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Technology  13, Jan 2014

Sex Sells: Mobile controlled vibrator makes it to 2013 Crunchies Awards

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Some Oohs! and Aahs! for Vibease, as the app controlled vibrator makes it to the 2013 Crunchies Awards after successfully being crowdfunded on Indiegogo

Half a year ago, the Singapore-based hardware startup Vibease launched its Indiegogo campaign to fund its new smart vibrator that is capable of syncing to users’ phones, letting them control their pleasurable experiences via the mobile device. With a total of US$130,425 – far outstripping its initial target of US$15,000 – raised, Vibease has proven the old saying ‘sex sells’. Now, this adage is about to be proven true again as Vibease makes it to the annual Techcrunch Crunchies Awards.

Last week, Techcrunch announced that Vibease is among five finalists in the “Can’t stop, won’t stop” category for the 2013 Crunchies Awards, alongside behemoths such as Candy Crush Saga and Netflix. While its crowdfunding campaign certainly made waves in the latter half of 2013, the fact that it is relatively recent, makes it an unexpected contender for the Crunchies.

This sentiment is not lost on Founder Dema Tio, who recounts, “When I saw a tweet congratulating Vibease for the nomination, I thought it was a joke, given all the other finalists are giants!”

Having said this, Vibease has been moving rapidly following its Indiegogo campaign. In the past five months, Vibease’s factory at Shenzhen has been humming quietly along, manufacturing vibrators to cater to the pre-order crowd. Tio brings good news to those who have pre-ordered, “Shipping all the pre-orders is our highest priority. We’re excited that we made significant progress, and we’re going to ship some products this month from our pilot production run.”

Like all startups though, the Vibease team has encountered various problems, many of them specific to hardware manufacturing; for instance, the long lead times of eight to 12 weeks for certain components. “The biggest challenge for all hardware startups is to turn the prototype to a mass production,” Tio said. “Manufacturing is complex. It’s a nerve-wracking process, because unlike software where we can easily fix some errors, for hardware there is no room for any such errors. For every mistake, we have to redo the parts, which costs us time and money,” added Tio.

According to him, the nomination has been a real boost to the team, endorsing the smart vibrator as an idea whose time has come. “Being the Crunchies Awards finalists means a lot to the team. It validates Vibease as a legit startup, working to solve real problems. It requires a lot of hard work to bring Vibease to mainstream market.” Indeed, the past week since Vibease’s nomination was first published, both the number of visitors to its site and the number of pre-orders have increased.

Read also: Viki’s engineers on the post-Crunchies life (or lack of it)

As to Vibease’s plans following the nomination, Tio shared that the team is still focused on delivering the pre-orders, as well as rolling out its iOS app. He has hinted at the possibility of a Windows app, adding, “Vibease is not a time project. More cool stuff will come. Vibease wants to make a world better place through pleasure.”

Terence Ng

Terence Ng

With a few failed and unrealized startups under his belt, Terence is no stranger to the startup landscape. He hopes to start something big. Someday. Meanwhile, he is content with bringing the latest startup and technology news to both professionals and lay readers alike.

  • dematio

    Thanks Terence! Well written ;)

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