“It’s not easy…I’m a woman behind a male sexual health brand.”
In the latest episode of 15 Minutes with the Doctor, Vinay is joined by Patricia, the founder of MYHIXEL. We wrote about the digital health startup recently which was founded in 2017 to improve male sexual wellness, and to help men suffering from premature ejaculation. The product combines an app, a registered medical device and uses CBT concepts. Learn about the design and manufacture process, the research so far, and how the product uses gamification. In this special article, Patricia shares some of her journey, challenges and the patent for the product:
…I think it reminds me of a point you mentioned earlier about normalising the conversation for challenging health areas. The ultimate goal, I think, both for male and female intimate wellness, is building that confidence, that self-esteem, and having that holistic approach…I guess on a wider picture, not just about this aspect, but about all aspects of health. I think if this helps with that, then that’s always going to be a good thing.
I know you really believe in what you’re doing, you’ve spent a significant sum of money patenting the device given all the unique aspects you mentioned. Why did you go down that route? Was it truly that you saw that nobody else was doing what you’re doing?
I was working in the industry, I saw this revolution on female brands. Not only from the science itself or the product, but also the communication, marketing. Everything was changing.
I thought maybe men also have interest in improving their sexual life and not feeling that they are consumers only. Maybe we don’t have to stigmatise the topic? So, I started talking to the medical community, and I saw that they were more than willing to cooperate, to recommend this kind of solution to their patients. We are cooperating with a huge community of sexual health professionals now, and the feedback is really good. It’s challenging as there were a few brands doing this work. Three years later, there are still very few brands.
It’s not easy. I’m a woman behind a male intimate health brand.
We have struggled with finding investors for our brand, and we have struggled with loans from banks. But we, and the whole team still think that it’s worth it. So fortunately, we are doing great. We are opening new markets. We are growing every year, and we are now planning to launch new solutions related to erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation. So, we are aiming to open our portfolio of solutions and include more sexual health conditions; and not only related to products, but we are also thinking about launching a new service for professionals.
I think it is a very, very interesting field because we now have more than 5 000 men using our products, and we see their progress and in an anonymous way. But, we are seeing their progress. We are getting objective data from the app. We are a tech company, but the data, it should be in hands of professionals so they can have more information to diagnose and follow up their patients in an objective way — They can combine their normal therapy with a data dashboard.
It’s really interesting to hear your journey and some of the challenges you’ve faced. I’d be interested in knowing actually what consumers of your brand think, if there is any impact of being a female founder…Could you remind me about the patent before we move on?
Yes, we have a patent. It’s a process. From December, we have a patent in Europe, in US, and China. The cost of the patent depends of the stage. I don’t know how much we have paid so far; but in total, it should be around 110 000 euros more or less.
“We are eliminating the barrier of those men that are feeling shame, or taboos when they have to face this condition because 80% of them don’t want to go to a physical consultation because they feel shame. So we are creating something for them.