When Singapore-based Vibease first burst into the startup scene, they unsurprisingly met with plenty of incredulity and shock (and quite a bit of mirth). How could a country as prudish and starved of sex as Singapore spawn a startup that’s pretty much involved with developing a sex aid?
Even the judges at last year’s Startup In Asia weren’t quite sure what to make of the teledildonics startup that designed remote-controlled dildos. Founder Dema Tio admits that it has been challenging when pitching his product, even if it brings a smile to the faces of potential investors. “At a personal level, they’re very excited as this is an unusually bold tech product. But for those from older generations, they dismissed the idea right away,” Tio recalls.
But the product, which uses a smartphone to control a separate dildo device, does make quite a bit of business sense and fulfills a (very deep personal) need. Vibease is targeting couples who are either in a long-distance relationship, or for some reason are situated in different locations to help them remain intimate when… urges hit. “I used to be in a long distance relationship, even though you have Skype,” explains Tio. “(Lack of) physical intimacy was the hardest part.”
With the difficulty in trying to raise funds from skeptical investors, Vibease has turned to crowdfunding, launching their product on Indiegogo. Tio says the biggest challenge has been trying to get hardware product development right, as every change means a lot of money burned.
Although remotely controlled sex aids aren’t exactly a new idea, Tio says what makes Vibease different is that it’s really a – um – hands-free device. “The vibrator is wearable. It means woman can just slip it inside the undergarment and don’t have to hold it. (And) women can listen to sensual audio fantasy and the vibrator will vibrate in sync with the story. It’s an immersive experience and totally hands-free.”
We’ll take his word for it.