oh shit! We have huge expectations ahead of us, we better get to work.'”

Gurley highlighted fundraising parties as a sign of the last tech bubble, and says he’s wary when he sees startups throwing them now.

He shared the stage with Julie Wainwright, current CEO of The RealReal and former CEO of now-defunct Pets.com, who shared her own story about what the last tech bubble looked like:

I remember a prominent professor at a prominent east coast school calling me and chewing me out for not hiring someone he considered to be a rockstar student, she recalled. That student had had only two years of work experience prior to grad school — and yet was asking for $US225,000.

“There was sense of entitlement of people coming into the tech workforce then,” she says. “Abd we’re absolutely seeing that here again.”

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