How all start-ups can benefit from peer collaboration

Every entrepreneur experiences similar struggles, whether that’s raising funds for growth, finding the best talent to build your team, or generating sales. It’s a difficult journey.

Now imagine doing that when your business is considered too risqué to invest in, when talent is concerned about working in the industry, and your advertising is limited to specific avenues due to the nature of its content.

Sextech entrepreneurs face hurdles that other start-ups do not. Access to finance is limited, finding passionate people is tough and our marketing efforts are dependent on specific content restrictions.

Starting a pleasuretech business is not for the faint hearted. Sex is still a taboo subject, it has a history of shame and embarrassment attached to it, and has been misrepresented in the past. So, it makes sense that starting a business in the sector inevitably turns a few heads.

We’re challenging societal constructs, empowering people through intimacy and building a viable business at the same time. It’s hard work, but it’s also what brings pleasuretech entrepreneurs closer together as a collective.

Our industry is unique because through our shared experiences, we’ve built an incredible network of founders that all support each other avidly. For us, whatever benefits the industry will broadly benefit everyone, and the more people talk about sex, the stronger our industry becomes - so there’s a lot of camaraderie and little room for brusque competitiveness.

What’s more, being a female founder in a sextech company creates additional challenges, but we get to spend our time creating beautiful products that, as a woman, I’d be excited to own and use. I think that’s really important - building a brand that you’re proud of.

Sextech founders all have one thing in common; we want to empower relationships and conversations through pleasure and celebrate sexuality and intimacy as beautifully natural experiences we can all relate to, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.

To enhance collaborations and support the industry, we’ve created the Sextech Collective. It’s a space for pleasuretech founders to share ideas and offer advice. We’ve been able to help out friends with their manufacturing woes, offered advice from our experience with global distribution and put people in touch with influential contacts in the market.

Encouraging these relationships is really important for MysteryVibe, so we regularly organise dinners designed to bring like-minded people together, discover industry trends and hopefully learn something new.

It’s fair to say collaboration has benefited us hugely, and it could do the same for any start-up in any industry. Here are a few of my favourite collaborative learnings;

You’re constantly learning

Entrepreneurs have a thirst for knowledge, we’re constantly refining our business and we’re open to learning new ways to make it profitable.

Every new person you meet will teach you something. Collaborating and sharing expertise is mutually beneficial because there will always be areas of weakness someone else can step in and help you with.

You create awareness

If you’re not talking about your business, who is? Creating awareness of your brand and engaging in conversation with other founders in your industry can help extend your customer reach. Remember, most brands will have their own customer base and social media following that you could potentially tap into. I know you hear it all the time, but networking really is key. I can think of countless opportunities that came to MysteryVibe through meeting new, interesting contacts.

You build respect

It’s an entrepreneur’s responsibility to ensure their collective industry is well represented and positively regarded by its customers. We have a very intimate relationship with our customers, so our industry requires a higher level of respect and privacy than most.

Collaborating with your peers will ensure that you’re all working towards similar goals, just like we’re all working towards empowering people through sex.

The better your industry looks as a whole, the better each individual business will look.

You find incredible partnerships

Every time we organise a sextech dinner, I’m amazed by the appetite for collaboration. We swap stories, we swap numbers, and we do awesome things together.

It’s all about sharing the success, and collaborating with other brands in the market is a great way to do this. For example, we worked with several brands this Valentines to create the perfect Valentine's gift box - a mixture of products created by women. Products that could make the Crescendo experience even better.

It worked, we had great feedback and inspired dialogue that encouraged more people to explore the concept of pleasure.

I feel very lucky to be part of a collective like ours. There is a lack of diversity in the tech scene, which is something women in the space are very much aware of. I love being a founder, and I think we have a responsibility to support each other and encourage people of all genders to follow their passion, especially if that means bringing something new to sextech!

I’m incredibly proud that we have an amazing tight-knit group of badass founders in the sextech scene who are inspiring change across dating, intimacy, love and sex. 

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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