Ron Conway - Startup Investor School Day 4 | Summary and Q&A

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Ron Conway - Startup Investor School Day 4


Ron Conway, an experienced angel investor, shares his perspective on being a successful investor and offers advice on investing in startups.

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Key Insights

  • 🏫 Investing is about being a good investor, which involves understanding and learning from experienced investors like Ron Conway. Building knowledge through resources and mentorship is crucial for success.
  • 💼 Ron Conway got into angel investing after being a founder and realizing he was better at mentoring than managing people.
  • 💸 The best investment decisions come down to picking founders with strong character and determination, rather than solely focusing on the idea.
  • 🙌 Entrepreneurs can become more formidable, but ambition and drive are inherent qualities that cannot be learned.
  • 📈 Growth is the lifeblood of innovation, making it essential to identify the most disruptive industries with potential for exponential growth.
  • 💡 Deal flow is crucial for angel investors, and back in the day, there were fewer internet companies, making it easier to explore every opportunity.
  • 🔍 Investing in founders with good character should be a priority, as they are more likely to build successful companies and overcome challenges.
  • 🌟 Being a successful angel investor involves helping founders build out their management teams, securing partnerships, and providing mentorship and guidance throughout their entrepreneurial journey.


that was a I think a fantastic survey a summary of how to think about what it means to be a good investor Paul Graham actually wrote an entire essay about what it means to be a good investor with Ron Conway as as the subject of the essay so the guinea pig yeah he was the the guinea pig and so this is a I think for me the perfect way to to put a wra... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Ron Conway become involved in angel investing?

Ron Conway's journey into angel investing began when he sold his company, Altos computer, and was encouraged by his investor, Don Valentine, to observe board meetings and start mentoring founders. Eventually, in 1994, Conway decided to start investing full time.

Q: What qualities does Ron Conway look for in founders?

According to Conway, he judges founders based on their determination, ambition, and drive. He believes that founders who possess these qualities are more likely to overcome challenges and build successful companies.

Q: How did Ron Conway and SV Angel obtain deal flow in the early days of angel investing?

In the early days of angel investing, deal flow was relatively easy to obtain as there were only a few internet companies being founded each month. Conway and SV Angel made it a point to talk to every single internet company at the time and were able to invest in companies like Ask Jeeves, PayPal, and Bright Mail.

Q: How does Ron Conway approach investing in different sectors?

Conway suggests focusing on a sector that aligns with your domain expertise and becoming an expert in that area. He recommends investing a small amount in multiple companies within that sector to create a diverse portfolio and increase the chances of finding successful companies.

Q: What advice does Ron Conway offer to new angel investors?

Conway advises new angel investors to start small, invest in sectors they are knowledgeable about, and build a diverse portfolio. He also emphasizes the importance of being civically engaged and giving back to the community.

Q: How does Ron Conway add value to his portfolio companies post-investment?

In addition to general mentoring, Conway helps portfolio companies build out their management teams by leveraging his network and introducing them to potential employees. He also assists with partnerships and distribution by connecting them with his contacts at companies like Apple, Twitter, and Google.

Q: What is the best investment decision Ron Conway ever made?

According to Conway, the best investment decision he ever made was investing in internet software in 1994, two years before Netscape was founded. He believed that the internet software industry had significant growth potential and his investment proved to be highly successful.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Ron Conway started his career as a founder at Altos computer and later transitioned into full-time angel investing.

  • He emphasizes the importance of determining the character of a founder before investing in their idea.

  • Building a strong management team, providing mentorship, and assisting with partnerships and distribution are vital aspects of adding value to portfolio companies.

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