Investor Bill Gurley is fascinated by the GameStop saga: 'Minnows rose up and took down a shark'

Investor Bill Gurley is fascinated by the GameStop saga: 'Minnows rose up and took down a shark'
Benchmark's Bill Gurley speaks onstage during "Are We About to Take a Bath? Debating the Bubble Then and Now" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.Michael Kovac/Getty Images
  • Eric Newcomer interviewed the investor Bill Gurley for his Newcomer newsletter on Friday.
  • Gurley said he had a "fascination" with the Reddit forum Wall Street Bets and its Discord discussions.
  • He also remarked on the populist bent of the week's events.

The Benchmark venture capitalist Bill Gurley has been fascinated by the continuing saga of amateur investors on apps like Robinhood buying up shares in companies targeted by short sellers and, in turn, putting the squeeze on institutional investors and hedge funds.

Gurley said as much in an interview with the former Bloomberg journalist Eric Newcomer for his Newcomer newsletter.

"Two weeks ago, I grabbed my 18-year-old and said, 'You've got to give me a Reddit demo,'" Gurley told Newcomer when asked about the run-up in GameStop and AMC Theaters shares. That conversation resulted in Gurley joining the Discord server for Wall Street Bets "because of pure curiosity," he added.

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He later remarked on the populist narrative of amateur investors having a larger-than-usual effect on the fortunes of institutional investors.

"The sharks have always killed the minnows in these gambling environments. The minnows rose up and took down a shark, and the other sharks started eating the shark as well," he said in the interview.


He also called the evolving story of amateur investors making major waves in the market the sort of thing that could be "an amazing novel."

Gurley isn't the only one who sees the narrative potential in the story of minnows and sharks. On Monday, Deadline reported the film studio MGM bought the rights to a book proposal about the GameStop short squeeze by the writer Ben Mezrich, the author of the book on which David Fincher's "The Social Network" was based. The Winklevoss twins will executive produce, according to Deadline.

Gurley, one of Silicon Valley's most prominent venture capitalists, is well-known in the tech and venture-capital circles for leading the Series A fundraising round for Uber and a blistering lawsuit against Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick that contributed to his ousting.

On Monday, Insider reported that Robinhood had raised $2.4 billion in additional capital after raising $1 billion last week through investors and lines of credit. The app is restricting trading for GameStop and other highly valued stocks, while facing increased scrutiny from politicians and the public.

Subscribe to Newcomer's newsletter to read the full paywalled interview with Gurley here.