Graduating cum laude from Durham Academy in North Carolina, Ashley Lightspeed was accepted into Duke University. Earning her B.A. in 2012, she became a consultant at Bain & Company. She joined Thumbtack in San Franciso in February 2015 which exposed her to the world of startups and venture capital.
She became very interested in venture capital and investing. So much so that she enrolled at Stanford so she could earn an MBA and enter that industry. To put herself through their Graduate School of Business she worked part-time as a consultant and growth advisor. Within a month of graduating she was hired by Lightspeed Venture Partners. She is a partner at this firm and a leader in the consumer investing team. See more on Ashley at medium.com
Ashley Lightspeed enjoys helping entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality. She works with them to develop their startup’s growth strategy and improving their products. She is a big believer in prototyping a product and then getting consumer feedback on how it can be improved.
She says that focusing on consumer products at Lightspeed Ventures was an easy choice to make. She had worked with these types of products both at Bane and Thumbtack. This included doing focus groups and having consumers fill out surveys. Ashley Lightspeed says she finds it interesting how consumers say what they will buy certain products but, once actually faced with a choice, will buy something else entirely. She likes investigating what drives actual consumer behavior.
She says that product and marketing people need to be involved in a product from the get-go rather than being brought in later for this very reason. If a product is built in a silo, it can be an abject failure once launched because the designers didn’t take into account what consumers actually want. She says the best startups involve marketing teams from the start.