Celebrating International Women’s Day: Meet The B-School Female Founders


Danya Sherman, who studied at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, founded KnoNap to empower, educate, and advocate against drink spiking

Danya Sherman, McDonough School of Business, KnoNap 

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Business Degree: Master of Business Administration, with a major in STEM Designated Management Science

Why did you choose to study your course at McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University?:
I started KnoNap when I was an undergraduate Sophomore at George Washington University. In 2019, I graduated with a degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Security Policy. While there are correlations between business and International Relations, I chose to pursue an MBA directly after graduation to build upon my business acumen. My goal takeaways from my courses at McDonough were to become more dynamic-excel competent, financially literate, and capable of analyzing statistical data sets. The courses within the STEM Designated Management Science major enabled me to accomplish the above goals.

Tell us more about your company/organization and what you do:
KnoNap works to inclusively empower, educate, and advocate against drink spiking. It is estimated that one out of every 13 college-aged individuals suspect having had a drink laced with a drug, with 21% of those individuals identifying as men. The issues of drug-facilitated sexual assault and crime can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, and geographic location.

We empower through Knope, our discreet, portable, gender-inclusive detection device for rape drugs disguised in the aesthetic of a stick of gum. Knope can be integrated into any social setting and used by anyone, circumventing the concern for consumers to choose personal safety or social comfort. KnoNap works to educate about drink spiking through our peer-reviewed What Now Campaign in collaboration with national law enforcement professionals, answering the question of “what now?” following being affected by drink spiking, an indication of drug presence in a Knope, harassment, and sexual violence. 

Finally, our long-term vision is to advocate for harsher penalties for persecutors of sexual violence. Aligned with key strategic partners, we work to combat drug-facilitated sexual assault and crime, one empowerment tool at a time. Say Knope to Drink Spiking. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign in the coming weeks. To learn more, join our newsletter at www.knonap.com, and stay in touch on our social media @knonap.

Was it always your goal to found a company?:
No. Originally, I aspired to become a journalist, writing on international human rights-related issues. Prior to founding KnoNap, I interned at Free the Slaves, an international non-governmental organization established to campaign against the modern practice of slavery around the world. However, my professional aspirations pivoted when I identified that the issue of drink spiking was not being reasonably commercially addressed. To that end, I founded KnoNap in 2017 with the goal of empowering, educating, and advocating against drink spiking.

What advice would you have for other entrepreneurial women that want to start a business?:
There may be a million reasons why not to do something, and only one reason to do it, and that one reason outweighs all the other concerns. Just do it. Believe in yourself, and invest in yourself. Surround yourself with people that challenge you and lift you up. Surround yourself with people of different life experiences and views. In the early days of growing your company, people will give a lot of unsolicited feedback. Hear it all. Absorb it. It’s not your responsibility to act on all of it, but only a fool does not listen. When in doubt, remember Lily Tomlin’s quote: I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.

How did your experience at business school help you with your venture?:
I was honored to connect with brilliant mentors and advisors who were directly beneficial in assisting me to grow KnoNap. During my time at Georgetown, I was also humbled to have won BarkTank’s 1st place Leonsis Prize. The capital from the competition was used for KnoNap’s final R&D push. Aside from the network I was able to grow at business school, the course work and learnings remain directly beneficial for KnoNap.

What are your hopes for the future of women entrepreneurs?:
My hope for the future of women entrepreneurs is twofold: women leaders continue to receive greater access to capital, and women entrepreneurs are growingly referred to as entrepreneurs without the preface of ‘women’.

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