For the Cake founders, walking down the sexual wellness aisle made them feel a lot of things, but giddily excited to get down was not one of them. Hello Cake set out to fix that—to help individuals reconnect with themselves, their bodies, and their partners regardless of who they are or how they like to play. Life can be stressful enough. Cake was created to help people have more fun, healthier sex―without feeling any shame about it.
Founders: Hunter Morris and Mitch Orkis
Founded: June 2020
2023 Full Year Expected Revenue Range: $30 to $50 million (estimated by industry experts)
Primary Beauty Category: Personal Care, Wellness
Primary Distribution Channel: Mass, Drugstore, Amazon
Total Funds Raised: $16.2 million
In September 2022, secured $8 million in a Series A funding round led by Silas Capital. The oversubscribed round was completed with existing investors, including Lerer Hippeau, Bullish, Selva Ventures, and Finn Capital Partners.
On April 2022, the company raised a $2.5 million bridge round of funding by existing investor Lerer Hippeau, with new investors Bullish and Kendra Jackson and additional seed investors including Sugar Capital, Brand Foundry Ventures, Selva Ventures, Silas Capital, Gabby Slome, Brian Bordainick (co-founder of Starface), and Kate Wallman.
In June 2021, Cake raised an additional $4 million in seed funding, led by venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau with participation by Sugar Capital, Brand Foundry Ventures, Selva Ventures, Silas Capital, Red Antler Ventures, Gabby Slome (co-founder of Ollie), Brian Bordainick, and Kate Wallman (angel investor).
In June 2020 the brand raised $1.435 million in seed funding with backers including Brian Spaly (co-founder of Trunk Club & Bonobos), Roth Martin (co-founder of Rothy's), Brand Foundry Ventures, Finn Capital, and others.
Notable Investors/Funding Partners: Silas Capital, Lerer Hippeau, Stand Equity, AF Ventures, Bullish, Selva Ventures, Finn Capital Partners, Sugar Capital, Brand Foundry Ventures
Notable Advisors/Board Members: Brian Thorne, Silas Capital, Caitlin Strandberg, Lerer Hippeau
What are some of your key business initiatives for 2023?
For 2023, we’re continuing to put sexual wellness products within arm's reach of all consumers by doubling down on retail distribution. We will be pioneering new ways to play through iterative product design, helping at least 100,000 couples get their groove back with the #morefunsex challenge, and scaling our newly launched prescription offering.
What are you most proud of having accomplished?
We received a letter from a gentleman well into his twilight years. He wrote to let us know his wife had passed years earlier and he ‘thought this phase of my life was over.’ He went on to express that Cake helped him realize he could reconnect with his body and pleasure was a part of a healthy routine, not a shameful one.
Thankfully, we get to hear stories like this with regular cadence—where we’re helping bring a moment of joy into individual's lives, and "the spark" back into relationships. Being able to be a part of the changing tides has been a journey we’re incredibly proud of and grateful for.
What has been the biggest surprise since the brand was founded?
Our target audience has been an ever-expanding and moving target from day one. We naively assumed queer men on the coasts would be earlier adopters. While that did turn out to be true, we were also asked if Cake ships products to Army bases three months into being live. Today, we ship to all 50 states, from military bases to pride parades, sex therapists, first-time toy triers, and everyone in between.
What aspect of your brand DNA fuels your competitive advantage?
We strive to make Cake the most approachable sex brand on earth. Beyond branding and language, we design and market products based on anatomy. So regardless of age, sexual orientation, geography, or gender, our products are for you if you want to make that particular part of your body feel good. It also helps combat confusion in an aisle where folks don’t love to spend too much time perusing.
How we tailor our products for maximum pleasure is based on our "iterative product design" approach where we drop small batches of test products (both new and existing) to understand what consumers like, dislike, and love. We then only move into full-scale production after rounds of iteration, when we’ve checked all the pleasure boxes.
Please share your insight on the future of the beauty industry.
Pre-revenue: We expect to see creator brands disrupting and replacing more traditional direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands created by expensive branding agencies. Creators hold immense power and influence directly with consumers. Once they begin leveraging their platforms for their own brands, we believe they’ll successfully convert fans and followers into buyers.
Early Revenue: Start-ups with proof of concept will focus on true omnichannel early on and pivot faster than ever based on social platforms in order to scale.
Scaled Revenue: We’ll see "affordable premium" beat out "luxury" in the battle for consumers' disposable incomes; plus, sustainability will continue to be a critical issue for more and more consumers, especially packaging.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Make yourself replaceable, not irreplaceable. Only once you can be replaced can you move up and on.
Paying it forward, what advice would you give to someone contemplating launching a beauty brand?
Find a partner. I (Mitch, co-founder of Hello Cake) have tried to start half a dozen brands. The key difference with Cake is I found an operational-minded product person as my co-founder. Well, actually he found me … thanks, Hunter!
I truly don’t think Cake would exist today had I gone the solo founder route.
If you could change one thing in the beauty industry, what would it be?
We’d encourage individuals, brands, and buyers to have open and honest conversations around sex―free from embarrassment or shame.
To simply acknowledge and normalize that a sexually fulfilled life is important. And it’s achievable with the right guidance, encouragement, and tools.
So much time, energy, and money are spent on health and beauty. It’s our dream for sex to be as topical (and worked on) as diet, fitness, exercise, hair, or skincare. After all, sexual pleasure is scientifically proven to decrease stress and increase happiness. Let’s have a lot of that.
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