Trying to predict the future of technology has been a fool’s errand since the dawn of humanity. From predictions of electric lights not having a future out of exhibitions to Google Glass changing the world, there is just no telling what will happen next year in the tech world. While it is easy to laugh at such predictions with the gift of insight, investors like Ankush Gera know better than to indulge in speculation.

Over his 20-year career spanning four successful exits as a founder and over 150 angel investments, Gera has witnessed first-hand how volatile and nonlinear the tech world can be. Despite this, Gera has managed to find a way to make it both as an entrepreneur and investor in such a turbulent ecosystem, completing one successful move after another. 

“I’ve always believed the future, not only in tech, is fundamentally unpredictable,” says Gera, who often avoids making such predictions in public. “In tech, however, neither founders nor investors can rely on traditional forecasting alone to prepare for the abrupt changes that can occur at any time both in terms of innovation and consumer needs. This is why making predictions in tech can be so difficult.”

But Gera isn’t limiting himself to not making predictions in public and pointing out the challenges that come with predicting tech trends as his line of work as an investor requires him to frequently come up with predictions and bet on them. However, as he is well aware of how foolish trying to predict where tech itself will be in a few months, he has decided to place his bets somewhere rather than pretending he can anticipate how well a product will do.

When deciding where to invest, Gera focuses on human talent. To him, an outstanding team and founder are a much more reliable indicator of success than the latest hype cycle. Gera knows that even the most ambitious ideas mean little without capable hands to execute them, while extraordinary humans will always be able to adapt to changing circumstances.

“A founder’s mind, heart, soul, and what they’re able to do, are just really important. I think those are traits I always look for,” said Gera in a recent episode of the Grit Daily Startup Show podcast when talking about seemingly high-return investments he had not invested in. “For me, I’m always on the lookout for interesting people, interesting opportunities.”

As a firm believer in good and talented people’s ability to have a timeless impact, Gera has also started prioritizing startups with a purpose over the past years. This “recent shift,” as he calls it, has resulted in him investing in several low-return investments only because of the team’s potential to have a positive impact. Such a humanistic approach to investment has enabled Gera to thrive in times of turbulence that would overwhelm most traditional investors.

“It is not unusual for startups to try to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist. I look for startups that actually serve people’s needs through feasible and innovative solutions,” explains Gera. “Pursuing tech for its own sake with some vague promise of potential that may never materialize is chasing fool’s gold. I would rather invest in people.”

In an industry intoxicated by visions of unlimited exponential growth and disruption, Gera’s sobering acknowledgment of unknowability and prioritization of purpose is all too rare. So far, however, this approach has served him well not only by generating high returns but also by generating a network of like-minded investors and founders dedicated to building things that matter.