“Our mission is to create a situation in which sex tech is no longer stigmatised.”

The who is who of the sex tech community will meet in Berlin on July 1 to learn about the latest developments in the market, exchange experiences and ideas, strengthen and expand networks, and to establish new connections. Sx Tech founder and manager Ola Miedzynska tells us more about the goals and programme of the conference.

Sx Tech will have its first conference on the 1st of July. Before we talk about the event itself, could you tell us a bit more about yourself and the team behind the conference?
Ola Miedzynska: My knowledge and experience is grounded in start-up development. Before moving to Berlin, I was heavily involved in the expansion of deep tech start-ups, working closely with incubators and accelerators in Poland. On an international level, I have cooperated with European funds for eight years, supporting start-ups through coaching, concept design, and event management – emphasising the importance of community and business connections.

The Sx Tech team is a great mix of passionate and talented people. Some of them are business professionals or individuals from a tech-centric realm – more importantly, they’re all super passionate about Sx Tech and what we’re trying to achieve.

Why did you choose to have Sx Tech take place in Berlin and why is your team suited to run such an event?
I live in Berlin myself, and the reasons why I value it so much is a long list of privileges that the city offers in its liberal form. The German capital has leveraged its legendary climate of cultural experimentation, DIY creativity, and free spirit born from repression. Berlin is becoming a centre of modern art and music which draws young creatives and nurtures open-mindedness that pervades everyday life and makes living here forever interesting. I don’t think a conference of Sx Tech’s nature would make sense in a city that is more reserved and unappreciative or less understanding of human sexuality and freedom of expression. It’s Berlin’s diversity that makes it a safe and welcoming harbour for bold enterprises like Sx Tech.

Sx Tech is a conference for sex tech. How would you define the term sex tech?
Sex tech for me is an open gate to all technologies which serve the development of sexuality and topics related to it. Technologies of the last decade have given people access to a form of expression that has been under wraps or viewed as taboo before. These advancements have affected us all: Just think about how our dating lives have changed. Today, when dating apps become part of the mainstream, nobody considers it to be unnatural.

Whether you like it or not, the development of technology affects our romantic life, our perception of being in an intimate relationship, the very form of a relationship, and it also provides us with undiscovered opportunities to develop our sexuality. Sex tech is not only an innovation in the area of pleasure or entertainment. Developments in new technologies have paved the way to greater contraceptive efficacy and pregnancy planning through digital methods. Sex education programmes are facilitated by AR gamification, and we have machine-learning algorithms designed to support sex therapists treat their clients.

What can the visitors of Sx Tech look forward to? Could you give us a roadmap for the day?
The Sx Tech conference will introduce you to the role of technology within the sex tech industry. The event consists of three pillars. First is the Hackathon which will last nine hours and will focus on barriers experienced within the sex tech industry. The winner of which will be crowned at 6 pm. The head of the jury is a well-known individual in the industry: Soumyadip Rakshit, CEO of MysteryVibe.

The Sx Tech conference will introduce you to the role of technology within the sex tech industry.

The second pillar is business masterclasses which will be held throughout the day during the conference. If you are planning to launch a sex tech start-up, or are working in one, these classes will be perfect for you! The third pillar is the stage element, consisting of presentations and insightful seminars discussing dating, sex app design, and user experience as well as data secrets and algorithms, cyberporn hacking, community building around sex tech brands, and much more.

In the end, you will be able to visit the impressive stands of our partners and get to see the very best the sex tech industry has to offer. As an attendee, you’ll also be invited to our After Party; a chance to unwind with newfound friends and connections and celebrate new beginnings in true Berlin style!

Sx Tech will include various workshops. Could you give us an overview of the different topics that your visitors can learn about?
The masterclass programme consists of six themes: marketing, funding, law, content, education, and community. Aspects that present both challenges and opportunities to anyone involved in the start-up sphere. Active participation will help develop your understanding of this expanding industry, learning from top specialists who can offer you a wealth of knowledge. Such an opportunity is unique because in the present-day start-up ecosystem, we lack tech incubators or mentoring programmes that focus on sex tech start-ups!

