Leo Castellanos is an Investment Director and Equity Partner at Saatchinvest – a London-based venture capital fund that invests in technology companies. Aged 39, he lives in Deptford, London, but says he’s originally from: “The other side of the pond, south of the wall, keep going, north of the south… Caracas, Venezuela!”
Leo’s worked in venture capital for eight years, and his current role involves sourcing, evaluating and structuring deals – as well as “portfolio and portfolio-company management, attending board meetings, funding rounds and so on”.
He describes himself as: “Also a Londoner, but without the TOWIE accent.”
First things first, what time does your alarm go off?
It depends, it’s always set for 6:50, but these days I’m waking up at 5am.
Wow. So when do you usually arrive into the office?
The office is where the heart is – which means I work from different places – but I usually start on the laptop by 7:30 to 8.
And what’s the first thing you do once you arrive?
Make myself, or order myself, a proper coffee. Flat white preferably – it must be hot, strong and silky!
Describe your morning to us, what do you do typically?
Every morning I look at emails, read about and digest deals, and read blogs like Medium on innovation, venture capital, entrepreneurship, exits, business models, disruption in London, Europe, Silicon Valley, New York – and the rest of the world. I then decide what’s important that day. So if we’re doing a deal then I’ll progress on that. I also have meetings with entrepreneurs and colleagues from the industry – other VCs and members of the ecosystem.
What happens at lunchtime?
Guess… I have lunch! Again, it always varies. I try to have lunch once a week with my Fund Partner, Alex. I also try to have lunch with colleagues and contacts. Once or twice a month I try to have lunch with my partner Romina or my friend Kyle. And once a week, I meet my partners from the board of SatchInvest too.
What does a typical afternoon look like?
It changes all the time. There are demo days – these are days when people come and show us demonstrations of their products – industry events and networking, and days of meetings too. I also read and look at data from companies as well as industry trends, so it varies lots.
How do you prioritise tasks?
By prioritising what’s important, important, important – to me, to what I do, and to my circle.
And then how do you assess your progress for the day?
Cross the items from the list! If the angst is still there, I do more.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
I love what I do – meeting and working with people who are changing the world with tech in a cool, simple and elegant way.
Are there any downsides?
There are the pressures we put on ourselves to have an awesome portfolio we can be proud of.
How do you manage that pressure?
I have started Transcendental Meditation (TM) and I totally recommend it. I also hit the gym with my personal trainer twice or three times a week. Being grateful for what I have and going for active walks everyday helps hugely.
What time are you home usually?
That always changes. I might be having dinner, going to a networking event, having drinks with colleagues. If I’m not doing any of these things, then I’m home at around 7-ish.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were leaving university?
Work intelligently – not necessarily correlated with working hard.
What single piece of advice do you have for graduates planning to work in venture capital?
Be different. Be cool. Have principles and stick to them, they are not overrated.
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