Company Name: MysteryVibeCo-founder Stephanie Alys CPO (Chief Pleasure Officer) shares how she has navigated the tech industry as a female entrepreneur, tackling stigmas and taboos.
What does MysteryVibe seek to achieve?
Born out of a desire to drive innovation around sex and technology, a group of us back in 2014 decided we wanted to create something that adapted to the person using it: their moods, desires and body. It was clear that there were taboos surrounding the topic that stifled technological advancement, despite the fact that technology is moving at such a rapid pace. MysteryVibe strives to tackle those taboos and promote more open conversations.
How does your product, Crescendo, achieve those aims?
World famous industrial designers SeymourPowell were so thrilled by the concept of a user-centric product that they helped us create Crescendo – the world’s first body adaptable vibrator. It can bend to take any shape and its 6 motors vibrate independently – essentially it’s infinite toys in one! If that wasn’t enough, by linking the Crescendo to the MysteryApp the person can tailor unique vibrations to suit their needs. By creating something personalisable we wanted to reflect the huge need for difference.
It was also important for us to create a sex-positive brand that challenges misconceptions. Getting your message out in a clear authoritative way can be difficult when you work in an industry that has deeply rooted taboos attached to it. That’s why we always ensure our content is informative, fun and thought-provoking across all channels.
What kind of struggles have you experienced working in the tech industry?
As there is such a lack of diversity in the tech scene, with less than 10% of female engineers in the UK, I think we all have a responsibility to support each other and encourage other women to follow their passion. As a female entrepreneur, I know first hand when in a room full of investors, the focus tends to be on the men in the room. This is despite a recent study from First Round Capital that found female founders outperformed their male peers by 63% compared to all male founded teams. As a women-founded startup, MysteryVibe aims to address this unconscious bias and overcome stigma in the tech industry.
What advice can you offer to others in that tackling stigma?
Being a co-founder of a business is extremely freeing, allowing me to take direct action in solving issues. Even though accessing finance and getting the right people involved was really challenging, we were able to get our brand out there and our content noticed. We favoured collaboration over competition, creating our own ecosystem via our internal network. With this, we were able to find 50 sex-positive Angels, who helped us raised $3.5m. That helped us build our company from a sketch to shipping 20,000 products in just over 3 years.
Having more startups founded and led by women makes so much economic sense! My advice to other female entrepreneurs is to be bolder, braver and don’t always try to be likeable. There are times in business when you will have to make difficult decisions, having courage in your convictions will only further you and your career.