In order for New York’s tech scene to ever really compete with the Silicon Valley, we’re gonna need our own Ron Conway — the prolific angel investor known alternately as “the Godfather of Silicon Valley” or the “The Scariest Man in Silicon Valley,” depending on which side of the deal you’re on. In other words, an über-powerful investor who gets the first pick of the start-up litter and uses his millions and deep Rolodex to nurture young companies to become the next Google or Twitter — to name two of Conway’s previous investments. With its latest fund, New York City-based Lerer Ventures just got closer to its goal of becoming “the Ron Conway of the East.” A mere eighteen months after raising an $8.5 million fund to invest in local start-ups, LV announced today that it has raised another $25 million for its second seed-stage fund.
Why would local start-ups pitch Lerer Ventures rather than all the ex-pat Valley investors trolling New York deals? For one, LV’s portfolio already includes local stand-outs like GroupMe, the toast of SXSW, and Hyperpublic. What’s more, the firm, which was launched by Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer, has tasked another media alum, ex-HuffPo CEO Eric Hippeau, to run the new fund. As TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy explains, investors from the Valley don’t “have the all-important advertising and media connections to help juice those young companies revenues or pave the way for partnerships.” You know, for when New York’s start-ups get around to the business of actually trying to turn a profit.