Written by Emma McGowan for .Mic. Originally published on November 16th, 2015.
The rise of sex tech: “Sex tech” is such a new term with some disagreement about what it means. The category includes companies that are trying to disrupt a wide range of sex and dating-related spaces, from online dating to sex toys to porn, pushing us to re-examine both how we interact with each other and how we interact with our technology.
Cindy Gallop is the ultimate sex tech entrepreneur. With her blunt, blonde bob and her now famous utterance of the phrase “come on my face” six times during the TED Talk that launched her disruptive porn company, MakeLoveNotPorn (NSFW), Gallop is perhaps the most recognizable face in the sex tech world.
As she said in her TED Talk, she launched the company when she noticed that her lovers were clearly mimicking moves they’d seen in porn instead of focusing on being present with her while they were having sex. Her solution? A porn site that focuses on “real-world sex,” which in this case means curated, user-submitted videos in which the couples are clearly not acting for a camera.
“It’s no surprise that the most interesting things in sex tech are coming from female founders.”
Gallop told Mic that while being a woman founder of a sex tech company comes with its own set of challenges, “it’s no surprise that the most interesting things in sex tech are coming from female founders.”
Right now, most executives in the tech industry are men — as Business Insider reports, women hold only 11% of leadership positions at Silicon Valley companies — and sex and love are traditionally thought of as female-oriented spaces.
Despite the fact she represents “the triple whammy of un-fundability: female, older and with a sex tech venture,” Gallop absolutely believes that dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a sex tech founder makes her tougher and, ultimately, a better investment than her peers in the mainstream tech industry.
“The enormous irony is that every single thing that VCs and investors say they want to fund in an entrepreneur, sex tech entrepreneurs have that quadrupled,” she said. “To even make a startup successful in sex tech, you have to be quadruply persistent, quadruply resilient, quadruply committed, quadruply determined, strong, brave and courageous.
“Every goddamn investor should fund any sex tech entrepreneur with a bootstrapped venture that presents itself, because they have had to go through a shit ton of shit. That’s what you should be funding. If you’re looking for deal flow, sex tech is where it’s at.”
But investors aren’t investing in female founders, in any sector of the tech industry. According to the Economist, a Babson College study found the number of female partners in American venture capital firms was only 6% in 2014. Another 2014 Babson study found that companies with a woman as CEO had gotten only “3% of total venture capital dollars in the previous two years.”
Head over to the original article to read all about the other awesome female disrupters!