Angel investor Ron Conway’s new fund was outed today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York — by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington.
Arrington was on-stage interviewing Conway and another partner at Conway’s firm SV Angel, David Lee, when he brought up the “rumors” that they were raising a new fund (earlier this month I spotted a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing the existence of the fund). Lee said, “Supposed to not comment, so no comment,” to which Arrington responded:
So I’m am investor in that fund, and I wanted to disclose that right upfront. So whether or not the fund exists according to you, I’m pretty sure it does. I don’t know if I’ve actually made the investment yet, but it’s happening … Sorry if that wasn’t how you wanted that disclosed, but needed to get that out of the way up front.
TechCrunch reports that the fund will co-invest with Russian investor Yuri Milner in every startup incubated at Y Combinator. If you watch the video (embedded below), however, it’s not really clear whether the fund reflects a new focus on YC startups — instead, it sounds to me like Lee is just saying that SV Angel will continue its commitment to YC.
Conway, of course, is one of the best-known angel investors in Silicon Valley, and he’s also one of the most prolific. He has said in the past that every entrepreneur deserves funding, although the less charitable way to characterize his approach is “spray and pray“. Not only would a new fund give Conway more ammunition for his aggressive investment strategy — it would also mean that Arrington (whose conflicts of interest have been the subject of some amusing discussion recently) will become an indirect investor in a huge list of Web startups. I suppose being a limited partner in a fund isn’t quite the same level of conflict as investing directly in a company, but it could still expose Arrington to even more criticism.
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