Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?
Juicebox is a sexual wellness company with the vision of empowering the world to share their intimate desires. We do this with a bot called Slutbot. People sext with the bot; it simulates texting your virtual lover. Slutbot provides a safe space for practicing, and Slutbot is an advanced role model for sexual communication. Just like a fitness app gives you the body you want, we give you the language and confidence you need for your intimate life.
Who are your cofounders and what makes you a great team?
Lindsey Alami. She is a product designer with expertise in conversational design and NLP. We really balance each other out–I’m the domain expert, and she’s the product expert. I’m queer, non-monogamous, and she’s straight, monogamous. She can help productize subjects for a mainstream audience.
How is your company making a difference?
The ultimate goal for our users is that after using us they can then communicate their desires in REAL life. The major problem with sex and intimacy today is that people are primarily learning from mainstream porn–this hurts more than it helps. We’re providing a healthier alternative of erotic media with more of a wellness and feminist lens. Yes, it’s erotic, fun, and sexy first, but we also think about how to help people gain confidence and learn along the way. It’s a tool that allows people to get in the mood, practice, and explore all in one place.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
Raising money is hard enough as a female founder, but it’s even harder being in the sexual wellness space and being a queer founder. Investors are people, so they also have shame and can be sex-negative. Many funds have LPs who are older and conservative and aren’t comfortable investing in the space. They don’t understand that for Gen Z, sexual wellness is obvious–it’s not something to still be ashamed of. Our pool of investors is dramatically smaller than what other founders can access. We also deal with systemic issues that are inherently sexist and sex-negative…i.e. not being able to be approved for SMS short codes or not being able to run specific ads on Facebook. We have all the challenges of a normal startup but added hurdles given our space. .
What is your biggest win?
We acquired 12,000 users in our first two days post-launch with no marketing budget. Maintaining 10-15% organic growth MoM for 7 months running with no marketing budget. I would say another big win is closing large investors.
Who is your role model?
I struggle with this question. I wish there were more examples of female founders who are loudly queer and present queer–not hyper femme. Of course, I have role models in other spaces, like celebrities, politicians, public figures. I would say Robyn Exton has been a helpful mentor and role model local to the Bay Area. She’s a queer CEO of the HER dating app and has raised institutional money, doesn’t shy away from who she is.
What do you wish you had known before starting your company?
More realistic expectations around how grueling and demoralizing fundraising is. I had no idea “liberal” or “open-minded” investors in places like San Francisco, NYC, LA, Seattle are still so backwards when it comes to sexual wellness.
What is your CEO superpower?
Grit and resilience–I stay focused on the goals despite how low it can get.
Anything else you want people to know?
People can sext with Slutbot for free by simply texting hello to 415-212-6448
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