Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Rich Coombes, Co-Founder & Director at Kaddy

Rich Coombes is the co-founder & director at Kaddy, a B2B platform for the beverage industry that helps liquor retailers and hospitality operators discover, connect and trade with suppliers and streamline the way they interact and trade with one another.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My career started as an intern at UBS Investment Bank before landing a grad position there in Equity Capital Markets (ECM). I spent 3 years there and then 2 years in Corporate Advisory at Investec focused on mergers and acquisitions. 

In 2010, I got the entrepreneurial itch and left corporate life to start my first venture Batlow Cider in 2011. Craft cider (and beer for that matter) was almost non-existent back then in Australia, so I teamed up with Batlow Apples (Australia’s oldest and largest apple company) and created our own, with cider going through a renaissance overseas. 

In 2012, I co-founded Will & Co coffee, which was a JV between my brother and I, and Vittoria Coffee, Australia’s largest coffee player. In 2016, I co-founded Capital Brewing with some mates in Canberra and then in 2019 co-founded Kaddy with MIke Abbott, a mate from high school. 

With my decade or so building beverages brands and his expertise launching Uber in Australia, we saw an opportunity to solve beverage industry problems using tech. My current role is Head of Commercial at Kaddy, overseeing business development, marketing and commercial strategy.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I’m an early riser, so start my day at 530am with a coffee, and get my most important work done first thing. I’ll then train/workout and head into our Sydney CBD office. My role is quite varied but as Head of Commercial, I spend most of my time focused on growth activities.

This involves developing and executing commercial strategies and key partnerships to take the business forward. I also oversee our business development and marketing teams, so pretty involved in all things BD and marketing. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes we have a hybrid working environment and most of our team is in the office 3 days per week on average. I get in there a bit more but often start and finish my day at home, which means earlier starts and later finishers, but allows me to get my training done early and spend a little time with my daughter every night. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I once heard that in life you have 4 burners: work, family, health and social. It’s very difficult to have all 4 burners firing to be successful, something has to give and the maximum is 3. For me, with work, family and health being most important I am probably less social than I used to be.

My social catch ups are generally over a training session or ocean swim, hit of golf or an ice bath/sauna combo. The important thing to me is that all the 3 burners firing are doing so in harmony. That is work life balance in my opinion. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Yes. Was always an early riser and used to train first thing. Now I religiously get up at 530am and get at least an hour of work done first thing. There are no distractions and my thoughts are clearest first thing, this has been a game-changer for my productivity. Also, about 6 months ago I started taking ice baths and do so every fortnight.

The other fortnight I get a massage, so each week I am doing something to rejuvenate my body. This has helped with recovery and mental focus, as I train most days and have started running longer distances (just did my first half marathon and am doing my first half ironman event in a few months, so have started training for that). 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Books: Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Branson. After reading this I quit investment banking to chase the entrepreneurial dream. 


Acquired by Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal – Tech company focused, but really interesting content about company building, strategy and investing. 

How I Built This with Guy Raz – Really inspiring interviews with company builders focusing on the problems they were solving and how they got started and grew. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

  • My AirPods – I love to run and train with music or listen to podcasts.
  • Headspace – I love this app for my daily meditation. Gamechanger after having my daughter and being very sleep deprived 2 years ago
  • Wahoo Kickr Core – I recently bought this indoor bike trainer which makes getting volume done on a bike so much easier at home, especially useful given all the rain we’ve had. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be? 

Our NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, who has 6 kids. I really don’t understand how he does it! 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Starting, running and growing businesses are very demanding but the mental clarity and energy brought through positive daily habits, especially movement, is a non-negotiable for me. Every day it’s important to do something you love and look forward to something outside of work. Exercise is a healthy habit to prioritise. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.