Bill Harris

Bill Harris

Founder, Personal Capital

Bill Harris, 61, is founder and director of Personal Capital, but he has had an exciting and historic professional journey throughout the decades. This latest company, an online registered investment adviser with an equal focus on technological and human assistance, is the culmination of his career. The venture brings together various solutions to help customers conquer the chaos of their financial lives, he said.

"I like experiencing new stuff. I like to be surprised every day," Mr. Harris said, summing up his personal philosophy and his extensive experience in launching cutting-edge businesses.

Spending the eighties working for large magazine companies, he became intrigued by the up-and-coming technology around personalization.

"It dawned on me that the media content world was going to collide with the software world," he said.

Software became his next world as the makers of TurboTax appreciated his expertise with subscription-based services and tapped him to run their company in 1990. The company was acquired by Intuit, for which Mr. Harris eventually became CEO.

In 1999, he spent a "thrilling, but chaotic" year as the founding CEO of PayPal, as the platform acquired one million customers in the first six months.

Since 2000, Mr. Harris has started a number of companies in fintech and cybersecurity and served on more than 15 boards of similar companies.

A native of Belmont, Mass., he credits his education at a boys prep school for providing him with a foundation for business success.

"It allowed us to focus on ourselves without the distractions [of a co-ed school]. Our classes featured conversations and analytical thinking," he said. "It defined me as a person."

– Deborah Nason


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