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Investor Bill Gurley seems to have gotten over his hard year with Uber

  • Venture capitalist Bill Gurley explained in a blog post why he thinks Uber's biggest success is often overlooked.
  • "Driving with Uber reverses the way we have been trained to think about labor," Gurley wrote on his blog, "Above the Crowd."
  • Gurley's vote of confidence is especially notable given that his firm, Benchmark, pitted itself last year against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
Bill Gurley
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Bill Gurley

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley — an well-known voice of caution in Silicon Valley — came out strongly in favor of Uber on Thursday, despite leaving the company's board last summer.

Although he didn't address past controversies at Uber, he explained in a blog post why he thinks Uber's biggest success is often overlooked.

"Driving with Uber reverses the way we have been trained to think about labor," Gurley wrote on his blog, "Above the Crowd." "Instead of making labor conform to management's notion of a 'job,' Uber hands control to the worker. "

Uber's practice of treating drivers as contractors instead of full-time employees has become a point of contention, amid stories of homeless drivers and rallies to unionize. But Gurley writes that he loves that "no driver-partner is ever told where or when to work" at Uber.

"This is quite remarkable — an entire global network miraculously 'level loads' on its own," Gurley wrote.

Gurley's vote of confidence is especially notable given that his firm, Benchmark, pitted itself last year against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, after accusations of sexual harassment, legal misconduct and stolen intellectual property rocked the company. CNBC's conversations with Gurley's friends and colleagues last year revealed "how he spent much of 2017 glued to his phone, losing sleep and eating poorly, obsessing over a single four-letter word: Uber." Sources told CNBC Gurley left the board "in part to preserve his mental and physical health." As of January Benchmark sold a significant stake in Uber, but still holds a position in the company.

But in Thursday's post, Gurley made it clear that he still felt there was value in Uber, "[i]n spite of all the ink that journalists, analysts, and pundits have spilled on Uber over the years."

"What is missing from the conversation is why this job type is so special and unique to so many millions of people," Gurley wrote. "There is simply no way for the vast majority of employers in the world to offer a completely independent and autonomous work-schedule."

The full post is available at "Above the Crowd."