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Love, Sex, and Babies: Meet the CEE Startups That Will Make Your Romantic Life Better

couple hiding under the sheets, canva
Image credit: Canva

If a startup has an exceptional idea for making our personal lives better but is having a hard time raising investment there’s a high chance it’s a sextech company. We intuitively understand the reputational risks associated with investments in sextech. After all, it has much to do with sexual health and well-being being placed under taboo in societies around the world. Even so, the tide may be turning. 

When Lisbon-based sexual wellness startup Pleasy Play won the CEE-based Wolves Summit pitch contest in 2021, it marked the first win by a sextech company in the competition. The jury of venture capital professionals and big tech companies chose the innovative app aimed to help couples build intimacy over startups in the sphere of education or enterprise marketing.

The signs don’t stop here. In the US, huge market and financing success and financing deals and company exists from intimate wellness brands such as Hims & Hers or contraception companies such as The Pill Club and sex toy companies such as Dame, point to a maturing market. 

In Europe and Israel, too, investors are starting to see market opportunities for sextech startups. Crowdfunding platforms such as UK-based Crowdcube are open to sextech startups, and funds such as Israeli-based Intimate Capital have launched to invest into the sexual wellness market. Despite increased activity, only close to €260M has been invested in the European sextech market in the past two years, according to Dealroom. Given that the global sexual wellness market is expected to hit $120 billion by 2030, there is a lot of potential still untapped.

With that in mind, we put together a list of sextech startups from Central and Eastern European roots, which are offering innovative sexual health and wellness products and services.

Name: Feeld

Headquarters: New York City, US, with Bulgarian founder

Team: Dimo Trifonov, Ana Kirova

Category: Dating

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About: Feeld is a dating app where you can date as a single or as a couple and meet like-minded humans.

Latest: So far, the company has raised a total funding of over $500K from angel investors. The team has over 80 employees.

 

Name: StayUncle

Headquarters: India with Macedonian co-founder

Co-founders: Sanchit Sethi, Blaze Arizanov (exited)

Category: Dating; Hospitality

About: An online hotel booking platform and marketplace created for unmarried and LGBTQIIA+ couples in India.

Latest: As of September 2021, they had served over 250K customers and were available in 40+ Indian cities and 150+ partner hotels.

 

Name: Kranus Health

Headquarters: Munich, Germany, with Bulgarian co-founder

Co-founders: Nikolay Dimolarov, Prof. Dr. Kurt Miller, Jens Nörtershäuser, Thilo Kleinschmidt

Category: Men’s health

About: A provider of men’s health digital therapeutics, with an app offering a 12-week holistic therapy for erectile dysfunction. It has been approved by the German government and is free for patients who are covered by national health insurers.

Latest: The company raised a Series A round of over €6M in June 2022. They were recently ranked as the 23rd fastest growing startup in Germany.

 

Name: Numan

Headquarters: London, UK with Greek founder

Founder: Sokratis Papaflorato

Category: Men’s health

About: Numan offers solutions for a series of men’s health problems including erectile dysfunction and hair loss. The platform enables free online consultations with doctors and personalized treatments.

Latest: The company raised a €11M Series A in 2020 to invest in the technology and expand operations and the team.

 

Name: The Lowdown

Headquarters: London, UK, with Croatian CTO

Team: Alice Pelton (founder), Marija Ziterbart (CTO)

Category: Women’s Health and Wellness

About: A platform for sexual and reproductive health, providing contraception review, advice, and prescriptions.

Latest: So far, they raised $2.5M in a seed round led by European VCs.

 

Name: FemTech Health

Headquarters: Houston, Texas, US with office in Athens, Greece and Greek founder

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Founder: Dr. Kimon Angelides

Category: Women’s health

About: A health and beauty science company that combines multiple aspects of women’s health in one platform.

Latest: FemTec Health has offices around the world, a team outnumbering 150 employees, and has acquired 5 companies, the latest being telenutrition company Nutrimedy, in 2022.

 

Name: WOOM

Headquarters: Madrid, Spain, with Bulgarian engineering team and investors

Co-founders: Clelia Morales, Laurence Fontinoy

Category: Women’s Health and Wellness

About: The company has developed a period monitoring app using machine learning techniques.

Latest: The company was acquired by Apricity in 2022, with the goal of making Apicity, the world’s first virtual fertility clinic, a digital one-stop-shop for fertility, expanding to the UK, France, and Spain. 

 

Name: Daye

Headquarters: London, UK, with Bulgarian founder 

Founder: Valentina Milanova

Category: Women’s Health and Wellness

About: A gynecological health startup offering tampons infused with CBD, as well as other products and services for vagina treatment.

Latest: They recently raised $11.6M in a Series A to launch a new at-home vaginal microbiome screening test.

 

Name: Libréa

Headquarters: Bucharest, Romania

Co-founders: Anouk Ragot, Laurence Monier Blondiaux

Category: Women’s Health and Wellness

About: A brand producing sustainable period underwear with a four-layer-sewed complex, which can be washed and reused.

Latest: The brand launched on the Romanian market 8 months ago. They were one of the finalists at the CCI Francaise en Roumanie 2022 awards.

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https://therecursive.com/author/antoanelaionita/

Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.