Most of the time when you start a business, it’s a super tricky and time-consuming endeavour. You’ve worked so hard to come up with your unique and innovative idea, transform it into a deliverable product or service, and now you have to iron out things like hiring staff, renting premises, setting up email addresses, and opening a bank account. All these tasks can quickly pile up to be a substantial headache.
But what if you couldn’t take it for granted that you can get all these tasks done? This is the dilemma faced by almost everyone getting into the sex tech industry. This blog will particularly focus on the payment side of things – now that you’ve got your amazing sex tech business, how can you get it up and running without a way to send or receive money?
Ordinarily, one would expect to open up a PayPal account, or enable Visa/MasterCard payments on the website. But PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard have histories of denying or closing accounts of individuals and businesses in the sex technology industry, and freezing accounts or seizing funds. This industry is deemed to be high risk – in spite of there being a strong and proven societal need. For most businesses, setting up a payment provider is an annoying but relatively smooth process: sex technology companies do not have that luxury.
Vice reported tales of people working in the sex technology industry having to use their personal email accounts to accept PayPal payments for their products or services. There are two main ways to look at this problem: firstly, that payment giants ought to be more open minded when it comes to facilitating sex technology endeavours. Or – more radically – this problem could be seen as an area of innovation. Whoever opens the first payment provider dedicated to sex technology companies – with excellent customer service and technical capacities – could be the next unicorn.
The entrepreneur and powerful public speaker Cindy Gallop is deeply passionate about ending discrimination and stigma in the sex technology industry. So much so, that she has started her own fund to get sex technology funded: she founded All The Sky to raise $10 million to fund radically innovative sex tech ventures founded by women. Through this fund, she is determined for her sex-positive porn platform Make Love Not Porn to flourish and demonstrate to the world the power and beauty of real world, healthy sex. But for this to happen, Gallop – like any other sex technology entrepreneur – needs to be able to make money through all these hurdles.
So do you think you have the answer to this complicated puzzle? If you do, you could make a LOT of money.