We'll be talking about sextech & lockdowns with Soum Rakshit, CEO and Co-Founder at MysteryVibe based in the UK.
On a mission to create “purposeful devices that change lives,” MysteryVibe is not your average sextech company. Challenging the status quo, applying the latest technological advances and winning prestigious awards are just some of the differentiators that makes the company so unique.
Our friendship with Soum began back in 2016 when he joined the 2nd cohort of Startup Sesame's annual event acceleration program 💙
Tell us a bit about MysteryVibe and why you launched this company back in 2014.
We created MysteryVibe to address one of our biggest personal challenges - keeping the ‘mystery’ in the bedroom, especially after major life events like childbirth, menopause, cancer treatment or surgery. To make this happen, we combined our deep research & engineering expertise with leading doctors to create devices that address major sexual health issues such as erectile dysfunction, dryness & pain during intercourse. Our devices combine the best of humanity & technology to help people regain and revitalise their sexual health at every stage of their life.
To support this, we work closely with sexual health experts to be at the forefront of research & develop though-leadership that act as catalysts for people to start those much-needed conversations to elevate their sexual wellbeing. We continuously strive to make sexual health an integral part of our overall health. A world where everyone has the space, freedom, knowledge & power to elevate their sexual health & wellbeing.
You raised over $6,5M over the years. How easy/hard is it to fund a sextech startup?
We raised all our funding till date from angel investors. While institutional investors typically have restrictions on where they can and cannot invests, that is not the case for most angels. So in a way it was no harder / or easier than raising money for any startup really.
In my experience the main thing angels look for is the ability of the founding team to execute on the idea and have the maturity to evolve the company as it grows. Beyond that sharing the same passion for the problem the startup is trying to solve and having a long term view on Return on Investment helps greatly as well.
What was the impact of Covid and lockdowns on your activity? Did people get kinkier in 2020?
Our sales boomed during lockdown, with our website sales growing 2.5x from 2019 to 2020. In fact on Black Friday last year we had a new order on our website every 2 minutes. With everyone having more time in the house people begin to explore themselves sexually. With limited contact with others and there being a real emphasis throughout lockdown on one’s own wellbeing, self-pleasure became a great way to look after yourself!
In terms of kinky-ness, there were two sides to this story. People with more time on their began paying more attention to their kinks and desires, which they simply didn't have time for before. On the other hand, people with kids and homeschooling had no time for themselves and many ended up having no pleasure at all in the whole year.
Based on your experience, who's kinkier? A founder or an investor?
This is an interesting one. The assumption that people in sex tech, whether founders or investors, are particularly kinky is one that constantly comes up. Unfortunately in reality, my fellow founders and our investors are quite ‘ordinary’ in this regard. What is certain is we all, founders and investors alike, share a deep passion to make sexual health open and accessible and the conversations around it informed and actionable.
That's it for the teaser, RSVP to join us March 25th for our 5th Selected Salon to continue this conversation 😉
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