You might think investing in 185 different tech companies is a lot of work, but New York magazine just sat down for lunch with two of the highest profile tech investors on the East Coast, and boy do they seem relaxed.
The article describes Ken and Ben Lerer—the father and son duo who seem to be peripherally connected to every startup you've heard of—as our "Congenial Web Overlords." Perhaps it's easy to mistake aloofness with congeniality, but after flipping HuffPo and sitting on many millions, Lerer Ventures seems to be taking it pretty easy:
His scruffiness keeps this from seeming Godfatherly, but the Lerers are a little Mafia-esque. Their company seems to have had a hand in every buzzed-about start-up in New York: apparel company Everlane, 3-D printer MakerBot, lyrics-decipherer Rap Genius. "There are 185 of them," says Ben. "I could probably name 100."
And even the ones they can name, they can't really name:
"We got lucky there," says Ken. "Because it was a stupid-ass company until they did that app Draw That."
"Draw Something," corrects Ben.
Snopechat, Draw This, Blarchbox, whatever, man—"Timing is the key to life," says Lerer Major, referring to his patrilineal success. Timing, and also going to Penn and being friends with lots of people who are already successful or soon to be successful:
"I was at the Huffington Post, and I was doing investment for the family. Then Foursquare raised money. I called Benjamin, and I was like, 'This sucks, I wish I had known about this.' He said, 'You're an idiot, I know those guys, why didn't you call me?' And I said, 'All right, we're doing a fund.' "
Sure, why not, fine. I bet you didn't know it was so easy to back the tech revolution, did you?
Photo: Ken Lerer in the midst of what was described on Instagram as an "epic beer pong winning streak"