Alice PeltonAlice Pelton is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Lowdown, the world’s first review platform for contraception.

She studied at the London School of Economics, before working in strategy and product management at the publisher News UK. She set up The Lowdown in 2019, and is based in London.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I grew up in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and left to study Anthropology at the LSE. After graduating, I launched an e-commerce brand selling dog food (!) before getting on the marketing graduate scheme at the publisher News UK. It’s been quite varied 🤣

I spent seven years at News UK – and during my time there, realised I liked working with developers and tech teams more than I did briefing creative agencies. Whilst I was on sabbatical in 2017 I thought of the idea for The Lowdown, after ranting to my boyfriend about my terrible experiences with contraception. I used my experience working as a digital product manager for some of the UK’s biggest news brands to make it happen and bootstrapped and built the site as a side hustle, launching it in 2019.

The Lowdown really took off, so I quit my job at News UK in 2019, went travelling, and then came home in peak lockdown to focus on the business full-time last year. We recently closed an investment round, hired a team and launched our consultation and prescriptions service. We’re currently hard at work rebuilding our website, which will be launching in September.

Helping women with their contraception and building this business is my dream job and I absolutely love it!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No – my only plan was to try out lots of different things in my twenties, to find out what I most enjoyed. I would treat the early stage in your career as like browsing a buffet, and not get too hung up on what you choose. Just try and work in an environment that gives you flexibility, fast promotion and loads of space to learn. It’s all about your rate of learning, and there’s nothing wrong with being a generalist in my (biased) opinion.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I was very impatient in the early stages of my career and had to take advice to slow down and let things happen. My main challenges have all been internal – trying not to worry or stress about things too much, and being insanely hard on myself.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Probably being interviewed about The Lowdown by The Times for their T2 supplement. I read The Times every day and it made my Dad proud.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Relationship building. After a few years of working in an office, I realised how much success is down to getting to know people and working well with them. The Lowdown was built with the help of friends, ex-colleagues and passionate community members. Without relationships with these people, it would not exist.

The Lowdown is the world’s first review platform for contraception – How important is it that women have a platform to be able to discuss their health openly?

It’s long overdue and absolutely critical. Traditional healthcare isn’t working, and women are desperate for a safe space where they can share their experiences and get the real lowdown on how things may impact them.

Our organic success is testament to this; since launching the site we’ve collected over 5,000 experiences from women and are visited by thousands of people every day, without spending any money on marketing.

What top tips would you give to someone looking for a career in Femtech?

Contact start-ups like The Lowdown and pitch to write, help out, or tell us what we’re doing wrong! It’s a really nascent industry so jump on board a rocket ship as one of them will take off! 🚀 Try out brands and products, and become an expert in an area that interests you.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Build a stronger pipeline by investing in ways to teach women how to code or get into tech in the first place. Start paying us the same as men. When recruiting, don’t put names on CVs to help avoid bias.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I think it starts in schools – with the gendering of our education system and the assumption that women don’t want to or aren’t encouraged to code or look into STEM subjects. Is anyone properly selling tech to them? If you told a 16-year-old she could earn over £100k per year as an Android developer, building products for the coolest companies on the planet, I think she’d be interested.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I don’t subscribe to that many newsletters as a lot of them are just noise – but I do highly recommend Femtech insider. Women of Wearables and Femstreet are good also. Twitter is a great place to find interesting threads from founders and investors in a space you’re interested in. I love listening to How I Built This podcast for inspiration when I’m feeling in a pit of doom.

My top three books are the oft recommended (for a reason) Four Hour Work Week (on side hustles), The Hard Thing about Hard Things (on leadership) and Who: The A Method (on hiring)