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“Dame is a mission-driven company that was trying to make something new and innovative, and in that spirit we were happy to welcome them to Kickstarter,” David Gallagher, a communications director at the company, told Mashable.
Once it launched on the crowdfunding platform, the project was funded in just two days – and that’s without ever being featured on Kickstarter’s main page or newsletter. Indiegogo, another popular crowdfunding site that agreed to host Dame’s first couples’ sex toy two years prior, hadn’t gone out of its way to feature that product, either, regardless of its popularity.
Today, Kickstarter says it employs a more case-by-case approach in deciding whether or not to allow sex toy fundraising campaigns on the site. Though there have yet to be any other campaigns approved for sextech products.
“We’ve received a few sex toy submissions since Dame’s but none that met our standards,” Gallagher explained.
But to hear others working in this field tell it, neither Kickstarter nor any other crowdfunding platform will ever be the savior they need when it comes to bringing products to market. It’s part of a bigger issue the boutique sex toy market is facing.
In recent years, there’s been a definite shift in the way sex toys for women are marketed – many companies have moved away from the kind of tawdry packaging you might find in the back of an adult video store and toward a vision of pleasure as an integral part of sexual health and wellness.
But not everyone has caught up, and this has a real cost.
Ask any independent sextech entrepreneur what their biggest challenge has been, and it’s fairly likely their response will have something to do with funding. Banks often flat-out refuse to give loans to any company operating in the adult space, as is their legal right. Venture capital firms are also quick to cite “morality clauses” that prohibit their involvement.
This was among the topics discussed at the most recent Women of Sextech event, a near-monthly meet-up held in New York City where entrepreneurs gather to discuss their field.