The founder of Silicon Valley’s first venture backed porn site Zivity, says the first port of call for kids wanting to learn about sex is Google and there needs to be a more controlled portal for search inquiries and related results.

Cyan Banister co-founded Zivity – a model/photographer interaction platform – in 2007 to build a ‘MySpace’ for pin-up nudes. After launch, much to the shock of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, the San Francisco-based startup received $8 million in series A funding by some of Silicon Valley’s highest profile investors.

Zivity did not have the hockey stick growth they had hoped for due to the content being too ‘soft’. They and their investors did not want to go down the hardcore route and decided the target demographic was too niche to scale and gave the cash back to the investors who spun off the funding into another startup that was not adult entertainment related.

Cyan has some interesting insight into the convergence (or lack of) between Silicon Valley and the adult entertainment industry; the shortage of porn startups in Silicon Valley is because of the ‘lack of an exit strategy’ according to Cyan. People often think that those in the adult industry must be making lots of money but that’s not actually true. ‘A lot of porn sites are going under because it’s very, very difficult to monetize, many YouTube type sites are serving up the content for free’. But Cyan thinks the adult entertainment industry is far from dead; ‘the innovation is coming around the user experience and interaction becoming more of a personal experience’.

Examples of personal interaction innovation can be found at startups like Extra Lunch Money, a site that is definitely NSFW but one way that content is becoming a unique experience by offering a digital marketplace for buyers to directly interact with adult content creators.

What Cyan would like to see in the industry is innovation around sex education. Gone are the days of awkward 80s high-school VHS tapes showing you where your clitoris is. Cyan says that the first port of call for children wanting to understand sex is Google and currently the results are over the top, pornographic and misrepresentative of ‘normal’ people having sex.

 Interview: Cyan Banister, founder of the first venture backed porn site, Zivity