The Santa Fe Institute’s Board of Trustees has welcomed two new members. Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital and James Pallotta of Raptor Group were elected to the Board during the Institute’s annual Applied Complexity Network and Trustees Symposium on November 5, 2017.

A long-time venture capitalist, Bill Gurley has drawn inspiration from complexity science throughout his career.

“In 1993, I was fortunate enough to begin a career on Wall Street and was seated near Michael Mauboussin, now the chair of the Board of Trustees at the Institute. We both shared a fascination with learning, and shortly after we met we both consumed Mitchell Waldrop’s Complexity, [a book] about the rise of the Santa Fe Institute. SFI External Professor Brian Arthur’s work on increasing returns and his essay in Harvard Business Review, edited by Cormac McCarthy, were mind-blowing,” Gurley recounts. “I often tell people that this single book has had a bigger impact on how I think about the world than anything else I have ever read. The concepts that I “borrowed” from Complexity and SFI have been alongside me for my entire venture career, and have played a key role in how I think about markets, strategies, and competitive advantage. I couldn’t be more excited about joining SFI as a trustee.”

Gurley has spent 18 years as a general partner at Benchmark, joining in 1999. Over his venture career, he has invested in and served on the board of such companies as Jamdat (IPO: JMDT, Acq. by EA), GrubHub (IPO: GRUB), NextdoorOpenTable(IPO: OPEN, Priceline), Stitch FixUber, and (IPO: Z).  Before entering the venture capital business, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as an “Institutional Investor” ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston. He also worked as the lead analyst on Amazon's IPO. Prior to his finance career, he worked as a computer engineer at Compaq in Houston.  Bill received his BS in computer science from the University of Florida, and an MBA from the University of Texas. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. He and his wife are active supporters of the Opportunity Fund and KIPP Bay Area.  Bill also maintains a blog on the evolution and economics of high technology businesses called Above the Crowd, and can be followed on Twitter at @bgurley.

Read his full biography.


James Pallotta is founder, chairman, and managing director of the Boston-based Raptor Group, a diversified financial services firm that provides investment management and advisory services. In his portfolio management role at Raptor Capital Management LP, he manages individual, institutional, and his own personal capital.

Pallotta began his professional career at Essex Investment Management Company, Inc. as a vice president, and began directing client capital in 1987. In 1989, he became a senior vice president and director of research, and was appointed to the board of directors of Essex in 1990. He joined Tudor Investment Corporation as managing director of the U.S. Equity Securities Group in 1993; became a member of the Management Committee in 1996; and was named vice-chairman in 2005.

He also served as a director, executive manager, and member of the Capital Allocation Committee of Tudor Group Holdings. While at Tudor, he served as the principal portfolio manager for the Raptor Global Funds, which he launched in 1993 with $200 million in assets under management. Mr. Pallotta was responsible for managing in excess of $11 billion of assets under the Raptor strategy, and played an integral role with respect to Tudor's efforts in direct and co-investments in private equity and third-party hedge funds. He served as one of three members on Tudor Ventures' Investment Committee.

Pallotta is President and Chairman of the professional Italian football club AS Roma, as well as co-owner and executive board member of the Boston Celtics. He is known for his philanthropy, giving millions each year through his charitable trust.

Read his full biography.

“It is a pleasure to formally welcome Bill and Jim to the SFI community,” says Michael Mauboussin, Chair of SFI’s Board of Trustees and Director of Research at BlueMountain Capital. “These are legendary investors with deep intellectual curiosity. They appreciate the importance of rigorous research in complex systems that defies disciplinary boundaries. We are very excited to have them on the board.” 

The Santa Fe Institute’s Board of Trustees, which has fiduciary responsibility for the Institute, oversees SFI’s operations through its biannual meetings and its active committees that offer advice and support to SFI’s leadership.