So Andrea, tell us a bit about yourself.
“I am the CEO and co-founder of Emjoy, the Barcelona-founded audio-based intimate wellbeing startup. We launched Emjoy worldwide in January 2020 and today have over 170,000 users.”
“Emjoy was borne out of my own experiences of normalising not climaxing, as well as those of my girlfriends. Through Emjoy, my team and I are working to ensure that current and future generations of women know that pleasure is a right, and that sexual wellbeing is every bit as important as mental and physical wellbeing.”
“Prior to founding Emjoy, I worked as an investor with Venture Capital firms including Dawn Capital, early investors in iZettle, and Nauta Capital.”
Can you tell us a little bit more about Emjoy?
“Emjoy is an audio-based sexual wellbeing app for women. We have theory and guided practices designed by leading sex therapists for our users to achieve a variety of sexual wellbeing goals like discovering their bodies or increasing their libido. We also have immersive erotic stories for women to get in the mood.”
“I strongly believe that knowledge is key to increasing a person’s confidence. By empowering our users to learn about their bodies, we are giving them the tools to learn, and articulate, their wants and their needs.”
As a brand what is Emjoy passionate about?
“We, as a company, are passionate about closing the orgasm gap and reducing pleasure inequality. The gendered orgasm gap is a sizable problem, considering a multitude of studies have found that sexual satisfaction directly correlates with positive physical and mental wellbeing.”
“I founded Emjoy in part based on my own experiences, and the experiences of many girlfriends of mine. All of us had normalized not climaxing when having sexual encounters.”
“When I began researching this I came across the pleasure gap, with some studies showing that 40% of women have some type of sexual dysfunction (which can include anything from difficulty achieving orgasm, to low libido or discomfort during sex). I also learnt that 95% of heterosexual men usually or always orgasm during sex, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women.”Andrea relays data from the International Academy of Sex Research
“I felt strongly that a tech-based solution should be available and, given the focus on mental and physical health apps, I was surprised that I could not find one focusing on sexual wellbeing.”
What else is important to you as a company?
“When you run a business, even if it is a mission-driven business like ours, it is very easy to lose track of the impact that you are having on other people’s lives, because in your day-to-day you only look at data, problems, or strategies, and you can sometimes lose sight of what truly matters.”
“I recall that, shortly after Emjoy first launched, we interviewed one of our earliest users. She told us that she’d had sex with her partner for the first time in a year and that she had had her first orgasm in several years thanks to Emjoy.”
“The reality is that we are helping hundreds of thousands of women to live healthier and happier lives, and every single user story is a reminder of this fact and is something to be proud of.”
“To reach this point, it was essential that the business we chose to found was one that would focus on solving a real issue. We knew that sexual dysfunction was something that affected millions of women worldwide. We also knew that we needed to create a tool that would offer a practical solution. User feedback early on in the development process was key to creating a product that would continually meet the needs of its users, and that could evolve and adapt as the company grew.”
What are your ambitions for Emjoy?
“I hope that Emjoy will become the leading company in the female sexual wellbeing space. I see our category-defining product becoming completely mainstream and being used by millions of women worldwide.”
“We plan to further develop the app’s features and content, and facilitate additional collaborations with leading academics, experts, and influencers within the sexual wellbeing and education space to ensure that all of Emjoy’s content is not only science-based but also inclusive, reflecting the fact that no two users’ journies will look the same.”
“As a company, we are already working to ensure that sexual wellbeing is viewed as a vital cornerstone of wider health and wellness and this will require continued education on our part to help broaden the way that the space is viewed.
The impact we most want to achieve is to establish Emjoy as an everyday wellness tool in the same way that society now views mental health, fitness and meditation apps – once also considered as emerging categories.”
What is an important lesson you have learnt?
“One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to manage the ups and downs of having your own company. When you quit your 9-5 to start your own business, you imagine that turning an idea of yours into reality and doing something you are really passionate about, will be enough to feel motivated every day. This wasn’t always the case for me.”
“I believe motivation is such a taboo topic around founders and that we need to normalise that founders feel demotivated from time to time.”
“We are human beings with a personal life that can affect our professional life, we can be too hard on ourselves sometimes when things don’t go as planned, we can blame ourselves for not working hard enough, and we can feel discouraged when we compare ourselves to “more successful” entrepreneurs.”
“I have learned to stay humble during the ups of entrepreneurship and to navigate the downs by being kinder to myself.”
What would you tell people who say FemTech raises issues that are private matters or worries only feminists have?
“For me, a feminist is someone who wants women to be equal to men. I believe a big percentage of the Western World population could be called a feminist. Therefore, if femtech is a worry that only feminists have, it means that the big majority of the population worries about femtech. Which is great news!”
“While fundraising, some funds told us that the market we were in (sexual wellbeing for women) was niche. I was always pretty shocked to hear this.”
“Over 40% of women experience some sort of ‘sexual dysfunction’ (which can include anything from difficulty achieving orgasm, to pain or discomfort during sex). How can somebody call a market like ours a niche? The problem lies in sexual wellbeing still being a taboo for many people and thus, difficulty having open and frank discussions around this.”
“Emjoy sits at the intersection of wellbeing and sextech, linking mental wellness with sexual wellbeing. Taking care of one aspect of our health simply isn’t enough: Emjoy joins these dots and breaks down stigmas surrounding topics that are still considered private or taboo.”
“During fundraising, we’ve educated stakeholders within the startup ecosystem about the importance of this category, and they can see its potential. When the people I talk to – from consumers to investors – have understood that sexual wellbeing is part of everybody’s mental and physical health the response has always been very positive and supportive.”
What are you predictions for FemTech in 2021?
“I believe that the FemTech category will continue to grow – both in terms of new companies joining the space and new and existing companies raising more funding. Women around the world are making their voices heard: we are demanding tools and products that meet our specific needs, and we want to support the work of other women.
I also believe that the wellbeing sector will grow and, within this space, sexual wellness will continue to flourish. The global pandemic has brought to light the importance of self-care in all its forms. We are taking care of our mental and physical health, and sexual wellbeing is a big part of this.
I also expect to see FemTech expand to encompass new kinds of technology, in light of the pandemic. We know that working from home has been tough for many women with children, because they had to juggle work, childcare, and, in many cases, homeschooling. With this in mind, I believe that companies that are developing tools to allow women to reconcile work with childcare will grow substantially in 2021, as will companies that are focused on the physical and mental health implications of these circumstances.”
Read more interviews with FemTech Founders in our exclusive FemTech.Live series which gets exclusive in-depth insights with key players in the FemTech space.