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David Lee & Ron Conway: Tech Bubble? What Bubble??

Last fall GWC took several of China’s mobile tech leaders on a G-Trip to San Francisco to meet up with some of their counterparts in the United States.  One of those visits was to SV Angel to talk to David Lee and Ron Conway, the famed technology angel investors.

You can find the overall powerpoint from the trip at the bottom of this article.

Archangels of the Valley

SV Angel is an angel investment firm with a very impressive list of successes.  They include Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga.  Their strategy is simple, bet a little on a great deal of tech startups that show potential.  This reduces the overall risk of the portfolio, somewhat.

Betting on startups, just like day trading on the stock market, is inheriently risky, but in both instances a diversfied portfolio helps reduce the pain of a failed investment by hopefully having another investment “hit”.

While not exactly a ground breaking concept, he has shown that the shotgun effect can be quite profitable.

SV Angel is based in Silicon Valley with a fund size worth about $60 million USD.  SV Angel’s sole general partner is David Lee while Ron Conway and others are limited partners.  Currently the fund has invested in about 220 startups with the average investment being $150,000 USD.


SV Angel’s approach is to invest primarily in startups they feel will have a long-term impact on the industry.

The larger concern, though, is to build lasting relationships with star entrepreneurs.  The idea being that perhaps their initial venture may flop, but because they feel the entrepreneur has “what it takes”, the second or third attempt may be the real winner – and provide the returns that SV Angel is looking for from its investment.

SV Angel looks at the market as being driven by two key elements right now:  Mobilization and Globalization.  From this they believe the market will head in three new directions, real-time data consumption, O2O commerce, and collaborative consumption.

Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?? 

The biggest and most interesting thought coming out of SV Angel is that they believe we are at the beginning of a technology cycle that will last 20 to 25 years.  Because of this fact, they believe that the thought of whether we are in a bubble or not is moot since we are just starting.

They are planning to continue with their current investment momentum for the next 5 years or more.  That’s a big vote of confidence despite the growing concern to the contrary.

Oh, and if you are looking for where the next Facebook or Google is going to come from, SV Angel has the answer to that too – Y Combinator.


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