CTA Announces $10 Million Fund for Women and Diverse Founders

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has announced that it will invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color and other underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs.

CTA’s multi-million dollar fund targets the disproportionate amount of venture capital that women and minority-led companies receive. In 2017, women received nearly 2.2 percent of the available venture capital funding which totaled $85 billion.

“To continue to evolve and grow, the tech industry needs more equal access to venture funding,” said CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro in a press release. “Various research reports indicate diverse teams make better decisions and achieve greater profits. At CTA, this is one more tool we are deploying to help promote diversity in the technology industry.”

CTA has previously been criticized for having gender-bias and a lack of diversity at its events.

Lora DiCarlo, a women-focused company, was supposed to receive an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but the CTA, stripped the company of its award after determining the company’s Osé robot did not fit into any of the award’s product categories.

Although it is unclear whether or not the fund is in response to the controversy, Lora DiCarlo Founder and CEO, Lora Haddock, called out the event for allowing robot sex dolls and virtual reality porn showcases on the floor of the show.  However, Lora DiCarlo is still prohibited from presenting on the floor of CES this year.

“CES and the CTA have a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards – much like the tech industry as a whole,” Haddock said in a post. “From the exclusion of female founders and executives to the lack of female-focused products allowed to exhibit on the floor – there are demonstrable issues with diversity.”

AfroTech has reached out to CTA for comment.

 

CES Revokes Innovation Award For A Sex Tech, Women’s Health Startup

Lora DiCarlo, a women-focused sex-tech company, was supposed to receive an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), stripped the company of its award after determining that the company’s Osé robot did not fit into any of the award’s product categories.

Lora DiCarlo’s Osé is a hands-free, micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers. 

“The product referenced does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program,” Samantha Doherty, CTA spokeswoman said. “CES does not have a category for sex toys. CTA had communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo nearly two months ago and we have apologized to them for our mistake.”

The CTA also cited its rules stating, “Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.”

Lora DiCarlo has also been prohibited from presenting on the floor of CES. In past conventions, robot sex dolls and virtual reality porn showcases have been acceptable enough to present at CES.

“Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR porn in point of pride along the aisle,” Lora Haddock, founder and CEO of Lora DiCarlo, said in a post on the company’s website. “Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outrighted banned. You cannot pretend to be unbiased if you allow a sex robot for men but not a vagina-focused robotic massager for blended orgasm.”

Haddock called it “insulting and ridiculous” that her company’s biomimicry device was ineligible for the Robotics and Drone category.