A case study based on the 7-Key Model Business Model Canvas

Background of the entrepreneurs

How to find a business idea? What is the motivation to start your own business and why becoming an entrepreneur?

Lukas Speiser and Alan Frei are the founders of Amorana. They first met during their studies at the University of Zürich. Before Amorana was founded in 2014, Lukas Speiser was working as an investment banker and Alan Frei managed the Start-Up Center at the University of Zürich. Before Alan Frei managed the Start-Up centre, he was also working as an investment banker. Both wanted to be independent and create their own business. In the beginning, they didn’t know which direction they should go, but after some brainstorm meetings, they agreed on making their business in e-commerce and in the erotic lifestyle area. The market hasn’t many suppliers at this time. And with their product, which is called Lovebox, they offered a unique product and entered the market. Alain Frei is also well known for his unique lifestyle. He is very minimalistic. For example, he owns only seven shirts and has one spoon, one fork, and one knife in his household.

I don’t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer. – Have better answers and get your sex toys.” That is the closing line of every email from the owner of Amorana. A person with a closing line like this really can’t lose anything.

Amorana is the biggest online shop for sex toys in Switzerland. The startup stands for qualitative, high-end lifestyle in the erotic area. They are specifically for couples, but they have all kinds of products. 

Here is what distinguishes Amorana:

  • Wide range of products in stock
  • Branded products of high quality
  • Products are well illustrated
  • Free shipping in Switzerland
  • Three months of return
  • Absolute discretion
  • Certified Swiss online shop for highest security


The core of a successful business model

In the beginning, they were interested in acquiring couples for their toys. That’s why they created Lovebox. Here is how it works: subscribers receive one box with different toys monthly. They started by sending emails to their friends with the Lovebox as a subscription. The next step was a huge PR campaign created by Alain Frei and his team. They went to the military and offered for the soldiers to send their girlfriend’s free sex toys. That PR campaign went directly to the newspaper 20 Minutes, and the next day they had an explosion in new deliveries. Amorana even had products on their website that they didn’t have in stock. Therefore, the customers had to wait longer for their products. After that, they received orders from other clients who had heard about Amorana products.  They mainly advertised through 20 Minutes. Once they did a study on who buys more sex toys, men or women, and sent it to 20 Minutes. With actions like these, they have gotten even more popular. Amorana does not just appeal to couples. They also appeal to all other kinds of clients who want try new things, which means going in an absolutely new direction, and to those who want to do something to break the routine and fight boredom in their sex lives. The products are for both genders — women and men. It’s very interesting that the main customer group is women between the ages of 25 and 45, and they are mostly well educated. To acquire new clients, they use different marketing channels and consistently test new methods. 

Products & Services

The service Amorana offers is sex toy sales online. They want to be known as a company that not only sells sex toys, but also inspires people to try new things sexually.

For Christmas, they made a special product — an advent calendar. It had 24 special gifts to try in one’s own sex life with or without a partner. Another aspect that is really interesting is that the Amorana website is not in the clichéd shape like other erotic shop websites. The online shop relies on pastel colours and shows couples in intimate, romantic togetherness. The product presentation seems more than an online shop for electronic products.


All about the revenue model and revenue streams, the financial plan and the financial goals

Amorana makes money from selling sex toys online, but also via monthly subscriptions for the Lovebox. They have more than 1,000 subscribers for the Lovebox. At Valentine’s Day, for example, they delivered as many as 2,000 offers. Meanwhile, the sales from Amorana are now in the double-digit millions (numbers from 2016).

Market Development

The marketing plan of the startup

Amorana started with the focus of having a mass-market product. That’s how Amorana started to enter the market. But they also did different small things in addition to that. That means they did a lot of PR. With PR, people talk about Amorana, which made for good advertising for the company as a startup.  One thing they did was make statistics from questions such as, “Which Cantons buys the most sex toys?” This is an example of the PR Amorana did. These things created a lot of traffic and generated a lot of topics for conversation. 


The company Amorana has a couple of different competitors. They are companies like KissKiss, Magic X, and Amorelie, but also companies like Galaxus that are now selling sex toys. Since the topic of erotic sex toys is no longer a taboo topic, more competitors want to enter the market.


At the beginning, they needed a website to start. They launched their website via the Internet and started. At first, they did not have an official stock or warehouse. Lukas Speiser started with one Ikea shelf in his living room. They would wait until an order came in and then write an email that it could take two or more days for the delivery to arrive. For the customers, this wasn’t a problem.  Amorana had the ability to buy the things after the order was placed, so they did not have to buy or rent a warehouse. Today the warehouse is located in Glattburg with an area of 600 square meters for all of their different products. Meanwhile, they have 17 full-time positions, including programmer, customer adviser, storage specialist, and marketing specialist. All these different kinds of employees are engaged by Amorana (numbers from 2016).

Key Learnings

“Never give up.” Alain Frei is an example that a person should never give up. In his career as an entrepreneur, he started more than 20 startups. Almost every idea he has, he tried to realize in a project. Also, while all the ideas failed until now, Amorana is a great success.

Co-Founders: Lukas Speiser & Alain Frei

Thanks to the authors from FHNW: M. Steck, L. Strauss

This article was edited from the original

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