Sex Industry Entrepreneurs Look Beyond Traditional Startup Funding

“There’s an explosion of female-centric things right now,” porn star and tech-savvy entrepreneur Kayden Kross told International Business Times, saying the phenomena helps people like feminist pornographer Erika Lust flourish in a male-dominated industry.

Lust is no longer an outlier, she’s the harbinger of a wider shift fueled by high-tech gadgets, web broadcasting and online fundraising. The sex industry is in the middle of a global revolution, which could overturn the whole system’s power dynamics.

There are a growing number of sex tech innovations by women entrepreneurs, from female-centric sex toys to social platforms, plus a crop of new apps like Rendevu and regulated broadcast sites like Chaturbate that make it easier for independent sex workers to safely manage their own work environments. There’s only one problem: sex industry entrepreneurs still can’t get funding.

Read: Cryptocurrency Increasingly Popular, Safer Payment Option For Sex Workers

According to TechCrunch, female tech founders received only 15 percent of all seed funding dollars in the first two quarters of 2017. Although there’s no data yet to prove the specific disparity among sex industry startups, MakeLoveNotPorn founder Cindy Gallop told IBT the situation is even worse for entrepreneurs working with adult products or content.

Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, plans to launch the world’s first sextech fund for startups and diverse entrepreneurs. Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty

“Every piece of business infrastructure, any other tech startup can just take for granted. We can’t because the small print always says: no adult content,” Gallop said.  Even tech industry staples like Mailchimp and Vimeo still shy away from adult content, no matter how educational it may be. According to Gallop, she receives at least one message a day from sex tech entrepreneurs around the world struggling to get funding and business services despite demand.

“It took me four years to find one bank here in America that would allow me to open a business bank account for MakeLoveNotPorn,” Gallop said. “Our single biggest operational challenge has been payment processing. PayPal won’t work with adult content, Stripe can’t.”

To be fair, Gallop said the founders of Stripe are personally supportive of her social video platform, meant to offer a healthier alternative to mainstream porn by promoting images of real relationships and sexual dynamics instead of…

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