Ron Conway

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Ron Conway
Ron Conway 1.jpg
Born Ronald Crawford Conway
(1951-03-09) March 9, 1951 (age 66)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Residence San Francisco
Alma mater San Jose State University
Occupation Angel investor
Spouse(s) Gayle Conway

Ronald Crawford "Ron" Conway (born March 9, 1951) is an American angel investor and philanthropist, often described as one of Silicon Valley's "super angels".[1] Conway is recognized as a strong networker.[2] Despite his investing successes and broad network, however, Conway has a mixed reputation within Silicon Valley circles and has been known to bully, threaten and even humiliate to achieve his goals:[3][4][5] "Conway is a bare-knuckled bruiser who will bully and intimidate fellow investors and his own entrepreneurs if they cross him, or do something he doesn't like."[6]

Early career[edit]

Conway graduated from San Jose State University[7] with a bachelor's degree in Political Science.

Conway knew little about technology on his first entry to the business, but became one of the most influential tech investors in American history.[8] Conway worked with National Semiconductor Corporation in marketing positions from 1973 to 1979, and at Altos Computer Systems as President and CEO from 1988 to 1990.[9] He was the CEO of Personal Training Systems (PTS) from 1991 to 1995. PTS was acquired by SmartForce/SkillSoft.[10]


As founder and Managing Partner of the Angel Investors LP funds, he was an early stage investor in Google, Ask Jeeves and PayPal. He began investing independently in 2005, and by 2006 had achieved sixth place in the Forbes magazine Midas list of top "dealmakers".

Dot Com era[edit]

Conway's first fund, Angel Investors I, raised and invested in 1998, generated a 700% return, and his second, raised and invested during 1999, saw a 150% return. Conway invests with SV Angel, his investment firm.[11]

Some Valley observers, notably VentureBeat, have been critical of Ron Conway for his investments during the Internet boom, believing them to be "symbolic of the era’s hubris."[12] Conway developed a reputation for throwing lavish cocktail parties and raising cash from a diverse group of celebrities, sportspeople, and political figures such as Henry Kissinger, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, and Shaquille O'Neal, which he then ploughed into start-ups.

Conway was embroiled in a conflict with other angel investors in the Angelgate scandal of 2010, and, in 2011, another controversy erupted around rumors of conflicts he had with entrepreneurs.[13]

Controversial Tactics[edit]

Conway pushed Dave Morin, the founder of Path, to sell his company. However, contrary to Conway's wishes, Morin opted to continue to build his company. "When Morin made it clear he wouldn't sell, Conway went ballistic. He was in "full on rage mode," personally threatening Morin, promising to ruin him."[14] When Morin would not comply, Conway attempted to publicly shame him: "Beyond merely threatening Morin behind closed doors, we're told Conway tried to humiliate Morin by sending details of the Path offer to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch."[15]

Conway had an acrimonious dispute with his former partner in SV Angel, David Lee. Although Lee and Conway were polite in their formal communications to investors, Fortune magazine reported that "Conway's verbal conversations with LPs were much more critical of Lee than was his official letter."[16] Despite previously signing the agreements, when Conway later learned of some of the details he had previously ignored of Lee's compensation and ownership of SV Angel, "he blew a gasket." Fortune further noted that "When Ron is your friend, he is your best and most loyal friend in the world," says another SV Angel limited partner. "But when he feels betrayed... well, you don't want to piss him off.""[17]

Another of the stories of Conway bullying one of the entrepreneurs he invested in was chronicled by Business Insider: "the entrepreneur got a phone call from Conway which he later told people was "the scariest of my life." Conway was berating him, the entrepreneur told people, saying things like, 'you fucking fuck, I'll squash you like an ant.'"[18] Business Insider further reported that "entrepreneurs need to be warned about this guy" and "we had already heard Conway referred to as a bully, but this person says the behavior was worse than verbal bullying. He said the verbal beating from Ron was 'violent.'"

In what TechCrunch labeled "AngelGate" Conway also publicly berated several prominent angel investors, such as Chris Sacca and Dave McClure over a disagreement over the rationale for a series of meetings held without inviting him, calling the group "despicable and embarrassing."[19] McClure noted Conway's hypocrisy in criticizing a gathering that was attended by his SV Angel partner at the time, David Lee: "Ron is throwing us under a bus and it’s chickenshit that he writes that after David Lee comes to both meetings.”[20] Later, TechCrunch reported that Chris Sacca, an early investor in such companies as Twitter and Uber who also appears on ABC's Shark Tank,[21][better source needed] responded to Conway's vitriolic email and subsequent attacks by saying; "this message, and the ferocity and ad hominem attacks that you include, hurt. Both what you wrote to me before (calling this group “dirtbags”) and in this message above. I am not sure why it needed to get personal."[22]

List of investments[edit]

Among Conway's 650[23] or more investments are:


Civic and Public Health[edit]

Conway is active in community and philanthropic activities, serving as Vice Chairman of UCSF Medical Foundation in San Francisco and also as co-chair of the "Fight for Mike" Homer and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. He is on the development committees of UCLA, St. Francis High School, Sacred Heart Schools, The UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, Packard Children's Hospital, Legacy Ventures, and Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. He serves on the Benefit Committee of the Tiger Woods Foundation.[30]

Gun Violence[edit]

Conway is on the advisory board of Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization founded by the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Conway donated $1 million to fund the Firearms Challenge of the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded with the mission to promote firearms safety through technology and innovation.


