The distinctive 12-week accelerator program created by startup, product and investment experts Stella Labs, SEED San Diego, and Product Rebels is accepting applications for its first cohort of female-led businesses.

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 3, 2017) – Girls just wanna have a viable business model. That’s the tune three startup advocates are humming as they join forces to launch Ad Astra Ventures, a new San Diego-based business accelerator focused on female-led startups. To be a part of the program, founders must have revenue, paying customers, and a female on the founding team. Applications are now open and will be accepted until January 31. After a rigorous pre-program sprint session on February 12, selected finalists will have the opportunity to join the first cohort, which begins on February 27.

“The program is unlike any other, taking a holistic philosophy of entrepreneurship, which will transform each woman who goes through the program,” said Allison Long Pettine, founding partner of Seed San Diego and one of three women launching Ad Astra Ventures. “There are several unique elements including one-on-one business and leadership coaching, specific female-centric curriculum, and a semi-customized program based on each founder’s strengths and opportunities.”

The Ad Astra Ventures partnership showcases the expertise of experienced men and women in the San Diego startup ecosystem – led by Silvia Mah, Allison Long Pettine, and Vidya Dinamani – who are connected to incubators, venture groups and institutions. The goal is to have the industry-agnostic cohort receive funding, rigorous curriculum, a startup champion lead, and a robust group of mentors, allowing them to exit the 12-week program with product, customer and market clarity and a compelling business case that leads to subsequent investments.

“Ad Astra Ventures wants to find the best founders who are building high-growth businesses and equip them with the tools necessary for continued growth,” said Dr. Silvia Mah, Executive Director of Stella Labs. “Not only are we enabling businesses to thrive by focusing on success factors we’ve identified through our years of experience as investors and VCs, but we’re looking at everything we do through a female-focused lens.”

According to Dow Jones VentureSource, “…venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies with only men in charge,” yet women-led companies received just 14 percent of capital in 2017, according to Forbes contributor Geri Stengel via Pitchbook.

“We’re forming Ad Astra Ventures to address this gap,” said Vidya Dinamani, co-founder of Product Rebels. “We know there are many excellent female leaders and we want them to excel.”

Those interested in applying for the first cohort can do so at

About Ad Astra Ventures:
Ad Astra Ventures is a 12-week business accelerator program for revenue generating female-led startups focused on growth. The organization’s unique application process allows accepted applicants to go through training customized to the cohort. As a result of the program, organizations will be poised to raise capital or organically triple existing revenue. For more information and to apply, please visit

About Stella Labs:
Stella Labs is a female-focused business accelerator that equips entrepreneurs through intensive workshops to launch, grow and sustain profitable businesses. Interactive labs, strategy sessions, female-founder intensives and accountability groups offer sustained support that allows women-led businesses to flourish. Solving for the entire San Diego innovation value chain, Stella Labs is the business accelerator of Hera Hub, a spa-inspired coworking space for entrepreneurs.

About Seed San Diego:
Seed San Diego is a small group of investors determined to change the landscape for investing in San Diego. The organization prides itself on its candor, asking startups and burgeoning businesses the tough questions that help startups move past hurdles and create businesses poised for revenue generation and growth. For more information, please visit

About Product Rebels:
Product Rebels offers comprehensive product training through its online curriculum, and in-person coaching to provide businesses with the tools to revolutionize their product and customer experience. Product Rebels prepares busy founders, startup leaders and product managers to approach every task with a customer-learning mindset. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact:
April Harter Enriquez
WordPop Public Relations
(805) 816-4833

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