May 23, 2024

VC-backed European sexual wellness startup soars past fundraising target ahead of UK expansion

An interactive intimacy app and subscription box for couples which aims to “make the honeymoon period last forever” has soared into overfunding on Seedrs. Portugal-based Pleasy Play has attracted more than €292,000+ from over 390 investors with little over 48 hours left to go at the time of writing.

Pleasy combines fun, personalised challenges with regular boxes of intimate items, both of which are based on each couple’s preferences. The company hopes to tap into the booming sextech and sexual wellness market, the latter of which is expected to hit $39bn by 2024.

Pleasy already counts venture capitalists, angel investors and Indico Capital Partners among its financial backers. It is also on Indico’s accelerator program in partnership with Google for Startups.

It may not be typical for a startup with such backing to launch a crowdfunding campaign. However, founder Ana Mikeala Silva believes that, as well as bolstering the company’s funding, her Seedrs campaign will help to raise awareness about Pleasy and bring the knowledge of crowd investors on board.

Entrepreneur Silva has recently been featured in Forbes, TechRound and The Ocelot Magazine. She launched Pleasy due to her belief that no brands were approaching sexual wellness “from a prevention rather than cure perspective”. Current services “are either clinical or sexual – nothing in between, which is where Pleasy comes in”, she says. “And while most companies target one gender, we cater specifically to couples and their intimacy.”

The UK, as well as Germany and France, are the leading growth countries for intimate products, growing at 43%, 37% & 47% respectively. Starting with a UK launch, Silva aims to make a foothold in these and other European countries within 12 months. Pleasy will also launch an LGBTQ+ edition, as well as other themed versions in 2021.

Silva is also the host of Intimacy Play, Pleasy’s intimacy podcast, which is available on Apple and Spotify. Guests have so far included Florence Bark, the star of YouTube sexual wellness series, Come Curious, and Emma Sayle, the founder of Killing Kittens, which recently raised £340,000 on Seedrs.

Going to the Crowd after getting VC backing

Seedrs funded their first convertible equity raise in 2014. Despite being part of over 50 convertible campaigns in the six years following, convertible notes remain rare on the platform compared to the more traditional S/EIS equity rounds. 

It has inevitably led to convertible notes on the platform being less likely to attract the same number of investors and less likely to overfund to the same extent as more traditional campaigns. 

It was something Silva was well aware of going into the round but the hard work certainly paid off and, contrary to the norm, Pleasy went on to get a great reception from the crowd, exceeding many of our expectations. Included in Pleasy’s more than 380 investors is Indico Capital Partners, Portugal’s leading independent Venture Capital firm and the lead investor of this round.

European company expands to the UK

Silva has committed the majority of the funds raised for Pleasy’s UK expansion, making her company one of the first European businesses to expand to the UK post-Brexit. 

Despite the red tape, customs, and bureaucracy that has driven UK exports to the EU down 68% in January, Pleasy have been able to deliver to their UK customers on time and without any issues, and Brexit is yet to prove  problematic. 

As such, the same obstacles faced by UK firms are not expected to halt expansion to one of the most lucrative markets for intimacy products in the world.