New York's Museum of Sex – or MoSex – is one of a kind… like all great entrepreneurial ventures. In fact, that is precisely what caught serial entrepreneur Daniel Gluck's attention before he founded this unique, controversial, and lucrative venture.
From the onset of Mosex's founding in 2002, Gluck took a lot of heat from politicians and the press. But now Gluck's business is praised by fans and critics, produces lucrative returns, and has brought him investments from the likes of Bill Maher and Arianna Huffington.
But lets start from the beginning. The idea for MoSex came in 1998, during a creative brainstorming session. There was an ironic touch to the concept since, at the time, Mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration was busy scrubbing the smut out of Times Square.
I couldn't believe there wasn't anything like it already in the world," he says. "This seemed like such a large gap in the cultural landscape."
After market research proved this venture had serious potential, MoSex was born. From Day 1, Gluck faced opposition, as the state Board of Regents' refused to charter MoSex as a nonprofit organization (which is standard for any museum).
Why did the Board refuse this? Many members of the Board of Regents' felt that using "sex" in the same breath as "museum" makes a mockery of museums everywhere.
Like any Elite entrepreneur would do, Daniel Gluck rolled with the punches, and decided to create MoSex as a for-profit museum. And this did not bother him, as this was his original intent. But, private investors encouraged him to apply for nonprofit status.
Gluck expected that if his venture was subject to supervision from the Board, that they would undermine his mission to frankly explore "the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality”.
The public feud with the Board received heavy media coverage, which proved to be invaluable to the launch of Mosex. And since this launch day, growth has been constant with a 15 percent uptick in traffic each year.
Even more impressive is the fact that 5th Ave museum broke even operationally after the first year. Gluck predicts a profit of 15 to 20 percent of net for this year, and expects that percentage to double in 2013.
Gluck also reached out to public figures and celebrity icons to promote MoSex. Arianna Huffington, Sandra Bernhard and Bill Maher agreed to lend their names (and not surprisingly considering the conservative opposition to Gluck's business).
But to protect MoSex's reputation, Gluck banned any investors from the porn industry from investing with him. And by 2000, he was conducting the first of two rounds of financing; about 20 investors put up several million dollars.
Attractions can be very, very profitable places"
This year MoSex expects 200,000 paying visitors. One of the museum's LivingSocial campaigns sold 12,000 tickets in three days. And, there are plans for expansion. Gluck wants to take MoSex to the West Coast, specifically Las Vegas.
But before this can be done, Gluck wants to master the element of branding for the MoSex name. He has a leading team of consultants fusing MoSex's sophistication, scholarship and sexiness into a bold brand that can be marketed in just a few short sentences.
There are also expert luxury designers hired to create exhibitions and marketing materials that are more MoMA than Playboy. Gluck is busy devising a name and identity for a new restaurant and retail store while working with product-development experts about brand extensions.
In 2012, culture is dominated by sex appeal. Its about time that the culture of sex has been exploited for entrepreneurial purposes. There is money to be made, and innovations to be executed. And Daniel Gluck is the man leading the front with the Museum of Sex.