from that month, beauty and personal care retailer Sephora is selling vibrators on its US website. It is a significant milestone not only for Lady and Maudethe startups it partnered with, but also for the sexual wellness product category.
These startups operate in a different environment than the founders found just a few years ago, but raising money is still no easy feat, a “paradoxical issue” to navigate, according to Andrea Barrica, CEO of the sexual wellness education platform. . O.School. “When you go into a space where few people have gone, with a lot of barriers, you definitely need more money, but we usually have to do that with less money upfront,” she told Ploonge.
To understand how early-stage sexual tech startups can meet this challenge, we also spoke with the founder. Lora DiCarlo and investor Carli Sapir, founding partner of Amboy Street Ventures. As for Barrica, she is now on both sides of the table – in addition to being an entrepreneur, she is an angel investing and raising funds.
Our conversations indicated that things are opening up: there are more sources of funding to leverage and convincing investors is easier than it used to be. But fundraising is still more difficult than in other verticals.
More than a few venture capital funds will never invest in sexual technology due to “addiction clauses” that contractually oblige them to repass companies that offer products or services in categories such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, guns, pornography, and well-being. be sexual.
“The bigger the fund, the more common it is” to have a bias clause, Barrica said, adding that the restriction is broad: “I have known small funds that have conservative LPs.”
To find out, she said, “You just have to ask fund managers or partners, ‘We’re very excited about sexual wellness as a part of health and wellness. Is that going to be a problem with one of your LPs?’”
Asking a broad question about your concerns is a good idea, because even without a written clause, fund managers may not like investments that might upset their limited partners. “We VC funds raise a new fund every three years or so, and they don’t want to lose any investors,” Sapir agreed.