Who are Angel Investors Paul Graham and Ron Conway?

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Difference between Paul Graham and Ron Conway

Among the biggest names in the venture capital scene are Paul Graham and Ron Conway. Both responsible for helping startup hundreds of fledgling businesses, these two men have had outstanding careers marked by numerous accomplishments. In this comparison article, we take a look at the careers of these two "angel investors".

Paul Graham
Ron Conway


Paul Graham is a programmer and essayist who has also made his mark as a venture capitalist. Known primarily for his contributions to the Lisp project, Graham is also the co-founder of Viaweb, which eventually became Yahoo! Store. In the venture capital business, Graham is known as the co-founder of the seed capital firm Y Combinator.

Ron Conway is an angel investor based in the United States. Conway is in fact often referred to as a "super angel", and he has made a mark on the venture capital scene due to his strong network abilities.

Early Years

Along with Robert Morris, Paul Graham founded Viaweb in 1995 as the first application service provider or ASP. The company’s software was originally written in Common Lisp, and this basically enabled users to create their own Internet stores. The company was later acquired by Yahoo! in exchange for 455,000 shares of its stock, the combined value of which is now estimated at $49.6 million. Under Yahoo! ownership, the product was re-branded as Yahoo! Store.

Ron Conway was formerly a salesman whose first success was in the computer retail business. In fact, Conway knew relatively little about technology during his first years as a technology-oriented venture capitalist.

As Venture Capitalists

Paul Graham actually formed Y Combinator after a series of talks given to the Harvard Computer Society in 2005. Graham made a joke about startups seeking funding from sources other than himself, although he later felt guilty about his statement and subsequently set up Y Combinator as a source of seed funding for startups, particularly those in technically-oriented fields. His lectures to the organization were later compiled and published in a book called How to Start a Startup. Y Combinator was established by Graham along with Trevor Blackwell, Jessica Livingston and Robert Morris.

Ron Conway for his part came to prominence as the founder and Managing Partner of the Angel Investors LP funds. Among his first forays into the field were investments in Google, Ask Jeeves and PayPal. Conway also made a number of independent investments beginning in 2005, and was subsequently named the 6th top "dealmakers" in 2006 by Forbes Magazine.

Track Record

At present, Paul Graham’s Y Combinator was responsible for funding more than 200 startups, the most well known of which are Scribd, reddit, Justin.tv, Dropbox, Listia and Posterous.

Ron Conway for his part founded SV Angel, which has a $10 million angel fund, and an investment record of more than 500 companies.


Paul Graham

  • A programmer and essayist who has also made his mark as a venture capitalist
  • Co-founder of the seed capital firm Y Combinator

Ron Conway

  • An angel investor often referred to as a "super angel",
  • Founder of SV Angel


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