Before the age of 30, Ashley Lightspeed became a partner at San Francisco’s Lightspeed Venture Partners. She had already been a top performer at three other firms before being recruited for this position. Her job involves developing growth strategies for the companies in her portfolio.
Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, she studied visual and media studies, markets and management at Duke University. Later on, after moving to California, she also earned an MBA at Stanford. Her first job was at the management consulting firm Bain & Company where she was a senior consultant.
In February 2015, Ashley Lightspeed joined Thumbtack in San Francisco. This company’s specialty is connecting customers to professionals who provide services they need. She headed the wedding category as its manager. While she loved this job, she wanted to help entrepreneurs build new companies and so left after a year and a half.
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While studying, she worked at Growth Stage Companies part-time. This was a great position for her while studying because she was a consultant who didn’t need to keep in contact with clients every day. It was her experience and success in this position that led to Lightspeed Venture Partners wanting her to join their team.
Her dad is an architect and she wanted to work in the same occupation as a child and teenager. She spent a couple of summers going to design camps where she learned the refrain, “measure twice, cut once”. She took this message to heart and carries that over into her consulting work. She is a big proponent of prototyping new business ideas and seeing which ones work before pulling the trigger. She says that entrepreneurs need to be flexible and have the ability to pivot when needed. It sounds simple but it’s really easy to get too attached to an idea, Ashley Lightspeed says, which is what she advices her clients against.
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