Doc Johnson Introduces New Business Model to Sex Toy Industry via Partnership With Startup, Come Play
Industry leader aims to deploy Silicon Valley model to category and help a more diverse group of founders
(Dec 17, 2019) In a landmark deal that could usher in big changes in the sex toy industry, market leader Doc Johnson has partnered with startup Come Play in an arrangement that mirrors the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and incubation model.
Doc Johnson has formed a strategic manufacturing partnership with Come Play, allowing them to give material support in prototyping and manufacturing for an equity stake. Both companies hope that this will work well as a basis for an incubator to help American sex toy inventors get to market quickly, with confidence in the quality of their products.
“While we continue to focus on our core business, we also want to play a role best described as a mix of VC firm and incubator to promising sex toy startups. In the process, we want to partner with and fund founders who are underrepresented in the industry,” said Chad Braverman, CCO and COO of Doc Johnson.
“Despite the fact that we’re in a multibillion-dollar industry and sex toys have become widely used by people from all walks of life, operating in our category remains difficult, especially for startups. Banks and investors are reluctant to provide capital, getting insurance is difficult, and a range of other service providers simply won’t deal with sex toy companies because of outdated, archaic taboos,” underlined Braverman. “At the same time, startups are so needed in this space to bring forth innovation.”Chad Braverman, CCO and COO of Doc Johnson
Specifically, Doc Johnson will assist Come Play with prototype development and testing, manufacturing, logistics, general business advice, and distribution to 60 countries.
“It was such a relief to pitch our company to the team at Doc Johnson. I felt like I was immediately understood and taken seriously, which isn’t a typical experience when you are pitching Sex Tech. Doc Johnson understands this business better than anyone I’ve ever met and their confidence in our project has been a gift. We’ve been able to speed up our development timeline with their support, and we look forward to launching our inaugural product, Petl, at CES in January.” said Come Play founder and CEO Piri Miller.
“We’re thrilled to work with Piri Miller to launch this new partnership. Product-wise, she’s built a better mousetrap,” said Braverman.
“More than that though, we know she wants to build and operate a great company, not just sell us intellectual property as so many have done in the past. In addition, female founders are vital in this industry that has been male-dominated for way too long The sex toy industry needs a variety of designers and leaders creating products to empower sexual pleasure for more people.
Supporting companies like Come Play is a great way to achieve that. We look forward to this test case with Piri and her team and are excited to share the decades of knowledge we’ve accumulated with them and vice versa.”
While Doc Johnson is testing this new approach out with Come Play there are bigger long term plans to expand investment and formalize the incubator model.
“We’ve been talking about this plan for quite awhile. We’re serious about it and we want to scale it. Things are changing in our industry and we hope this approach ushers in an end to the taboos that make operating in the category unnecessarily hard,” explained Braverman.