Hello, listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Gina Gutierrez, co-founder and CEO of Dipsea. Through Dipsea, Gina is focused on helping women feel sexually, mentally, and emotionally empowered. Currently available on IOS (with Android coming soon), the Dipsea app features hundreds of audio stories that help women tap into their sexuality on their own terms, unlock confidence, and develop a more holistic sense of wellbeing. Today on the show, Gina will share her story of launching the business, how she raised over $5 million from investors, and the motivation behind creating this new category of audio-based sexual empowerment for women.
Gina and her co-founder, Faye, aren’t necessarily the type of people you’d expect to launch a company like Dipsea. With backgrounds in psychology and economics, respectively, rather than audio engineering or production, they embarked on this entrepreneurial journey together simply because they saw a real need for what Dipsea has to offer. They founded the company less than two years ago after many late-night conversations at Faye’s kitchen table, and have been growing ever since. “A strength of mine [is that] navigating ambiguity doesn’t make me anxious, and I think that’s highly aligned with being an entrepreneur.”
While the idea of pitching an erotic storytelling app to a room full of mostly-male investors might seem daunting to some, Gina’s comfort level with the topics helped her to navigate the fundraising process comfortably. “It’s about choosing the language that makes other people feel safe, and positions you as an entrepreneur.” They did face pushback during the investing phase — one potential investor deemed Dipsea as “not venture backable,” while another cancelled the pitch meeting only an hour before it was scheduled to start — but ultimately raised $5.5 million for the business. She credits their success in the face of these setbacks to her co-founder, Faye, as well as to the strength of their idea. “[Venture capital] is highly network-based, so even if someone doesn’t invest in you, you can reframe the ‘no’ and get connected to their network.”
Inspired by the Headspace meditation app, Dipsea allows subscribers access to hundreds of short, erotic audio stories, created by women, for women. Though the stories on Dipsea are not specifically meant to be educational, the characters model an aspirational view of sexuality, consent, communication, and safer sex. Despite the evolution of hardware and education in the sexuality space, technological developments to address the psychology of sexuality have lagged behind. “Sex isn’t just about your body! It’s about your mind, too … And audio isn’t just a way to tell a story, it’s a way to make you feel something.”
Gina, thank you so much for coming onto the show and sharing the story of Dipsea with our listeners. Thank you, also, to everyone out there listening, sharing, and reviewing the show. Over the summer, we will take a break and feature some of our earlier episodes so that new listeners can take advantage of those fascinating conversations. We’ll be back in the fall with brand-new episodes of Tech Forward. Have a wonderful summer!
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