Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Ron Conway has been called the Godfather of Silicon Valley. The angel investor is one of the most well-connected men in tech, if not the world, with at least 18-pages of A-list contacts in business and tech. Friends range from Kanye West to Larry Page.
Fortune’s Miguel Helft wrote a feature on Ron Conway for the February 27 issue. In it, Conway is called “the Facebook of the industry before there was a Facebook.” Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen calls him the “human router.”
Helft describes how Conway gets behind every deal in the valley.
Conway’s career in tech was happenstance, says Helft. He joined Altos Computer Systems as VP of sales and became a millionaire when the company went public. In 1994 Conway and Ben Rosen got together and decided to start investing “in this thing called the Internet.” Conway calls it the “most significant decision I made in investing.”
Conway used his connections from Altos to start finding investments. When Amazon, eBay and Yahoo churned out young millionaires, Conway courted them and encourage them to invest in his funds. In exchange they helped Conway find the best young companies for his portfolio.
“I never said I enjoy anything about using the Internet,” Helft quotes Conway. “I enjoy helping the entrepreneurs who are building this thing that I don’t necessarily like or use.”
His early wins included AskJeeves, PayPal and Google. After that, when the dotcom bubble burst, Conway stopped writing startups checks until 2004.
Since then he’s been wheeling and dealing, connecting entrepreneurs to future buyers, lawyers, press, and top tech executives. Conway is the man entrepreneurs call up when they face impossible, startup-killing situations.He saved a business deal between Verizon and Tellme Networks after resceiving a late night email from the distressed founder. Tellme was later acquired for $800 million.
Conway is also responsible for introducing Twitter’s Biz Stone to Apple’s mobile software chief. That meeting led to a fruitful relationship for the startup on iPhone and the iPad.
“I don’t know where I would be professionally without his help,” says Shawn Fanning of Airtime and Napster.
For more on the man with the most valuable rolodex in tech, read the full article on Fortune >>