Sextech is a USD 30 billion industry which is growing 30% per year. Find out how one of the industry’s most innovative players, Vibease, is pushing the frontier with the world’s first smart vibrator.
When the movie Her was released in 2013, people were baffled by the idea of humans falling in love with an artificially intelligent chatbot. Little did they know that, since 2012, software engineer Dema Tio and game developer Steven Kik had already been working on turning this seemingly outlandish imagination into reality with their startup, Vibease. “The idea came about when Dema, who was based in Boston for work, found himself in a long distance relationship with his wife in Singapore. He wanted to look for a solution to overcome the long distance relationship challenge. He realized then that a lot of vibrators out there only focused on the strength, but not the whole sensual experience which comes with using the vibrator. That was when he was inspired to develop an app that can connect with a vibrator to create a more holistic sexual experience for women,” says Vibease’s sales and marketing manager, Lee Yan Ting.
Vibease’s first market offering was the world’s first wearable smart vibrator. By pairing the Vibease app with it, users can pleasure themselves with the app’s audiobooks synced with vibrations which vary according to the storyline. If people want to include their partner in the process, the app can be installed with a text, voice and video chat function, as well as an interactive touch pad for partners to change the vibration intensity with a few easy swipes. “Traditional vibrators only focus on the strength of vibration, but at Vibease we are focusing on creating love in the brain through tackling the three most important senses with our app: sight, touch and sound. The A.I. function and audiobooks help people imagine and fulfil the criteria of sight and sound, whereas synchronised vibrations assist in the sense of touch. The personalisation of the experience, and the app that deals with the three senses, actually help in elevating pleasure seeking to a whole new level.”
In October 2018, Vibease launched a Kickstarter campaign to seek funding for their next product, Smart Lipstick, a new model that took their concept one step further. In less than two months, it attracted 210 backers from across the United States and Asia to pledge USD 29,500 and bring the product to life. Its main draw is that it can be connected to the same Vibease app, but installed with a function for users to develop a virtual partner that responds to their requests with sleek voice responses and vibrations that correspond with those exchanges. “When we first launched Vibease, the products were more tailored for couples in long distance relationships. When we launched the lipstick, it was clear that our target audience had evolved. We had in mind busy women who are finding it more difficult to find partners. The product fills in the gap of loneliness and provides another way for them to seek pleasure in a more sensual way.”
According to Yan Ting, the demand for vibrators has increased drastically over the past ten years thanks to online shopping. “The thing about sex toys is very interesting. If you buy a mobile phone, you will only buy one at a time. You buy a new one when you trade in. If you are talking about sex toys, people don’t mind buying multiples to see which one they like best.” So far, Vibease sells most of their products through their own online store and on Amazon. In the future, they are planning to expand their outlets by selling through sex shops in Singapore. The startup is also considering spreading the product to hospitals and clinics, working with counsellors and sex therapists.
In the long run, Vibease envisions a future in which its app can be connected to any sex toy, broadening its offering on a truly global and much larger scale. “Under this model, producers can concentrate on designing the toy, while we share with them the know-how of the technology, especially the A.I. function,” says Yan Ting. And with that, the sextech industry could be brought to a whole new climax.