Unbound founders Polly Rodriguez and Sarah Jayne Kinney have long and varied careers. Rodriguez worked for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill on Capitol Hill before heading to Deloitte Consulting and dating startup Grouper. Kinney was a graduate of University of Cincinnati worked at Puma and then at Esquire and O, Oprah’s magazine. She worked shooting products for fashion houses in New York.
The duo met in 2014.
Now they make fashion-forward vibrators. Their latest, the Palma, is the most fashion-forward yet and it just launched at TechCrunch Disrupt.
“Unbound is closing the very real orgasm gap by putting knowledge and product in the hands of women all over the world,” said Rodriguez. “Unbound is the first brand taking sexual wellness mainstream through elevated design and accessible pricing.”
The new device masquerades as a ring, offers multiple speeds, and is completely waterproof. It’s made of surgical grade steel and comes in silver or gold. Further, the team plans to add accelerometer features to the device. It will ship in 2019.
The team has raised $3.3 million in seed funding to date and are on track to hit $4 million in revenue in 2018.
They’ve been working on improving the state of the art when it comes to vibrators. They are, it seems, tired of the status quo.
“It’s important to note that vibrators are used in one of the most absorbent parts of the body and not regulated by the FDA. The lack of regulation results in manufacturers using carcinogens in their materials like parabens and phthalates. Unbound only uses medical grade silicone,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s message is simple: she wants to destroy the negative stereotypes around sex and health. And she has good reason.
“Each of us is motivated to change the stigmas associated with sexual health for different reasons. For me, it was going through menopause at 21 as a result of radiation treatment for cancer and ending up at a seedy shop on the side of the highway trying to buy lube and a vibrator. My doctors didn’t tell me I was going through menopause, only that I wouldn’t have children. As I got older, I realized that had I been a man, that conversation would have gone very differently… because we view male sexuality has a health need and female sexuality as a vice,” she said. “To put it in perspective, think about the fact that Bob Dole, a former presidential candidate was the spokesperson for Viagra. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton being the spokesperson for a vibrator brand? That’s the difference in how we view male vs. female (cis, femme, non-gender identifying) sexuality.”
“Our dream at Unbound is for female sexual health to be viewed through the same lens as male sexuality — as a part of our overall health that deserves a conversation, platform, and shopping experience that doesn’t feel like a flaming pile of garbage,” she said.