Varun Sridhar

I didn’t grow up with any connections and had to work hard to build bridges with people that were more organic.

Connecting with and believing in founding teams is critical to Varun’s work. He does this naturally and finds VMG a culture that values and nurtures this part of himself.

RESPECT

I learned early to treat everyone with respect. You never know when you might need someone’s help.

Diversity of Thought

I love that everyone comes from different backgrounds with different skillsets and investing experiences. I think a diversity of thought and experience is super compelling in an industry where you are investing in brand new ideas and innovation.

I’ve spent a lot of time around start-up businesses as an early stage venture investor. At that stage I’ve learned that connecting with and believing in a founding team is key.

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Let’s get to know you. From the beginning. What kind of kid were you?

I definitely was curious and involved in a lot of extra-circular activities – always trying to figure out where I fit in best and what I was good at.

What early lessons from your family might have shaped who you are today?

“Be nice to everyone and try to see things from other people’s perspectives.” That was a big one.

Not a bad lesson for an investor working with brands.

Yeah, plus I was a first generation American with immigrant parents who never wanted me rubbing people the wrong way.

For the record? You don’t seem abrasive at all.

I learned early to treat everyone with respect. You never know when you might need someone’s help.

Is there anything distinct about where you grew up that defines you today?

I grew up in a small town in Delaware that’s a suburb of Philly. It’s weird. But people often say “You’re the first person I’ve ever met from there.” Being from somewhere that nobody knows anything about was super important for me. I didn’t grow up with any connections and had to work hard to build bridges with people that were more organic than just being from the city or town.

So you’re a good connector…

… I learned to connect with others on the fly which is relevant in a human-centric business like venture.

You do that outside of work too?

I make monthly Spotify playlists with new music. They’re short but curated. Then I share it with my friends and people I haven’t connected with in a while. It’s a great connection tool. A weird parallel to my work in venture, huh?

Clearly your gift for building bridges is an asset for Catalyst.

I’ve spent a lot of time around start-up businesses as an early stage venture investor. At that stage I’ve learned that connecting with and believing in a founding team is key. Without great people behind the wheel and an excellent support system, it’s difficult to build and scale.

Describe the rest of your Catalyst team?

I love that everyone comes from different backgrounds with different skillsets and investing experiences. I think a diversity of thought and experience is super compelling in an industry where you are investing in brand new ideas and innovation.

And the VMG culture?

It’s cliché but honestly, it’s a family mindset. Everyone is so generous with their time and focused on each other’s success.

So they’ll all be receiving one of your playlists?

Absolutely.

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