- LA-based startup Cake has raised a combined total of $5.7 million and will be launching in select Walmart stores across the US from July 2021
- Sexual wellness brands have reported a huge 300-400% spike in sales during lockdown, according to the Global Wellness Institute
- Cake Co-Founder and CEO Hunter Morris said the brand’s strong retail performance was due to a generation of consumers that are “more open and sexually fluid than any other generation before”
LOS ANGELES, United States — Sexual wellness brand Cake has announced a raise of $4 million in seed funding ahead of its brick-and-mortar retail debut. From July, the LA-based startup will be launching in select Walmart stores across the US.
Cake’s line of specialty lubricants, toys and sexual hygiene products, the brand said, are designed for specific types of sexual enjoyment, at an affordable price point. Its products are inspired by real individuals and couples and tested across the spectrum of sexual preferences before launch.
The round, led by venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau, brings the brand’s total funding to $5.7 million. The company confirmed funds would be dedicated to product development, scaling e-commerce and amplifying the launch into national retail across the US.
More open and sexually fluid generation than ever before
Cake’s recent investment and partnership with Walmart demonstrates how previously-held taboos surrounding the category are continuing to fall.
Sexual wellness brands reported a huge 300-400% spike in sales during lockdown, according to the Global Wellness Institute, something its panel identified as “a massive and seismic cultural taboo toppling”.
Commenting on the raise, Caitlin Strandberg, Principal at Lerer Hippeau, said over the past nine months, Cake had proven consumers are ready to invest in their sexual wellness.
She said: “The [Cake] team set out to prove a hypothesis that consumers are ready to invest in more fun sex. In just nine months they’ve not only proved that’s true with their traction in retail, but now 84% of their customers directly attribute Cake to leading to a better sex life.”
Adding: “Those are hard numbers to disagree with.”
Cake Co-Founder and CEO Hunter Morris said the brand’s strong retail performance was due to a generation of consumers that are “more open and sexually fluid than any other generation before”.
“It’s a privilege to make products for how people actually get down, free of shame or awkwardness that’s historically been associated with this category,” he said.
Mitch Orkis, Cake Co-Founder and CMO added: “We’ve learned people are confused when it comes to sexual wellness products. That’s why every product Cake makes is extremely simple and clear. You immediately know what it is for, and how to use it. We make shopping the sex aisle easy and fun.”
Rise and rise of sexual wellness
The sexual wellness revolution has been coming.
In 2017 The Guardian reported sex tech to be a $30 billion industry, as the global sexual wellness market – including sex tech – was forecast to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% to $122.96 billion by 2026.
By 2020 sex tech companies were finally allowed to debut at the influential Consumer Electronics Show in 2020 in Las Vegas under the banner of “health and wellness”.
Another strong showing at the virtual CES 2021, amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, showed the sector was becoming increasingly mainstream.
Now, Morris believes the increasing exposure of sexual wellness products to a more open minded generation of consumers will rapidly grow the category further. “This is such an exciting time because the category is still so new in mass retail,” Morris told Welltodo.
“We know consumers, particularly Gen Z and millenials, are much more open about their sexual preferences and desires. They’re seeking out products that enhance their lives and help them have more fun in the bedroom,” he said.
Morris said Cake’s emphasis on “specificity of use and quality of ingredients” is resonating strongly with customers. “We’re projecting the category to grow dramatically as sex becomes less taboo and brands start meeting the needs of new buyers with spending power,” he added.
3 Sexual Wellness Brands On The Rise In 2021
From naturally hydrating lubricants to personal massagers, Maude is on a mission to make intimacy better for all people through quality, simplicity and inclusivity. The Brooklyn-based company has raised $4.3 million over four rounds, most recently in November last year. In 2020, 50 Shades Of Grey actress Dakota Johnson joined the team as an investor and Co-Creative Director. Forbes described Maude as “redefining the sex essentials industry for modern consumers”.
This interactive intimacy app and subscription box for couples, which aims to “make the honeymoon period last forever”, raised €296,420 from 395 investors on Seedrs at the start of the year. The Portugal-based company’s founder Ana Mikeala Silva said she launched Pleasy due to a belief no brands were approaching sexual wellness from a “prevention rather than cure perspective”. Silva said she aimed to launch into the UK, Germany and France within 12 months, as well as release an LGBTQ+ edition in 2021.
Sex tech startup Lora DiCarlo grabbed industry-wide attention at CES 2019 after the Consumer Technology Association banned the company’s first female-orientated sex toy, Osé. It forced the CTA to update its policy to make CES more welcoming and inclusive. Lora DiCarlo has since amassed more than $7.5 million in sales and $3 million in funding, including investment from actress and model Cara Delevingne. This April the Oregon-based company launched a crowdfunding campaign on investment platform Republic. At the time of writing, the campaign had raised $741K, with 16 days remaining.