Sex Apps and Gender Gaps
Episode 27
November 10, 2020

Sex Apps and Gender Gaps

with Isharna Walsh, Founder & CEO of Coral

With a mission to give people easy and affordable access to a happier, healthier intimate life, Coral is a sexual wellness app that offers evidence-based guides created by experts. In this episode, the Founder and CEO of Coral, Isharna Walsh, shares with us her entrepreneurial journey from moving to Jakarta to launch a meal delivery startup, to landing a role at Steel House in LA, to working as an investor at Embark Ventures, and then leaving to start her own company, Coral. We dive into her experience working in management consulting, how she came up with the name Coral, and what it was like to raise over $3 million by talking to investors about sex.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How growing up in a multicultural home that valued high level professional careers led to a period of trial and error for Isharna, helping her to learn what types of jobs were not a good fit for her
  • Why she wanted to be a park ranger but went to Australia National University where she studied law and economics instead
  • How she worked in government in Australia, turned down a job offer at a prestigious law firm, and then worked in management consulting all while wondering what she really wanted to do
  • How she moved from Australia to Jakarta, Indonesia to build a health food company, what she learned there as a result, and why she left after only a year
  • How her interest in tech and the changes taking place in the tech world led her to the US where she started doing some freelance consulting work for an Australian start up, which led to her finding a position at Steel House in LA
  • What led Isharna to work as a venture capitalist with Embark Ventures in LA for a little over a year before her aha moment came that led to the start of Coral
  • How she came up with the name Coral and her experience  with talking to investors about funding an app to help people with their sex lives
  • How she raised over $3 million and what advice she has for entrepreneurs who are fundraising
  • What drives Isharna to keep building her company and how she continues to grow personally and professionally in very intentional and attainable ways
  • What great advice she has for raising funds, leading a team, and balancing life to remain capable of doing the best job possible and also enjoying it

To Find Out More:


“I was seeing all of these really profound shifts occurring and realized that that was sort of where I wanted to be in terms of my career.”

“When I think about hard power, I think about clear authority. And when I think about soft power, I think about influence essentially.”

“I've had two key sort of overarching passions in things. How can I create a business that does something good for the environment? How can I create a business that does something good for the way people feel?”

“I love diving and I kind of thought about sexuality like diving, in the sense of there's this whole that exists under the surface, and it's always there. It's always under the surface and you can choose to consciously go and take a look at it. And so that's where the name came from.”

“For those raising money in a taboo subject, I would say even more, it's a numbers game because there's just going to be a huge percentage of investors who don't get it, or don't want to get it. So it's going to be inherently more difficult to raise money, but that's part of what our competitive edge is.”

“I think it's just like the maintenance of energy in the face of continual rejection can be really difficult.”

“We are really touching people in quite a deep level and providing space for them that feels good for them. And so that is hugely motivating.”

“Part of entrepreneurship is backing yourself.”

“The ability to sort of roll with the punches and not take that out on your team and be understanding of them and their lives is quite important.”

“Essentially an entrepreneur's ability to understand themselves and understand what they need to recharge and perform to the best of their ability is super important.”

“I didn't come into this knowing how to do anything really, and I'm having to learn every step of the way.”

“I can create my own version of what success looks like, and it doesn't have to fit into the sort of white Silicon Valley bro box.”

“I think the path of entrepreneurship is filled with a lot of fear and some of that fear is helpful. It's like self-preserving. And some of that fear is self-defeating. It actually prevents you from doing what you really want to do.”

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