From bouldering to silent meditation retreats: Here’s how this year’s rising stars of VC are keeping their wellness on track while hunting down deals

  • The new generation of venture capitalists is embracing wellness as a counterbalance to the fast-paced life of investing.
  • We polled readers and top VCs from across the country to identify the best up-and-coming investors for 2023.
  • We then asked these venture capital rising stars to name their favorite wellness hacks.

Up-and-comers in Silicon Valley say their wellness hacks are critical to staying on top in the fast-paced world of venture capital investing.

Today’s consumer is more concerned than ever before with their health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness. And the VC world’s rising stars are at the forefront of the trend, with many adopting various wellness routines.

This year’s rising stars were asked to name their best wellness hack that keeps them at the top of their game. Some venture capitalists keep it simple with a daily exercise regimen that includes walking, cycling, and martial arts. Others swear by getting up early, journaling, and limiting their caffeine intake.

“Health and wellness are incredibly important to me,” Base10’s Luci Foncesa said. Daily movement is one of my non-negotiables, which, when combined with my meditation practice, ensures that I am my most energetic, present, and aware self.”

Find ways to get moving

Many rising stars in venture capital have a relationship with exercise that extends beyond an obligatory hour at the gym or a forced jog around the block. They see it as a daily practice that helps them stay physically fit as well as an enjoyable hobby that improves their mental health.

“In the past year, cycling has become more than just a hobby; it’s a source of peace and balance in my life,” Justin Williams, a senior associate at Seae Ventures, told Business Insider. “There’s something profoundly calming about embarking on a long ride after a day’s work.”

Other venture capitalists say they enjoy everything from martial arts to power walking to hot yoga to bouldering.

Fiona Huang, a partner at DCM Ventures, told Business Insider that she’s recently added Megaformer workouts to her routine, which use a beefed-up Pilates reformer machine to boost strength training benefits.

“It’s an incredibly efficient training method that challenges the body and aligns with my wellness goals,” she went on to say.

Other VCs, like Huang, believe that when it comes to selecting an effective exercise routine, efficiency is the name of the game. Many people told Business Insider that they combine movement with their work, such as QED Investors partner Laura Bock, who bikes to work and meetings in New York, and Founder Collective partner Amanda Herson, who invites founders to walking business meetings.

Taylor Brandt, a vice president at Headline, said she recently began walking on an inclined treadmill while watching meeting recordings on Avoma, a call transcription software that Headline invested in.

“I can get up to speed on prospective investments while working out – win-win!” she added.

Finding “Om” time

Many of the venture capitalists on this year’s list of rising stars recommended meditation as a way to unwind from daily life and stay focused on what’s important.

“This year, I decided to increase my typical 10 minutes of daily meditation to closer to 30-40 minutes daily,” said Luci Fonseca, a partner at Base10 Investors. “It’s been a game changer in my ability to focus, control my thoughts and emotions, modulate my responses in stressful situations, and show up for others the rest of the day.”

Vivien Ho, a partner at Pear VC, will spend 10 days in silent meditation at a Vipassana retreat over the New Year’s holiday.

And Ashley Paston, a partner at Meritech Capital, praises both meditation and journaling.

“It’s amazing how taking just 10 minutes out of my day helps set the pace and structure for the rest of the day so well,” she said in an interview with Business Insider.

Keep it simple: sleeping well and eating healthy

Basic routines centered on good sleep habits and healthy eating help some rising stars in venture capital stay on top of their game, such as Ahmed Mirza, a Techstars investor who’s “obsessed” with his 10 p.m. bedtime and 5 a.m. alarm.

Amber Atherton, a Patron partner, is also a proponent of the 10 p.m. bedtime, noting that staying up later makes it exponentially more difficult to feel rested.

Brandon Hoffman of Sunset Ventures takes things a step further with a caffeine protocol that supports his morning routine and ensures he drinks enough water throughout the day.

“I wake up early and make my first cup of coffee decaf to delay my caffeine intake until about 2 hours after waking up without having to give up the warm drink soon after getting out of bed,” he told Business Insider in an interview. “I also have a large empty cup beside the coffee maker.” When I make a cup of coffee (which I do several times a day), I make sure to fill that large cup all the way to the top with water and drink it as a way to allow myself another cup of coffee. This has been my trick for increasing my water intake, particularly to balance out a diuretic like coffee.”

Supplements are a must-have for other investors, such as Felicis deal partner Tobi Coker, who drinks apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning, and Wellington Management’s Javier Grevely, who swears by his probiotic and green juice, which contain superfoods like kale and wheatgrass.

Natalie Borowski, an investor at Coefficient Capital whose parents are Eastern European immigrants, values gut health and grew up eating a lot of pickled and fermented foods.

“I’ve recently been trying to get back to the level of nutrition diversity that I had in my childhood diet.” That’s what she told Business Insider. “In my Brooklyn apartment, I’ve been making lots of pickled vegetables, kefir (fermented yogurt drink), and kombucha (this one has not always been successful) based on my mom’s and grandma’s recipes.”

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