In the crowd of hoodie-wearing twentysomething entrepreneurs and flashy stars that he often hangs out with, Ron Conway is easy to spot He’s the 60-year-old guy with an ample girth, a full head of snow-white hair, khakis, and a crisply pressed shirt that might have come from the Brooks Brothers catalogue. He sits at the intersection of these worlds, connecting people and steering money, talent, and ideas to companies in a pugnacious style that seems almost a throwback.
Conway may not be a brand name outside of tech circles, but in the startup-fueled economy of the Bay Area, he’s a ubiquitous character with an outsize personality who is often called the godfather of Silicon Valley. It’s a moniker he’s earned, in part, by investing relatively small sums in more than 600 Internet companies since the mid-1990s. Hundreds went bust, but there are a few you might have heard of.