On April 3, three new startups Outside Financial, Navega Therapeutics and Domaine Sante — began Ad Astra Ventures’ third business accelerator cohort, an 8-week program in Solana Beach, California. Each admitted participant will receive in-depth business training, formal mentoring and a $20,000 seed investment.

Ad Astra Founders: Vidya Dinamani, Allison Long Pettine, Silvia Mah

Founded in 2018 by San Diego investors and startup advocates Vidya Dinamani, Allison Long Pettine, and Silvia Mah, Ad Astra Ventures equips female founders to build, run and scale investable businesses. Graduates from their accelerator have successfully raised over $2 million to date.

“We’re thrilled with the caliber of applications coming in from San Diego and outside of the city — this was a hard decision,” says Dinamani. “Three impressive women make up our current cohort; they represent diverse industries, and all address a critical customer need. We’re excited about sharing with them our unique framework, which will accelerate their impact.”

The three women participating in Ad Astra’s third cohort are:

Sonia Steinway, president and founder of Outside Financial — Outside Financial helps car buyers and owners understand their financing options and connect to the right lender. Cars are one of the biggest purchases most Americans make, but according to Steinway, the process to buy and pay for them is confusing and frustrating, especially for those with less-than-perfect credit. Steinway created Outside Financial to reinvent car financing the way it should be: consumer first. https://www.outsidefinancial.com/

Ana Moreno, CEO and founder of Navega Therapeutics — A preclinical stage company, Navega Therapeutics is pursuing a radically different approach to treat chronic pain and tackle the opioid epidemic. The company’s gene therapy platform has the advantage of being highly specific and long-lasting, features that have yet to be achieved by small molecules. Navega’s pipeline includes different types of pain to improve the quality of life for millions of patients. https://www.navegatx.com/

Emily Josenhans, CEO and founder of Domaine Santé — With the first sweetener on the market made from California wine grapes, Domaine Santé offers the ultimate alternative to sugar. Grape Nectar has an exceptionally flavorful and unique taste that elevates anything from morning coffee and yogurt to the most intricate chef or mixologist creation, Josenhans notes. Domaine Sante aims to effortlessly impart more than just a sweet flavor, and ultimately promote a healthier and more sustainable sugar consumption. http://www.domaine-sante.com

Ad Astra has received more than 130 applications since its inception in 2018.

According to Mah, “Supporting diverse female founders is one of our core values at Ad Astra Ventures, so having Cohort 3 being diverse in all aspects is extremely rewarding. These female founders will be transformed by the rigorous leadership development and business essentials training we deliver during the 8-week business accelerator.”

About Ad Astra Ventures:

Founded in 2018 by San Diegans Vidya Dinamani, Allison Long Pettine, and Dr. Silvia Mah, Ad Astra Ventures is dedicated to growing and building female leaders through thoughtful programming and investment opportunities. The organization hosts 8-week business accelerator programs for high-growth startups led by one or more females. With the support of organizations like Athena, Ad Astra is building a global community of founders, investors, executives and philanthropists passionate about putting more women in leadership positions. For more information, please visit adastra.ventures/.

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