From lack of data to lack of design, there are many market gaps ripe for the taking in the sex tech industry.
We caught up with three startup founders from the Factory Berlin community with bold visions to take on the sex tech industry’s shortcomings and empower healthier attitudes towards sex and sexuality in the process.
Elevator Pitch: Modality Group is a sex tech research firm. They connect sex product companies to consumers with inclusive market research.
Founding Story: At a trade show in Shanghai in 2014, founder Lex Gillon “realised that most of the products were designed by men and they weren’t designed using data or any kind of real research.” She developed Modality Group to leverage research and create usable insights for companies to make real decisions about real populations.
“I was at a trade show in Shanghai in 2014 and I realised that all the products were designed by men and they weren't designed using data or any kind of real research, but rather designed from feeling and how it would feel on the creator's body. Using one person's experience to make products for the masses, and I figured that can't happen.”
The Approach: Lex further explained that the industry has 3 core issues connecting to usable data: siloed information between companies, a lack of honesty in consumer answers and finally, a lack of inclusivity integrated into their approach.
By working first with companies like The V Dom which serves queer women and trans men, she intends to solve the problems of lack of honesty and lack of inclusivity.
“This is a population that has a real need for their toys, and they’re more willing to give you accurate information because it suits them. Starting with these kinds of smaller populations, we can start getting real insights and nuanced information to build upon.”
Anatomy of Pleasure
Elevator Pitch: Anatomy of Pleasure uses 2D and 3D modelling to teach users how physical anatomy relates to sex and pleasure.
Founding Story: “The underlying fire was my own curiosity,” Alakina Mann explained. “My grandmother was a midwife, and my mother taught biology. I grew up thinking that I knew what there is to know about the body, but had a little voice in the back of my mind that it wasn’t really the full picture.”
“The underlying fire was my own curiosity… My grandmother was a midwife, and my mother taught biology. I grew up thinking that I knew what there is to know about the body, but had a little voice in the back of my mind that it wasn’t really the full picture.”
Alakina realised the gaps in her own knowledge about the clitoris and the vulva and decided to lead her to undertake a review of sex anatomy during her Masters and ultimately, launch Anatomy of Pleasure.
The Approach: Using 2D and 3D modelling, Anatomy of Pleasure “teaches the anatomy that we didn’t get taught at school. We get taught reproduction and periods, but, the pleasure side of things gets left out, especially for people with female bodies.”
Furthering the scope of Anatomy of Pleasure, Alakina is training as a psychosexual somatic therapy coach to understand the physical and mental elements of pleasure.
Her hope is that the conversation around sexuality “is becoming more open as the variety of people’s experiences is getting more air time. Pleasure and having ownership (of your sexuality) is changing, as sex becomes common part of conversation in life.”
Vedra Care & Wellbeing
Elevator Pitch: Vedra Care & Wellbeing is launching its first product, an intimate massage gel with CBD infusion. With sleek design and a novel approach, the company intends to create products that you can leave on your nightstand, rather than hide under your bed.
Founding Story: With a successful sex tech business already in his family, Fritz Meise has an edge in an industry that’s hard to crack and he has a market overview to see a new way to position his product. “In our customer survey, we found out that half of the participants do not remember the brand of their last lubricant. We want to change that. We want to become a brand that consumers really can identify with.”
“In our customer survey, we found out that half of the participants do not remember the brand of their last lubricant. We want to change that. We want to become a brand that consumers really can identify with.”
The Approach: With sleek design and new marketing and sales channels, Vedra Care & Wellbeing aims to position itself as a lifestyle brand.
“This is not a product that you will find in a regular pharmacy, or in a drugstore. We plan to climb up the ladder and make this a lifestyle product. We want to approach concept and design stores where you have fashion and cosmetics.”