Polly Rodriguez bought her first vibrator at a Hustler Hollywood store off a St. Louis highway. You know the kind of place: pictures of women with fake breasts and peroxide hair, racks of corsets and "schoolgirl" skirtsmaking the whole experience feel unseemly and more aligned with a porn-imbued male view of female sexuality than how she saw herself.
So while still in her 20s, Rodriguez launched a different kind of sex toy company. Named Unbound and aimed at millennials, the brand radiates less "adult company" than it does approachable and feminist sexual wellness. On sale are its own line of vibrators with Smart Memory tech, subscriptions to sex toy deliveries and even a "Nevertheless, She Persisted" gift set complete with blindfold and Elizabeth Warren tote.
Unbound's formula has received mainstream venture capital buy-in, raising $2.7 million last year from such well-established tech-centric firms as Peter Thiel's Founders Fund. That size of investment was previously unheard of among the Women of Sex Tech, a coalition of more than 60 feminist-led startups, mostly based in New York City, with the goal of pulling their products into the mainstream realm of Lululemon or Glossier.