Sitar Teli, Connect Ventures

This months Chief Inspiration Officer of the month is Sitar Teli, who caught our attention with the quote that “in VC, nobody knows anything”.

We have launched the “CIO of the month” series to shine a light on personalities in tech we admire and who share insights into their entrepreneurial journey as well as their take on diversity and inclusion. Enjoy!

About Sitar: 

Sitar was born in the US, and now lives in London. She has been in the VC industry for 15 years now, and started Connect Ventures 8 years ago with two partners. Connect is one of Europe’s leading seed stage firms investing in product-led companies in several sectors, including consumer, healthcare, B2B SaaS and fintech. Sitar leads on consumer and healthcare and Kheiron Medical, Fiit, Parentalist, SecondNature and Hopkins are the most recent investments she’s led.

One thing you wish someone had told you before starting your career in tech?

Similar to filmmaking, in venture “nobody knows anything” There’s a lot of posturing, bad pattern matching and false narratives around.  The best things you can do are train yourself in first principles thinking, educate yourself on the past and what’s worked but always question what’s “known” to be true and whether it still is and never forget that venture investing is constantly evolving and you have to grow with it.

How can everyone contribute to re-shaping the society and economy of tomorrow?

I’m not sure every person wants to contribute to reshaping society and the economy, but if you do, the best place to start is figuring out what are your strengths and what gives you energy day to day.  If you work in a role that doesn’t play to your strengths or drains you, I think you’ll struggle to contribute to anything.  Once you figure that out, think about the area of society that excites you the most and find a role that suits your strengths within it. If there are several areas that get you excited, my own personality would tend towards the ones that have the biggest impact and potential scale or leverage.  That’s why I’m in venture capital – if the investments we make work, they have the potential to impact society on a massive scale. That’s not a responsibility we take lightly – one of the questions we ask ourselves of investments is does this help create the world I want to live in? If the answer is no, we have a hard time getting excited about it.

One book / podcast / resource that changed your perspective on the world (or a specific aspect of it):

The Emperor of All Maladies – The book is a “biography of cancer” and goes into detail on what we know about cancer and how it’s been treated over the decades. As someone who actively invests in health and has strong personal interest in it, I’d already learned that a lot of what mainstream medicine “knows” to be true isn’t and what is considered best practice evolves over time, but seeing it laid out over time with a specific disease (cancer) was fascinating. It was depressing but informative to learn how entrenched the medical establishment can become and prone to defending what we eventually know to be bad science.  The book is a great illustration of Plank’s principle (paraphrased as science progresses one funeral at a time), really well written and very informative.