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$2M Funding and an Apology: A Happy Ending Follows #CESGenderBias Dismay

$2M Funding and an Apology: A Happy Ending Follows #CESGenderBias Dismay

ounder and CEO Lora Haddock with Osé [Image: Lora DiCarlo]

ounder and CEO Lora Haddock with Osé [Image: Lora DiCarlo]

Sex tech company Lora DiCarlo has some good news.

It’s good news all around, really: for morale, for the company’s operations, and eventually for their customers’, ah, satisfaction.

You may remember a scandal earlier this year that trended as #CESGenderBias: Lora DiCarlo put an impressive array of advanced technologies to work to close “the orgasm gap” and provide a high-tech product for women. The hands-free Osé device was recognized with a CES Robotics Innovation Award that was then taken back.

It was a bad situation. Good, however, came from it. The conversation about the long-observed gender bias at CES (see also: men’s sex toys winning awards without controversy, a lack of women keynoting, “booth babes”...) became much more public, and for real change to be effected, conversations need to happen. And, it turns out, those raised eyebrows in this case did also raise the profile of Lora DiCarlo.

This week (reminder: it’s May), Lora DiCarlo updated their original #CESGenderBias post:

“UPDATE: We scored an apology from CES. And raised $2M in additional funding!

Did we sue the CES? No. It just so happens that our new funding came on the same the same day that the CES returned our rightful award.

Founder and CEO Lora Haddock Accepts Rightful Award and Calls For Further Policy Change From CES

‘First, we want to thank our millions of fans for all the support we’ve received from around the world. You have helped amplify the message of driving inclusivity and diversity within the tech and business spaces and, because of that support, we were re-awarded our CES Robotics Innovation award. We recognize this gesture as movement in the right direction by CES, but this is merely the first step. Lora DiCarlo continues to remain committed to working with the CTA on driving long-term change to be more inclusive. We are not backing down. Stay tuned for more on this as we continue to give ‘em hell!’”

The awards that CES owner/producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) presents each year have actual impact on awardees. Many are able to use these accolades as validation in negotiating investment. Because so many are startups, financial backing is a Very Big Deal to get new companies and their initial products off the ground.

And now, not only does Lora DiCarlo actually have the (re-awarded) CES Robotics Innovation Award, they have more than doubled their investment standing.

Along with the announcement of the CTA’s apology and reversal came another, brighter bit of news: Lora DiCarlo has gained $2 million in a seed funding round.

New and existing investors joined the round, led by the Oregon Opportunity Zone Limited Partnership. The $2 million will be used for Osé’s path toward commercialization; it’s slated to hit the market this autumn.

That makes an overall $3.2 million raised. Behind the shiny numbers and the will-they-won’t-they CES award drama, we need to remember there’s a real company and a real product at stake here backed by a slew of very real technologies.

The announcement notes that Lora DiCarlo’s offerings lie “at the intersection of sexual health wellness and thoughtfully engineered robotics.”

We talk a lot about applications for 3D printing; they are many. While automotive, aerospace, and medical are perhaps the highest profile today, the technology sees great use in a vast array of industries and products. Some of them might not be what you expect at first when you think about manufacturing processes, but that’s also the benefit of advanced technologies moving more into mainstream making; perhaps this product more than many others points to the fact that when someone is using an object they’re not exactly thinking about how it was made.

Via Lora DiCarlo


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