The Scoop: A conversation with the Chief Pleasure Office (amazing, right?!) of a company that's redefining pleasure.
We had the great pleasure (😏) of catching up with Stephanie Alys, Co-Founder and Chief Pleasure Officer at MysteryVibe. Now if that isn’t the coolest title ever, well… we don’t know what is. The Crescendo, MysteryVibe's flagship product, is described by the company as "the world's first adaptable vibrator." We asked Stephanie to unravel the mysteries behind starting and running a company, working toward the future, and just generally being a bad a$$ babe. We are certainly in awe.
Stephanie, tell us a little bit about the backstory of MysteryVibe. How did you get started?
We actually came up with the idea for MysteryVibe a long time ago. It all started with the idea that pleasure is so intimately personal, human and fundamental to our happiness. Yet when it comes to technological innovation and advancement, it has often been overlooked. In 2014, we got together a group of friends, and decided we wanted to create something that adapted to the person, their moods, desires and sensations. We approached our industrial designer, SeymourPowell, with the idea, and they loved it. Working together, we created MysteryVibe and designed our first product, Crescendo.
You were recently named one of Startups’ most inspiring women founders. First of all, congratulations! What drives you, and to what would you attribute your success?
Thank you! It was such a honor to be considered alongside some absolutely incredible founders. I’ve always been really passionate about health & wellness - and sex plays a huge part in our happiness. Often, sexual health is conceptualized as the absence of problems, but I’ve always thought we need to redefine it to account for pleasure. So I’m driven by the real need for more open, honest conversations around sex & pleasure in our society. I firmly believe that an enlightened and liberal society is a safer and happier one.
What has your fundraising experience been like? What challenges (if any) did you face as a hardware company in the sexual health space?
Fundraising is a tricky thing to negotiate, for any founder in any industry. In sextech, this becomes a little more difficult as there are many sources of funding that just aren't available to you. We're incredibly lucky in that we have a diverse group of knowledgeable and passionate Angel investors who support and guide us. I think it's important to find investors that really understand and engage with your vision. They should be your evangelists.
What has been your most rewarding and/or surprising experience creating MysteryVibe?
Without a doubt - has to be some of the emails we've received from customers. They tell you some of the most wonderful, surprising and heartwarming stories. It's hard not to feel warmth in your heart when someone tells you that you've saved their marriage, or helped them connect better with themselves or their partner.
What does the future of sextech look like? What is missing now that presents an opportunity for innovation?
The future of sextech is very bright, and we’re only just beginning to get to grips with the possibilities. The fact that it’s a young industry means there is so much space for innovation and technological advancement. ’Sextech’ as an umbrella term can refer to apps, content, hardware - and nascent tech like VR & sex robotics. For me, when it comes to the bedroom, the most important role technology will play is in helping us discover. It could help us learn more about our bodies, our desires or our partner. New sextech could also mean that we start to question and challenge certain societal constructs. For example - if you had sex with someone over virtual reality, does that count as cheating? Can a robot consent? There are some big questions that sextech will prompt - and this is very exciting for me.
What three things should every young entrepreneur know/do?
- Network. There are so many people out there that you can help, and who can help you. The more we collaborate, the better.
- Keep a financial cushion. Things frequently take longer and cost more than you expect. Be prepared.
- Many people will have an opinion on what you're doing. Listen and consider their views, but in the end you need to make your own mind up what's best for your vision.
What is your vision for MysteryVibe?
Our vision is to create the complete pleasure experience - something immersive that touches all the senses. That would be so incredibly powerful. But it takes time. Right now, it's all about empowering conversations, individuals and relationships through pleasure. And it feels good.
tabú connects young adults with trustworthy and engaging answers to their sex ed questions by connecting them to certified health experts and peer to peer support.