Andrew Loh is the Angel Network Manager at Ecotone Ventures an early-stage investor in ClimateTech startups that are dedicated to decarbonising and creating a sustainable future for the planet.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I studied a Commerce degree at The University of Melbourne and like most of my classmates I always expected to go through a traditional pathway of landing a finance job and following a typical career trajectory through the industry. So, I started as a finance analyst.
However, it was during the start of the pandemic when I decided to take a leap of faith and try something new – I joined the program team at Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), Australia’s oldest university startup accelerator. Interestingly, this had nothing to do with finance and everything to do with startups – something I was quite unfamiliar with.
My job was to support unique entrepreneurs during the program by connecting them with mentors, setting up workshops and organising investor meetings. Working in an environment where my role revolved around assisting founders in building impactful businesses felt like a dream come true. It was during this time where I just knew the rest of my career would revolve around startups.
This led me to my current role and joined Ecotone Ventures as their Angel Network Manager. We invest in early-stage startups creating climate solutions that are decarbonising our planet – supporting founders to build a more sustainable future.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
Working in venture capital means there is no typical day.
In my role, I find myself wearing many hats throughout the workday. This includes engaging with ClimateTech founders, conducting due diligence on potential deals, presenting these deals to the investment committee, participating in or organising events, and having calls with our network of angel investors.
All of these activities contribute to helping me make better investment decisions and shaping my understanding of the climate investment landscape. At the end of the day, we want to invest in the best ClimateTech opportunities and all these day-to-day activities play a pivotal role in achieving that goal.
In addition, I also actively engage in the startup ecosystem, including mentoring for startup programs like MAP and Blackbird Giants, as well as speaking at local networking events. These engagements allow me to engage more with exceptional founders and stay connected with the ever-changing startup landscape.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
Work-life balance, in my perspective, is all about maintaining a healthy balance between your professional and personal life. Work is undeniably part of one’s identity but it shouldn’t consume your WHOLE identity.
Setting clear boundaries between work and personal life is a key aspect of achieving this balance. For example, this could mean refraining from checking emails or taking work-related calls during dinner or even establishing a bedtime routine that allows you to disconnect from work. Developing these positive habits is crucial because once negative habits take root, they can be challenging to eliminate from your life.
I also try to spend time enjoying co-curricular activities outside of work. For instance, I play for my local soccer club Glen Waverley FC. It’s during this time where I can connect with teammates outside of work and be free from work-related stress.
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?
I wouldn’t say mine is a lifestyle change but one of the most impactful changes I made was dedicating just 5 minutes a day to meditation.
During the COVID pandemic, I became quite anxious – incorporating daily meditation into my routine became a highly effective remedy. It allowed me to regain a sense of calm and provided a brief respite where I could clear my mind entirely for those 5 minutes.
It helped me to detach myself out of the current moment and focus on something as fundamental as breathing – something that can make a huge difference when your day-to-day life could be full of chaos.
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?
While it’s already quite popular, Atomic Habits by James Clear is a must-read – strive to improve by 1% every day! James also writes a fantastic newsletter called 3-2-1 that provides weekly reflections and quotes that provide great inspiration.
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?
Remember that your work should not define your entire identity. Just because you have a tough day at work doesn’t mean you can’t find joy in life beyond the workplace.
Time is precious – make sure you spend it wisely with friends, family and the people who matter to you.