Women-led companies are massively underinvested. Ashley Dombkowski of Before Brands is here to help you get that money and build your dream job. The fight for equal pay rages on (as it should), but there is another money and gender issue flying under the radar – equal opportunity for investment.
After working in male-dominated industries for nearly 20 years, including venture capital, Ashley Dombkowski had an idea that would let her be her own boss. She developed Before Brands, a consumer-focused health and wellness company with the aim of preventing children from developing (potentially fatal) allergies.
To say that the company was a major success would be an understatement. The business closed the largest Series B on record for a company with a female CEO in the healthy-living category.
We tapped Ashley for her advice on making it big in a male-dominated industry.
1. Have a #bosslady mentor
Ashley formerly worked at the massively popular DNA-kit company 23andMe, where she met an influential mentor, CEO Anne Wojcicki. ‘I really admire Anne as an example of a boss lady,’ says Ashley. ‘One of my takeaways from her, is she found a principle that she really believed in in her product and then has stuck with that principle and that’s guided her.’
2. Take a risk… It may literally pay off
When Ashley had the idea for, she was working in venture capital as the managing director for Bay City Capital. Despite the job security (not to mention, serious bank), she decided to leave the company in favour of her own idea. ‘I remember after I told my partners that I really wanted to do this, they were super-supportive but I got in the car and I was driving back home and I called a start-up lawyer, and I said, “Listen, I just quit my job. There’s this intellectual property that I want to license. I have no money.” That was in December of 2015. By May of 2016, we’d closed the Series A, and raised $13.1 million (more than R176 million).’