F.Y.I.

Disruptor’s Handbook and FutureOfSex.org join forces in sex tech venture

Sextech authority FutureOfSex.org and innovation consultancy Disruptor’s Handbook have joined forces to deliver a series of hackathons around the theme of sex tech.

Future of Sex founder Bryony Cole

The announcement

FUTUREOFSEX.ORG AND DISRUPTOR’S HANDBOOK JOIN FORCES TO LAUNCH THE WORLD’S FIRST SEXTECH ACCELERATOR

The world’s leading authority on sextech, FutureOfSex.org, is announcing a new partnership with innovation consultancy firm, Disruptor’s Handbook, to help drive new sextech business creation. CEO of FutureOfSex.org, Bryony Cole, said she was excited by the partnership as it will help to grow the sextech industry globally. The partnership will enable teams who compete in the Future of Sex global hackathon series to access a custom-designed marketing accelerator program, where they will learn how to convert their ideas into fully-fledged businesses and attract customers and investment.

Over the past six months FutureOfSex.org has run ‘hackathons’ exploring the intersection of sexuality and technology. In Sydney, Australia and in Singapore, these events saw members of the public team up in small groups over a weekend to build solutions that addressed a series of challenges. These built solutions included products that enhanced access to culturally specific sex education and health services, while reflecting the realities of youth in modern times. The hackathon events gave teams a chance to take their ideas through a growth hacking and marketing process, in an industry that faces several barriers to traditional models of advertising, removing shame and taboo in everyday conversations about sexual wellbeing.

“We spend a lot of time at home on our phones and it’s no wonder that it’s beginning to impact our sex life. We want to be able to take away the stigmas involved in any discussion about sex, and instead, start talking about these very real issues in an open and welcome space,” explains Cole.

What is a hackathon?

In many ways, hackathons are the perfect vehicle for bringing together the head, heart and hands of our communities – combining what we know, what we are passionate about, and our skills and capabilities to create a sex-positive future for us all,” Gavin Heaton of Disruptor’s Handbook said.

With the sextech industry sometimes drawing criticism for being mostly dominated by men, the FutureOfSex.org global hackathons aim to break down existing stigmas and encourage more diversity.

Each hackathon culminates in a pitch competition where teams present their solutions to a panel of judges. While the events can produce many great solutions, sometimes the ideas never go further than the hackathon. But rather than a weakness, Bryony Cole, thinks that’s an opportunity.

“We’ve seen over 20 new teams with solid ideas ready to grow, and we’ve identified a gap for post event support for the teams,” explains Bryony Cole. “The teams that compete at our hackathons are always keen to take their solutions to the next level, but sometimes they just don’t know where to start. What they need is program that can help convert their ideas into viable businesses. Our sextech marketing accelerator will do this.”

Co-CEO of Disruptor’s Handbook, Gavin Heaton, explained that the pre-accelerator program is conducted via a combination of online training materials, meetings and activities. “It’s a ten week program that is designed to establish the business, marketing and product principles of the company. That will position those startups for future development and investment,” he said. “We’ve also ensured that the pre-accelerator program is accessible for all team members at any time of day or night, as there will always be some team members who have a day job or have other commitments,” he added.

The announcement of the world’s first sextech accelerator is perfect timing explains Bryony Cole. “We have an ambitious agenda over the next 12 months, hosting sextech innovation events, hackathons and media activations across the globe. New York in August is our next stop – and we’re excited to see partners coming to us with their own challenges, ideas and concepts”.

FutureOfSex.org are currently taking inquiries for partners, sponsors, volunteers and mentors interested in participating in the NYC Future of Sex sextech hackathon.

BRYONY COLE
Bryony Cole is the world’s leading authority on sextech. Since launching the top-rated podcast, Future of Sex, Bryony has been on stages across the world, defining the direction of sextech for governments, technology and entertainment companies. Her wide body of research and annual Future of Sex report are considered the lead in industry insights.

Bryony has been awarded places in the Google-Walkely Media Incubator for Innovation in Journalism and Australian Advance Queensland HotDesQ accelerator. From the PEN World Voices Festival in the US to the UK’s elite Founders Forum, she continues to attract international attention for her work on empowering women through media creation and organizing global hackathons.

Bryony is an international speaker, published writer and producer, who has been featured on shows like Viceland and Technopia, and articles in Wired, TechCrunch, The New York Times, Playboy, Mashable, Motherboard, ABC, Financial Review, Brides, Glamour and many other global media.

Recent stage engagements include TEDx (Romania), Open Innovation Forum (Russia) and Tech Open Air (Germany) and Login Festival (Lithuania).

She is currently producing the second sextech in New York City hackathon after a successful series of hackathons across the globe, including Asia’s first sextech hackathon in Singapore (May 2018), Australia’s first sextech hackathon (March 2018), North American sextech hackathon (June 2017) and the world’s first Sextech Ethics Summit in Denmark (September 2017) .

Mashable praised the hackathons saying that they are critical in these tenuous times of inequality: “Encouraging women-led innovation in sex tech is critical at a time when it’s such a challenge for female entrepreneurs to secure funding in a still-stigmatized industry. These women work to create better opportunities for themselves and their peers, the aim is also to encourage women-led tech in the industry’s overlooked areas: education, pleasure and, improved communication.”

In a past life, Bryony designed Absolut Labs, a think tank on nightlife for Absolut and worked with companies like Microsoft to help them humanize technology.

From a Disruptor’s Handbook media release

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