Polari Group has secured $539K in pre-seed funding to advance their work in anal health and pleasure. The funding round was supported by Ventures Together, Ada Ventures (Ada Angel Program), Chasing Rainbows, Little Green Bamboo Capital, and a series of international angel investors.

Founded in 2023 by bioengineer Anna Vybornova and chemist and immunologist Dr. Henry Blest, Polari Group aims to improve anal health and pleasure through a proprietary innovation. Their device, a miniature ball-like insert, prevents fecal matter from appearing during sex and can be safely removed afterward. This innovation offers an alternative to traditional anal douching, which is time-consuming and requires a toilet trip.

“Shame lives in silence and so does the lack of innovation. My mission is to empower people to have the sexual lives they want with the best long-term outcomes for their health,” said Anna Vybornova, founder and CEO of Polari Group. “Because of stigma, anal health and pleasure have not benefited from the cutting-edge innovation available in the 21st century, and there are still millions of people whose sexual experiences have been marginalized and who must use DIY solutions. Polari aims to change that.”

Dr. Henry Blest, founder and CTO of Polari Group, added, “As a medical scientist and bottom, I find it shocking anorectal health is chronically under-researched. I believe this is due to the stigma associated with anal sex. My goal is to improve the life of anyone with an anus. This is why I have taken a vow to not stop talking about anal douching. I am commonly told ‘It is not the time or the place’ but frankly, these problems persist because it has never been the time or the place. If queer history has taught me anything, it is that no one is more effective than a pissed-off homosexual and I refuse to let LGBTQIA+ sexual health be overlooked.”

Polari Group plans to partner with major sexual health organizations to improve awareness and reduce the stigma around anal health and pleasure. Despite misconceptions, anal sex is common among various demographics, including heterosexual men and women. Studies show that 44% of heterosexual men and 36% of heterosexual women aged 18-44 in the USA have tried anal sex, while 68% of homosexual men in Belgium have engaged in the practice.

With an estimated 167.7 million people in the UK, US, and Europe engaging in anal sex and approximately 2.8 billion anal sex acts occurring annually in these regions, Polari Group aims to address and reduce the stigma around anal sex. The lack of research funding and education around anal health often perpetuates this stigma.

Polari Group’s innovation aims to fill a gap in the $10.9 billion market by addressing anal health and pleasure. The company has established the world’s first anal sex lab to study and improve anal health, working with medical doctors and scientists to better understand and enhance the experience.

The investment will enable Polari Group to advance its regulatory pathway, expand the team, prepare for manufacturing, and reach a broader community of users. The founders’ backgrounds in bioengineering and virology equip them with unique insights into developing this niche yet essential field.

Christian Tooley, an angel investor at Ada Ventures and founder of i3 investing, stated, “Polari Group isn’t just an investable startup with great prospective returns, but has the potential to be a movement that disrupts the entire queer community, revolutionizing the Med/SexTech space. I only invest in impactful innovation – and that’s what Anna and Henry are wholeheartedly building.”

Carmen Fong, MD, and colorectal surgeon, co-director of the Haemorrhoids Center of America, commented, “I have patients that have tried all types of practices to prevent fecal contamination during receptive anal intercourse, including various forms of anal douching. Polari aims to provide an alternative to these practices, specifically, but on a larger scale, their work will open up the conversation about sexual health related to receptive anal intercourse and anorectal health in general, topics that still seem taboo and shouldn’t be. The more we talk about it, the more people will be likely to find solutions and not have to struggle in silence.”

Ben Stokes from Chasing Rainbows emphasized the importance of supporting LGBTQIA+ founders, saying, “As a fund, we’re deeply committed to ensuring that LGBTQIA+ founders get the access to capital they need to be successful. Henry and Anna are two examples of exemplary founders who are solving big problems (not just for the LGBTQIA+ community), and yet they faced discrimination when trying to access capital. It is a privilege to be one of their earliest investors, and beyond that, I look forward to the outsized returns they, along with other LGBTQIA+ founders, will deliver.”

Yifei Wang of Little Green Bamboo added, “At Little Green Bamboo, we strive to leave the world a bit better than the way we found it. We back Polari because Anna and Henry are working zealously to give people more choice, and thus more freedom. To us, choice is one of the greatest virtues available to humanity, particularly for underserved communities. Lastly, we have faith in the confluence of humility and ambition in Henry and Anna, and are excited to watch them grow and pursue future opportunities.”

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