Abhishek Maran is an Investment Associate at Rampersand, a dedicated seed fund with $100m invested, a portfolio value of $1B+ with 50+ founders across 30+ start-ups.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I’ve been obsessed with technology since I was a little kid, and with investing since I was in high school. My current role as a Venture Capitalist at Rampersand where we invest in early-stage software businesses, combines these interests perfectly. I also write a weekly blog covering everything you need to know about VC and startups – check it out here.
I initially studied a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies, but quickly realised that it probably wasn’t for me after failing a few subjects. I ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Finance.
After Uni, I worked for a company called Cambridge Associates. In this role, I constructed portfolios for some of the largest endowments, foundations and family offices in Australia and New Zealand. Whilst I was very familiar with US VCs prior, I got to meet many Aus/NZ VCs through this role, which convinced me that there was a strong venture ecosystem in Aus.
Before getting into venture, I also worked as a Product/BizOps Generalist at an Early-Stage FinTech called Upstreet where I had a hands-on role in scoping new product features, running partner integrations and a whole lot more. I also got to learn how to juggle 100 different priorities with limited resources – the joys of working in a startup!
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
I hate having the same day twice. I get very angsty and bored quickly so I like it when each day challenges me in a different way. My typical day kinda follows this structure:
- 6:30 – 7:00am: Wakeup and head to my home gym. I like having my own equipment at home rather than using a commercial gym.
- 8:15am: Shower and get ready for work.
- 8:45am: Commute to work. We work in the office twice a week, which I think is the perfect balance. Some days I catch the same train as my friend so we get to chill for ~15 mins or so, other days I’ll watch a youtube video or listen to a podcast.
- 9:00am: Churn through my newsletter subscriptions and find interesting articles to read. I usually find ~5-10 pieces of content to consume daily. I read one article in the morning and save the rest for later in the day.
- 9:30am – 5pm: Every day is pretty different, some are filled with meetings, others are focused on deep work. If it’s a meeting-heavy day, I’ll try to get them done in the morning.
- 5pm-6pm: Finish up work and commute home.
- 6 – 7pm: Chill and unwind from the day. I’ll lie in bed and watch something on Youtube or listen to a podcast.
- 7pm onwards: it really depends on the day. I play a lot of sports so 2-3 nights a week I’ll be playing either Squash, Football or Tennis. On other nights I might have a startup event or grab dinner with friends or chill with my fiance.
- 11pm – 11:30pm: Sleep time. I’m pretty regimented when it comes to when I go to sleep
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
Work-life balance is an interesting concept to me. When I first started my career, I really craved having a good balance between work and fun. In my mind that meant clocking off work at 6pm, and meeting up with mates after work and on weekends.
That’s definitely changed since I started working as a VC. Now, everything feels like fun and it’s hard to stop working! However, there have been times when I’ve become incredibly fatigued or have let things slip as a result of this.
So balance for me is making sure I unplug and do something different for 1-2 hours a day just to make sure that my mind gets a rest. On weekends, I usually spend a large chunk of time writing my blog so it’s important to make sure I actually get out of the house and do something social.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
In the last 12 months, I’ve tried to look after my body more which has improved my daily life.
This includes going to a chiro regularly, trying out float therapy, following an immunology treatment plan for my allergies and more recently trying out different styles of fasting.
I’d say all of these changes have improved my mood and how my body feels, making me happier every day.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
I particularly enjoyed this podcast between Tim Ferris and Matt Mochary, who is a CEO coach and has worked with top founders around the world.
My normal podcast catalogue usually includes The Founders Podcast, Tim Ferriss, The Logan Bartlett Show, Acquired, Invest Like the Best and My First Million
- What It Takes by Stephen Schwarzman
- The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger
- Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger
- Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks
- Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I’d love to encourage everyone to take more risks with whatever they do. A lot of people are scared of doing things because the consequences always seem larger than they actually are. It’s a hard barrier to get past, but if you start taking risks with small things and slowly push through them, you’ll be more comfortable with taking bigger risks and challenging the status quo.
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