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New York has built itself as a direct-to-consumer town ñ headquarters to a number of leading nextgen commerce startups. It only makes sense that sexuality is a part of that conversation. However, pitching predominately male VCs on women's sexual products can prove challenging. Polly Rodriguez, the CEO and Founder of Unbound., has persevered to build a sexual wellness brand that provides discrete shopping options for products that promote a healthy view on women's sexuality without any stigmas.
A graduate of the University of Miami, Rodriguez began her career in politics working on the Hill. After a few years, she moved to New York and worked in corporate strategy at Deloitte. She forayed into the startup world when she joined Y-Combinator backed Grouper, the group dating app. Longing to start her own venture, and thinking back to her bout with cancer, Rodriguez launched Unbound in 2014 seeing there were no options for women to openly discuss their sexuality and sexual needs without any stigmas.
Since launch Unbound has been able to expand its community and introduce its own product line of vibrators, lubricants, and accessories. All this without any paid social acquisition as the Facebook engine does not permit advertising in the sex toy category. Under Rodriguez's leadership, the company has been able to scale and was on target to do $4M in revenue in 2018. In an era where most startups have an unhealthy dependency on Facebook ads, this in and of itself is an accomplishment.
Investors have finally taken notice as well ñboth male and female. The company has closed $3.3M in funding and is backed by 2019 NYC Tech Influencers honoree Elizabeth Galbut's SoGal Ventures, Social Starts, Founders Fund, 2019 NYC Tech Influencers honoree Shan-Lyn Ma, and Brainchild Holdings.
Rodriquez is noted expert on the topic of sexuality, has co-launched the Women in SexTech Alliance with Lidia Bonilla, serves as a mentor to countless women who are launching business that are traditionally overlooked for VCs. Unbound donates a portion of proceeds to non-profits and has supported Planned Parenthood. The company sent Senator Leader Mitch McConnell 275 vibrators when Planned Parenthood was under attack from lawmakers! Rodriguez is on a mission to ensure that the topic of women's sexuality is viewed under a healthy lens by society, starting one vibrator at a time.