What I've Learnt: Sophie Abrahamovitch, Co-founder and COO at DUSK

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo
Sophie Abrahamovitch, DUSK

DUSK is a free nightlife platform, aimed at getting people exploring new places they might not have considered before.

The app was founded as Drinki, a platform offering one free drink per evening, but has expanded and rebranded to offer a more all-round experience. DUSK lets you watch video tours of the bars it lists, filter destinations by type, and still get free drinks at certain partner locations. Its chosen bars are curated from across London, Manchester and Liverpool.

We talked to Co-founded Sophie Abrahamovitch about pursuing her dream job in her dream industry.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

I'm super into fitness and go to the gym daily... but work in alcohol! So that pretty much cancels it out. But in truth, a workout is the only place I can get away from my phone and emails so it keeps me sane.

What's been your luckiest break?

By total fluke and random luck I met the founder and Managing Director of Drake & Morgan, Jillian MacLean, at the gym, and we ended up striking up a conversation. Cut to six months later, and we're excited to be partnering with them in London and Manchester for a DUSK campaign.

She's become something of a mentor to me, as a leading woman in the alcohol industry - still more rare than you'd think.

What's your best failure?

When I was working in finance, I once lost my company £15,000 by clicking the wrong button. It genuinely felt like one of the worst moments of my life, but the panic and general feeling of doom that followed pretty much confirmed to me that I was in the wrong job and the wrong industry. I'd learned an awful lot, but it was time to get out.

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

My path to DUSK wasn't straightforward. Growing up, I'd always been obsessed with tech innovation.

I started working in bars at 17 and continued throughout university. During my wilderness years in finance, I hustled on the side and we started DUSK - combining my love of nightlife and tech with an app curating the top bars in London, Manchester and Liverpool.

If I hadn't taken a risk, working those late nights and long hours alongside my broking job, I wouldn't be where I am now.

How would you describe your work/life balance?

Work-life balance isn't that big a consideration for me. I'm lucky enough to love what I'm doing so it doesn't feel like work.

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

I'm the first to admit I'm sometimes too busy to read, so find myself drawn towards audiobooks and podcasts when I'm on-the-go. At the moment, I'm loving 'How I Built This' - stories from entrepreneurs and innovators about the movements they've built.

I'm also hooked on 'Masters of Scale' - a podcast from the Co-founder of LinkedIn where he interviews founders and discusses theories on how successful businesses scale. The show commits itself to a 50-50 gender split, so is particularly inspiring for female founders.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I've only ever had one good piece of advice - see below - so I generally steer clear of dishing it out. I'd probably tell myself to just listen to my gut and follow my instinct - there's a lot of hot air telling you what you can and can't do, and most of it entirely unhelpful, so just drown out the noise and focus on getting the job done.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My old boss from back in my finance days and the Owner and Director of WeAreFSTVL, Steve Durham, has been a huge influence for me.

Nervous about taking a pay cut to work on DUSK full-time, he told me to never make life choices based on money unless you've got kids or a mortgage. I took that insight to heart, made the right decision, and now I'm doing my dream job in an industry I love.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people

I spent a month boxing at Church Street Boxing in NYC, when I was 23. I'd decided to do it on a whim after finding myself in New York on gardening leave.

I had no idea what I'd signed up to and ended up being trained by Eric Kelly - four-time US national boxing champion, former member of the U.S. National Olympic team, and the most notorious trainer in the city. He basically laughed me into the ring on my first training session, but it ended up being an incredible, fun experience.

What does success look like to you?

Private jet? No seriously - it would be having a successful business and a great team around me, and working hard to make sure my mum can retire in relative luxury.

We're not far off, but the jet might have to wait...