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Lora DiCarlo, the sexual wellness startup at the center of a trade show dustup in 2019, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise more money to make its microrobotic pleasure devices.
The Bend, Oregon-based company is raising money via a regulation crowdfunding offering on Republic, and it can raise anywhere from $25,000 to $5 million in its “my first time” campaign. After launching the campaign this morning, the company has already raised more than $48,000, and the crowdfunding push is set to last another 79 days.
Lora DiCarlo gained attention at CES 2019 after the Consumer Technology Association banned the company’s first female-oriented sex toy, Osé, from the show. In May 2019, the CTA updated its policy to make CES more “welcoming and inclusive,” and the sex toy was credited with kicking off a positive conversation about female empowerment and female-run startups.
The company already has investors like actress Cara Delevingne (co-owner of Lora DiCarlo), Romulus Capital, VU Fund, and Gaingels. Republic is an SEC-registered investment platform for investors seeking high growth investment returns in highly vetted startups.
“We really feel like it’s an amazing opportunity,” Lora DiCarlo CEO and founder Lora Haddock said in an interview with VentureBeat. “There are not a lot of ways to invest in sexual health and wellness. So we want to better everyone’s sex lives, and what better way to be able to do that then to allow everybody to participate? We’ve taken an inclusive and transparent approach.”
Allied Market Research estimated the sex tech market at $74 billion.
After CES changed its policy, sex toy makers such as Lora DiCarlo, OhMiBod, and Lioness were able to exhibit at CES 2020 in January. The show has continued to deny entrance to porn companies after those groups split off and formed their own show years ago. During the past couple of years, Lora DiCarlo has designed 11 products based on its microrobotic engine.
“Our engineering team has gone from a rickety car to a very well oiled machine in the last few years,” Haddock said. “Now we can dump ideas into this hopper and quickly synthesize them in a productive manner. We listen to the problems that people say they have, and we try to solve them.”
Lora DiCarlo started out creating high-tech sex toys in partnership with Oregon State University’s College of Engineering. Osé is a complex product with hundreds of parts. Its flexible body and custom controls allow people, either alone or with a partner, to simultaneously stimulate the G-spot and the clitoris to create a blended orgasm.
“Our mission is really rooted in just eradicating that stigma around sexuality and allowing people to just feel more empowered,” Haddock said.
Lora DiCarlo has also launched a sexual wellness coaching program called WellSx that complements the Osé family of devices. Haddock and other employees at the company got trained in sexual education for the purpose of offering the service. Haddock said the team welcomes constant feedback for its products.
“We were actually able to make some pretty awesome improvements to really better approach a wider berth of physiology,” Haddock said, regarding the launch of the first product.
Founded in 2017, Lora DiCarlo has 25 employees, not counting contractors, and has raised $6 million. In 2020, the company reported revenues of $7.5 million. It has 13 patents and has shipped more than 50,000 products to date.
Lora DiCarlo offers direct-to-consumer delivery in 37 countries, with product availability in over 400 retail stores in major markets, including the U.S., the U.K., Europe, and Japan. The brand also recently launched a new collection of warming sex tech and has additional products set to debut later this year. Funds raised through the current campaign will support continued product development, global marketing, and sales.
Regarding the company’s fundraising success, Haddock said, “This is not a niche industry. It’s not going away.”
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