Another part of Sx Tech will be a Hackathon. Could you explain what a Hackathon is for those of our readers who have not heard of this before?
A Hackathon is a design-sprint event in which specialists and others involved in software development – including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers etc. – collaborate on software project solutions. Regardless of your professional background, please feel welcome to join and share your thoughts! If you’ve been sitting on a sex tech business idea and you’re looking for a chance to grow it under the wings of sex tech specialists, this is the place to be!

Finally, Sx Tech will see several speakers sharing their experiences. Which aspect was most important to you when you selected speakers for Sx Tech?
Above all else, we welcome pioneers. Those involved in the sex tech scene who are pushing the boundaries and challenge the status quo. Moreover, many native to the deep tech industry will be joining us as well due to the industry overlap and shared interests.

We want our conference to be a bridge between the sex and fem tech industries because they can be interwoven with the deep tech world in order to support further developments. The different perspectives will organically lead to unique insights into current challenges, and this is why a good mix of like-minded individuals from different backgrounds are welcome. The goal of this event is to connect people, bringing them closer towards the possibility of cooperation.

We want our conference to be a bridge between the sex and fem tech industries because they can be interwoven with the deep tech world in order to support further developments.

Besides the event programme you just presented, companies / sponsors will have booths at the event. Could you tell us more about this? Is there still space available?
We are a young conference, which means that, in a very forward-thinking way, we must carefully consider our first steps in the market. We have exhibition space for fourteen companies and currently, we have seven more spaces left. Beyond the visibility that Sx Tech offers, we provide participants with an open-minded arena in which they can build business relations, promote and discuss visions, and of course, take a mentoring position in an industry so absent in the buzzing start-up ecosystem of Berlin.

We are not a typical fair, and we do not want to be perceived as an erotic show. It’s a celebration of an industry providing self-exploration through pleasure.

You’ll get to see the highest technology products such as VR, sensory toys, remote controlled pleasure toys for couples, and learn how AI and AR are going to shape sexual education.

Is Sx Tech open for everybody or just for industry professionals? How much is the entrance fee for visitors?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, industry specialist or a curious bystander, Sx Tech conference has something to offer for everybody. We try to prepare the programme so that every enthusiast can find something of relevance. If you think about your sex tech business, this is your only chance in Europe to build relationships and share advice. If you are a fan of new technologies, you’ll find yourself in a unique setting, overflowing with mindful people, demonstrating technologies absent from the mainstream gaze. If you are interested in the exploration and development of sexuality, then this conference will provide a clear glimpse into the future.

In your opinion, what role does sex tech play in the erotic market today? How can it define sexuality in the future?
The sex tech market is valued at 30 million USD. Sex Tech is the most significant branch of the erotic market because its foundations are built on sexual pleasure. This basic need, fuelled by the growth of e-commerce, smartphone apps, and the anonymity of the internet has led to the development of several sex tech products such as sex robots and webcams, where people’s fantasies can come alive.

At the dawn of a new sexual revolution, it’s good to question how technology may change the most intimate area of our lives. We are getting to the point when electronic devices will transmit not only visual and auditory information, but also the sense of touch. The taboos of today will eventually become absorbed into the mainstream, as individuals become exposed to new experiences and develop a more rounded and accurate understanding of themselves.

Let us remember one thing: The development of technology is always born from the evolution of human life. Technology will only assist us in subsequent transformations in our way of living. Technology itself is not the deciding factor. It’s our needs and desires that fuel the satisfaction of the former.

Will we see another Sx Tech in 2020?
We will definitely fight for it. Our mission is to create a situation in which sex tech is no longer stigmatised but can be treated with respect and is welcomed in different technological contexts. We are building an active international community, and we are doing it in the heart of liberal Europe in order to create opportunities for business, and to promote the technologies that will liberate people from themselves! We hope that with the continued support of the community, we will be able to implement more projects.

Lead picture (c) Michal Szymonczyk