Lora DiCarlo, an erotic tech startup that hit the headlines in 2019 after being blacklisted by the Consumer Electronics Show, appears to have shut down. The company’s website is down and orders have reportedly not been fulfilled for months.
TechCrunch has reached out to the eponymous founder for confirmation, but it certainly looks like the end of the line for the short-lived, high-tech sex toy enterprise.
Founded in 2017, Lora DiCarlo was one of the new wave of high-tech women-led sexual health companies. It won the Innovation Award at CES 2019 for, as our writer put it at the time, “a hands-free device that uses biomimicry and robotics to help women achieve mixed orgasms by simultaneously stimulating their G-spot and clitoris.”
But then the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, withdrew the award and banned the company from exhibiting at the show. Their explanation at the time was that neither the company nor its devices “fit into the product category.”
Predictably, this sparked an immediate backlash and accusations of sexism, prudishness, and poor judgment in general. Everyone was on the side of Lora DiCarlo, and the publicity was invaluable. She later told TechCrunch on Disrupt, “I think they did us a pretty big favor.” During that time, the company raised $2 million, and a total of about $9 million in five years of operation.
But despite its grand return to the show in 2020 (and of course the coveted TC+ feature), the company seems to be on the wane during the pandemic – perhaps it fell victim to the same chip shortages and manufacturing issues that even established hardware makers have struggled with.
As reported by Women’s Health, the last few months seem to be Lora DiCarlo’s last as various aspects of a functioning commercial enterprise began to fail: orders did not come out, stocks at trading partners disappeared and staff left. The site went down earlier this month and is still down. While there has been no official announcement, it certainly seems that the company is kaput.
It’s a shame, but finding success as a hardware startup is hard enough without the pandemic and the stigma of sex toys adding drag. We’ll update this article if we get a response from DiCarlo.