The convenience of the Keurig disrupted the coffee industry with its pods. Now the Pulse lube warming and dispensing device is looking to do the same for the burgeoning sex tech industry.
While sex tech might not be as advertiser-friendly as coffee, it’s a huge industry, and the tech world is helping take sex mainstream. The pornography industry is estimated to be worth $97 billion and growing globally, and with internet-enabled sex toys, VR sex, hookup apps and female-friendly movements like “Make Love Not Porn” out there, sex is fast becoming socially acceptable.
That’s why startups with sex on the brain are making rapid inroads on the disruptive front. Toaster Labs out of Seattle is one startup that’s helping the disruption. It’s Pulse personal lubrication warmer has garnered plenty of attention since launching in October. It uses individual Pulse Pods, kind of like Keurig coffee pods, and warms the either silicone-based or water-based lube so you can wave your hand under the Pulse motion sensor dispenser and get warm-to-the-touch lube on demand. The company talks about its lube with these user-friendly words:
“We offer a choice of two FDA cleared, safe, deliciously slick formulations created exclusively for Pulse. In fact, we don't want you putting anything near your body that's not the cat's meow, so our top-of-the-line ingredients – developed under the careful guidance of a physician – create the healthiest experience ever. Each discreet, recyclable pod – our patented delivery system – gives you nine sensual ‘servings’ that promise a silky, plush experience. Pulse does your body's own lubricant one better.”
The Toaster Labs company boasts a team with an impressive pedigree. With Pulse, advisors range from a former NASA scientist trained at MIT who helped design medical devices, another NASA scientist who helped develop the Sonicare toothbrush, a naturopath who works alongside chemists, and a Ph.D. professor of sociology. The impressive team is led by Amy Buckalter, who held leadership positions at Nike and K2 Sports before starting the Pulse movement.
Buckalter got the idea for Pulse as she approached menopause and wasn’t pleased with the experiences of market lubricants, according to a story on GeekWire.
“I thought, ‘oh my goodness, is there nothing that’s been modernized in this category since the beginning of time?’ Lubricant came into use a hundred years ago and it’s still the same old, messy, cold, inconvenient buzzkill,” she said in the story.
With Millennials being more sexually emancipated than previous generations, the time is right for sex to come out of the proverbial closet and reach regular people. Pulse is an indication of that trend, having raised $7 million from private investors before its first shipment in spring of 2017. The cost is $249 for the dispenser and four Pulse Pods. The company also plans to introduce a massage oil next year.