After reading our story on Ron Conway, one of his former partners Michael Kerns reached out to talk about what it was like working with Conway.
We thought it was a good, heartfelt look at him, so we’re republishing it here:
I began my career working for Ron at the original Angel Investors, L.P. I was one of two associates along with four General Partners.
We invested in some 200+ start-ups and had some 400+ LPs.
I am writing to you without having spoken with Ron. I feel compelled to at least offer some more detail so hopefully you can gather more data for future coverage.
Ron is 100% dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed. Period.
He also passionately scrutinizes the cost structure of his funds to minimize ALL uneccesary management fees so that as much $$ can be put in to entrepreneurs hands. There is an entire story here in comparing the use of management fees in ron’s org versus ALL other VC funds I’ve come across.
Thirdly, Ron is fiercely loyal and protective of people. He expects the same from people who he works with. When people don’t live up to the standards he sets for himself in terms of ethics and accountability he gets disappointed. I never once saw him threaten or purposely look to harm people. Clearly, with so many relationships and investments and strong willed people there are going to be disagreements. The fact is Ron touches more people than almost anyone in the Valley and therefore by pure odds he will unfortunately have more opportunities for difficult periods in relationships.
My primary role while with Angel was to monitor the status of our portfolio, work directly with a handful of investments, and report fund status in aggregate to General Partners and Limited Partners. I worked for Ron between 2000-2002. We both know what happened during that period.
We saw hundreds of our investments go to zero. RON USED EVERY RESOURCE, CONTACT, EFFORT for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. As long as the entrepreneur wasn’t a complete A-Hole Ron had their back more genuinely than any other investor.
He is a mentor, friend, and most importantly someone who does not portray himself as perfect but who tries to be as it relates to dedicating himself to the success of entrepreneurs.