A startup is looking to help people fight sexual dysfunction with an app
Often considered a taboo subject, sexual dysfunction is a common condition in the United States. Cleveland Clinic says that 43% of women and 31% of men report some degree of sexual dysfunction.
Fueled by a $2 million funding round, a new Californian startup named Lover seeks to digitally help individuals improve their sexual health.
“One in four adults in the United States has sexual dysfunction and almost twice as many have sexual complaints in a relationship… [I]irregular sex is cited as one of the three most common reasons for divorce… [T]these are very common issues that people encounter and obviously very painful and embarrassing,” said co-founder Jas Bagniewski. MobiHealthNews. “But on the other hand, there are only 1,000 licensed sex therapists in all of America. It’s quite expensive to see a sex therapist.”
The company seeks to address this problem by creating a series of pre-recorded modules that address specific sexual health issues. Given an assessment tool, users are able to answer questions on how they would like to improve their sex life. The platform then provides customers with a personalized plan and advice. Users can then tap into the assigned audio and video training modules provided.
“Our goal when we started was really the kind of bridge that splits supply and demand a bit and creates an experience that’s less taboo, less awkward, as effective as sex therapy, and obviously a lot less expensive, and much more. Because most of our content is pre-recorded, we can serve many more people than 1,000 therapists in the United States,” Bagniewski said.
Since its launch, the company has expanded its services to include a telehealth option, which allows customers to book a 30-minute consultation with a sex therapist. It also has a community forum tool where popular questions are answered by a therapist.
“We’ve always had like kind of a vision, what we call a staged care model, which is really where you start with less human intervention, and you progress as you progress through development. of the company, and more and more the capacity to have more points of contact with the person.”
The company plans to use the $2 million, provided by Lerer Hippeau, Manta Ray, Global Founders Capital, FJ Labs and others, to continue to develop its offers, as well as the launch on Android. In the future, Bagniewski said, the company might even build its own clinic or virtual group therapy.
“We are looking at further developing a B2B offering where we would work with other payers or with individual medical practices, such as [a] urologist for example, as benchmarks for the product,” Bagniewski said.
Recently, the company was accepted into the FDA’s Safer Technologies Program (STeP).
“It basically means that the FDA has recognized that your product is effective,” he said. “But more than that, they also face traditional standards of care because cognitive therapy has no side effects, unlike, say, Viagra or other drugs on the market for these various conditions.”
However, going forward, the company is aiming for a 510(k) clearance.
“We’re going to consider going all the way to full clinical trials and everything else, because right now our designation is based on our own data… We’ve just given them what we have, but it’s still not not the same as replicating that in a clinical setting, so that would be the next step,” Bagniewski said.
But the company said it could begin to break into the market with its current designation.
Lover isn’t the only company working in the area of digital sexual health and wellness. Lioness, which was founded in 2013, was designed to help women better understand what’s going on in their bodies when they have an orgasm. Moreover the Healthy Pleasure Group is an organization focused on the sexual health and technology industry.
Two of the largest direct-to-consumer virtual health companies, Hims & Hers and Ro, started in the field of men’s sexual health and wellness.