Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

The Frustrations of Trying to Get a Sex Tech Startup Off the Ground / Alternet

Written by Carrie Weisman for AlterNet. Originally published on January 13th, 2016.


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“Online porn is staggeringly popular. According to PornHub’s analytics team, 4,392,486,580 hours of porn were watched on the site in 2015. Over 87 billion videos were viewed during the 21.2 billion visits it recieved last year. That’s 12 videos viewed per person on Earth, they note. People love sex—or at least they love watching it. So it makes sense that many would-be entrepreneurs have taken the record level of Internet interest in it as an indication that it’s a good time to go into the business. But before you quit your day job, you should know that surviving the world of sex tech is not nearly as easy as it sounds.
Just about any new business requires a web presence to survive and access to the usual tools of business. But those who deal in adult content have been hit with a storm of unexpected hurdles. Web servers won’t host their content. Credit card operators won’t work with them for fear of chargebacks (“No honey,of course I didn’t rent Backdoor Sluts! I’ll give them a call”). Alternative methods of payment, such as PayPal, are off limits too. Banks refuse to provide these entrepreneurs with business bank accounts and companies like MailChimp, which manage membership emails, refuse to service any business based in porn.

Crowdfunding is one way to get funding, but not one that tends to work out. Cindy Gallop, founder of Make Love Not Porn, a company that helps highlight the differences between sex in porn and sex in real life, says of the crowdfunding platforms that do allow adult content, certain forms seem more welcome than others. Wanna sell sex toys? Sure. Videos of people having sex? Not so much.

“The biggest problem is that successful crowdfunding requires a very large amount of people willing to very publicly rally around something,” Gallop told AlterNet. “And to very publicly spread the word and invite other people into it. People publicly rally around a piece of hardware, video game or movie concept. They will not publicly, in large numbers, rally around anything to do with sex.”

That means those working in the world of adult content are left with few options. Venture capitalists are the usual sources to turn to for funding, but as Gallop explains, they tend to get uncomfortable when it comes to matters of sex. “There are too many stakeholders,” she says.

Gallop explains the main obstacle that presents itself with this group is what she calls “the fear of what other people will think.” That phenomenon has a tendency to pop up around porn.

Gallop told us about one investor who, while a fan of her work, was hesitant to get involved. “At the end of the day, it’s not what I think,” he said. “It’s about what every other partner in my firm will think and what every investor in our fund will think.”


Head over to AlterNet to check out the original article! Read more like this in our #sextechbiz section of our blog!

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