Good morning, Broadsheet readers! New York Gov. Kathy Hochul will debate her GOP opponent today; Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial began on Monday; and Caroline Spiegel is betting on the future of audio erotica. Have a terrific Tuesday.
In 2019, Caroline Spiegel dropped out of Stanford University. She struggled with an eating disorder, resulting in a loss of libido. During her recovery process, she discovered audio erotica—and wondered why that kind of content wasn’t more accessible.
Cue Quinn, an audio erotica platform. The now 25-year-old Spiegel is familiar with what it takes to create a startup; her brother is Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel. Her startup has been through several iterations since its 2019 launch before settling on its current model: a creator-driven content marketplace that Spiegel compares to Spotify. “This style of media has the potential to really be the predominant form of erotic content,” she says.
To support that vision, Quinn has raised a total of $3.2 million in funding from Day One Ventures, Global Asset Capital, Great Oaks, Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures, and M13 founder Courtney Reum, Fortune is the first to report.
Spiegel says that the fundraising process for an audio erotica startup is complicated: “It’s very unpredictable who will respond well to something in this space, because you can’t tell from someone’s appearance what their sex life is like, what their relationship to sex is, or whether they carry a lot of shame around sex.” Quinn’s content was initially geared toward heterosexual women, but some female investors have “responded poorly” to the pitch while some “older white men are super gung ho,” Spiegel says.
Quinn’s content has expanded to appeal to queer women and is pivoting to attract more straight male listeners. It’s not the only audio porn platform out there; competitors include Dipsea, Emjoy, and Coral. And as a creator-driven platform, Quinn has some crossover with OnlyFans. Spiegel argues that expanding audio erotica’s reach could positively impact society because Pornhub-style pornography has deteriorated people’s ability to form healthy relationships. “When you have sex with your partner, it’s not going to be able to match that image,” she says. “This disparity has been harmful to people’s sex lives, and they’re looking for a different option.”
After a year on the App Store, Quinn has hit about $4 million in annual revenue with 740,000 user sessions a month. The app credits much of its growth to organic marketing on TikTok, choosing to leverage that platform rather than funnel its capital into paid advertising on Instagram or Facebook. Quinn’s TikTok garners about 10 million monthly views, and roughly 1% convert into app downloads.
“This is a category that has needed a lot of experimentation,” Spiegel says.
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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
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ON MY RADAR
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