YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT A MAN by looking at where he puts his money, and Ron Conway, cofounder of the tech investing firm SV Angel and one of the Bay Area’s most prolific sprinklers of financial fairy dust, is no exception. Conway’s investing philosophy has been derided in techie circles as “spray and pray” (translation: toss a little capital at a lot of companies and hope for a blockbuster). But what some see as undisciplined fiscal madness, Conway sees as boring old portfolio diversifIcation—with some healthy bombast and swagger thrown in. You certainly can’t argue with the results: Conway’s influence on city hall and his reach into distant corners of the political, philanthropic, and business worlds have grown as rapidly as his friends list. In addition to partnering with celebrity tech investors like Ashton Kutcher, traveling the tech-conference circuit with MC Hammer, and launching several tech-friendly campaigns in San Francisco, he has been the savior of hundreds of cash-hungry entrepreneurs and is Santa to over two dozen charities and nonprofits. To top things off, he can be any politician’s best friend (or enemy—ask Christina Olague) when he wants to. Throughout it all, though, one element remains constant: Conway is in it to win. And when you bet on everything, winning is guaranteed.
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*This illustration represents just a partial list of Conway’s personal expenditures over the last decade. it is by no means comprehensive and does not include significant amounts given by Conway’s family members.
Originally published in the December 2012 issue of San Francisco.