From the earliest age, Ashley has been fascinated by the process of developing new products, services, and business models. Today, while Ashley has pivoted away from architecture, she is at the forefront of architecting the future of business. As an integral member of the investing team at Lightspeed, one of the most broadly diversified venture capital firms in the world, Ashley gets to use both her extensive knowledge and deep love for creating new products every day. As a partner with Lightspeed Venture Partners, Ashley has brought her unique perspective and striking knack for both spotting and creating trends to bear. Although modest about her accomplishments, Ashley has worked for a veritable whos-who list of power players in the world of cutting-edge tech finance. While there, she learned the value of not just possessing both foresight and insight but also of using sophisticated tools like economic modeling to help shape actionable business intelligence. From there, she was recruited by Thumbtack, a tech startup that sought to connect professionals with local clients. After graduating from Stanford Business School and leaving Thumbtack, Ashley sought new adventures and was eventually linked up with Lightspeed Venture Capital where she remains today.
Growing up, Ashley wanted to be an architect like her dad. She loved sitting together at the drafting table in their garage sketching ideas and building things. In other words, prototyping. She later learned in her coursework at Duke and studying abroad in Copenhagen, that she much prefers prototyping business ideas to actual buildings. Shortly after graduating, she kickstarted a consulting career at Bain. After several years at Bain, Ashley had a hankering to do more operational work and wanted to explore the world of Silicon Valley. From running simulations with clients during her tenure at Bain to wire-framing product ideas at Thumbtack, Ashley has consistently used prototyping as a tool to gather feedback and rapidly iterate on ideas and product improvements throughout her career. Ashley was first exposed to venture capital while working on a fundraising pitch deck at Thumbtack. Enter Lightspeed. It gives the creator the patience to understand their specific needs and translate that understanding into solutions to make their lives easier, healthier, and more inspired.
Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the best-performing VC firms in Silicon Valley, is closing out with a slew of new hires. Neetzan Zimmerman, a former senior editor at Gawker, has also joined as vice president of growth, as first reported by Forbes. The additions are 50 percent female, a good move for Lightspeed, which like many VC firms, has been long short on female partners. Founded in , Lightspeed has had just two female partners, Nicole Quinn and Natalie Luu, who joined in and , respectively. Two of its newest hires, Messerschmidt and Grace, are particularly active advocates of women in tech, too.
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