Ron Conway




Technology Entrepreneur

Angel Investor


San Francisco, CA

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Ron Conway is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur known as one of the most prolific angel investors in the history of the technology industry. He has held senior roles at technology companies since the 1970s and has been referred to as one of Silicon Valley’s “Super Angels.”  Conway was the subject of a 2001 book that called him the “godfather of Silicon Valley” that highlighted his investing in internet companies during the dot-com bubble and his affiliated venture capital funds that have been early investors in a variety of well-known companies including Google and PayPal.

Conway has contributed significantly to left-of-center organizations and causes, particularly concerning immigration and gun control, and has supported many Democratic candidates for office in California and across the U.S. 1 2 3 He and his wife, Gayle Conway, have signed The Giving Pledge, a project of Warren Buffett to encourage high net-worth individuals to give away most of their fortunes. 4

Early Life and Career

Ron Conway was born and raised in California and attended San Jose State University, earning a degree in political science. Early in his career, he worked in various marketing positions at the National Semiconductor Corporation in the 1970s before he started his first company, Altos Computer Systems, which went public in 1982. Conway served as president and chief operating officer of Altos and he and his wife founded the Altos Foundation with proceeds from it going public. Conway described the Altos Foundation as primarily providing support for domestic violence shelters. He and his wife also initially donated to Bay Area children’s hospitals and schools. 5

Angel Investing

Conway began angel investing in the 1990s starting a fund called Adam Ventures which later became a firm called Angel Investors LP, sometimes referred to as AV Angel. The firm was an early investor in Google, which was the first of several notable successful investments with which Conway is credited. Conway stated that following his Google investment becoming liquid, half of the proceeds went directly to charitable commitments. 6 7

A 2001 book titled The Godfather of Silicon Valley: Ron Conway and the Fall of the Dot-coms by Gary Rivlin highlighted Conway’s career in angel investing, portraying him as “the man who has placed more bets on Internet start-ups than anyone else in Silicon Valley.” 8  

Giving Pledge

In 2020, Ron Conway and his wife Gayle joined the Giving Pledge. Conway noted that most of his and his wife’s charitable contributions are given directly from the couple and not through a family foundation or donor-advised fund. Conway’s Giving Pledge letter cited that the main causes the couple supported included gun ownership restrictions, homelessness, voting access, and immigration. He also noted that in 2020, the couple “directed significant philanthropic support towards helping first responders and health care workers on the frontlines of the [COVID-19] pandemic, and towards organizations working to end racial injustice and systemic economic inequality.” 9 10

Left-of-Center Advocacy and Political Giving

Conway is a supporter of Democratic candidates and opposed former President Donald Trump. He was reported to have spent over $1 million while raising additional funds to support efforts to flip control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrats in 2018. Recode named him one of ten major Silicon Valley donors and fundraisers for the 2018 midterm elections. 11

In 2011, Conway was the largest campaign funder for then-San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D), raising over $600,000 for Lee through independent expenditure committees. Afterward, questions about  Lee’s election were raised by the New York Times regarding whether Lee took actions to benefit companies in which Conway had invested. 12

Left-of-center groups Conway has supported include, The Next 50, and the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation (, a group that Conway founded. 13 14 15

In 2024, Conway and his sons were major contributors to Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao (OUST) an effort to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao (D). 16


  1. Rivlin, Gary. “The Godfather of Silicon Valley: Ron Conway and the Fall of the Dot-coms.” 2001. AtRandom.
  2. Ricadela, Aaron. “VCs Aim to Out-Angel the Angels.” Business Week. April 2, 2007. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  3. Sgrelli, Massimo. “The Ron Conway’s Way.” Lombardstreet Ventures Journal. October 25, 2023. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  4. “Ron and Gayle Conway.” The Giving Pledge. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  5. “Ron and Gayle Conway.” The Giving Pledge. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  6. Rivlin, Gary. “The Godfather of Silicon Valley: Ron Conway and the Fall of the Dot-coms.” 2001. AtRandom.
  7. “Ron and Gayle Conway.” The Giving Pledge. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  8. “Ron and Gayle Conway.” The Giving Pledge. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  9. Canales, Katie. “Investor Ron Conway and Zillow CEO Rich Barton are among 13 new billionaires who have agreed to give away most of their fortunes by signing the Giving Pledge.” Business Insider. December 21, 2020. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  10. “Ron and Gayle Conway.” The Giving Pledge. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  11. Schleifer, Theodore. “Ten big Silicon Valley money players behind this November’s U.S. midterm elections”.  August 20, 2018.
  12. Smith, Matt “As Mayor Cultivates New Business, Treatment of Backer Is Questioned”. The New York Times / Bay Citizen. March 31, 2012.
  13. “Our Supporters.”
  14. “The Next 50 PAC: Donors.” Open Secrets.
  15. “About Us.” SF.Citi. Accessed June 13, 2024.
  16. Wolfe, Eli. “Who’s funding the recall campaign against Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao?”. The Oaklandside. May 1, 2024. Accessed June 13, 2024.
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