Conway was the single largest campaign contributor to Edwin M. Lee in his successful campaign for Mayor of San Francisco in November 2011; Conway raised $600,000 for Lee through independent expenditure committees. Since then questions have been raised about whether Lee has taken actions to benefit companies in which Conway has investments.[31]

In 2014 Conway, along with fellow Airbnb investor Reid Hoffman, donated a total of $685,000[32] to David Chiu in support of Chiu's tightly fought Assembly campaign against current San Francisco supervisor and 2015 Prop F supporter David Campos.[33]

In April 2013, a lobbying group called (aimed at lobbying for immigration reform and improvements to education) was launched, with Ron Conway listed as one of the supporters.[34]

In 2012 Conway founded the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation, or, a 501(c)6 non-profit organization that advocates for the technology community and is involved in a number of public initiatives, and private/public partnerships involving tech companies partnering with public agencies such as the San Francisco Health Dept., the Office of Emergency Management, the police dept., and the school district.[35][36][37]

Conway has voiced opposition to Aaron Peskin as candidate for the Board Supervisors in the 2015 November election. In a fundraising gathering at the law firm Hanson Bridgett, he was reported to have said, "We'd better not have anybody here give to Aaron Peskin, or there'll be problems with Ed Lee". Conway instead urged potential donors to support Julie Christensen. The City's Attorney office has refused to comment on the ongoing investigation of a possible violation of the Political Reform Act.[38]

On 16 October 2016, The Guardian reported Ron Conway "donated $49,999 to a divisive ballot measure intended to clear San Francisco’s streets of homeless encampments, according to campaign filings."[39]


  1. ^ Ricadela, Aaron (April 2, 2007). "VCs Aim to Out-Angel the Angels". Business Week. 
  2. ^ Hodge, Patrick (Feb 26, 2010). "Ron Conway raising $10M to invest". San Francisco Business Times. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 2011-09-30. Conway is a former computer company chief executive and uber-Silicon Valley networker... 
  3. ^ Yarow, Jay (May 12, 2011). "RON CONWAY: The Scariest Man In Silicon Valley". Business Insider. 
  4. ^ Primack, Dan (May 11, 2016). "Behind the SV Angel Breakup". Fortune. 
  5. ^ Siegler, MG (September 23, 2010). "Ron Conway Drops A Nuclear Bomb On The Super Angels". 
  6. ^ Yarow, Jay (May 12, 2011). "RON CONWAY: The Scariest Man In Silicon Valley". Business Insider. 
  7. ^ Ron Conway stays invested
  8. ^ Gary Rivlin on the 'Godfather of Silicon Valley'
  9. ^ Miguel Helft (February 10, 2012). "Ron Conway is a Silicon Valley startup's best friend". CNNMoney. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ Belsener, Elin. "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee And Ron Conway Are Ready To Rock Out At Disrupt SF". TechCrunch. 
  11. ^ SV Angel on CrunchBases
  12. ^ VentureBeat on Conway, December, 2006
  13. ^ Yarow, Jay (Apr 22, 2011). "Ron Conway Threatened To Ruin Ex-Twitter Employees' Careers if They Didn't Sell Him Stock". Business Insider. 
  14. ^ Yarow, Jay (May 12, 2011). "RON CONWAY: The Scariest Man In Silicon Valley". Business Insider. 
  15. ^ Yarow, Jay (May 12, 2011). "RON CONWAY: The Scariest Man In Silicon Valley". Business Insider. 
  16. ^ Primack, Dan (May 11, 2016). "Behind the SV Angel Breakup". Fortune. 
  17. ^ Primack, Dan (May 11, 2016). "Behind the SV Angel Breakup". Fortune. 
  18. ^ Yarow, Jay (May 12, 2011). "RON CONWAY: The Scariest Man In Silicon Valley". Business Insider. 
  19. ^ Siegler, MG (September 23, 2010). "Ron Conway Drops A Nuclear Bomb On The Super Angels". 
  20. ^ Siegler, MG (September 23, 2010). "Finger-Pointing, Emails, Deleted Tweets, Rage. AngelGate Is Far From Over". 
  21. ^ Chris Sacca Wikipedia Bio
  22. ^ Siegler, MG (September 26, 2010). "AngelGate: Chris Sacca Responds To Ron Conway". 
  23. ^ "Ron Conway Stanford Startup School 2012 Part 1 of 3". 
  24. ^ "Crunchbase". Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  25. ^ Attributor scans web for copyright violations
  26. ^ Blippy Shows Its Own Funding On Blippy. And Now Everyone Can See.
  27. ^ Ron Conway Investments
  28. ^ Alyson Shontell (2012-03-23). "Ron Conway Saved OMGPOP's Life Over And Over Again - Business Insider". Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  29. ^ "Fundraising for Reddit". 30 September 2014. 
  30. ^ O'Reilly Conferences on Ron Conway
  31. ^ Smith, Matt (March 31, 2012). "As Mayor Cultivates New Business, Treatment of Backer Is Questioned". The New York Times / Bay Citizen. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  32. ^ . SF Weekly. July 27, 2015  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "2015 Prop F San Francisco". KQED. Oct 6, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Our supporters". Retrieved 2013-04-17. 
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Wong, Julia. "Wealthy San Francisco tech investors bankroll bid to ban homeless camps". 

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