We’re very pleased to feature our first breaking news and world exclusivity and this interview about the spray-on condom. It was in the end of 2006 that the idea of a spray-on condom was first presented to the press.
Now, almost 18 months later and shortly before the scheduled release date we could speak with Jan Vinzenz Krause, the inventor of the spray-on condom and learned that:
Apart from the problems about the spray-on condom technique, we talked about a new technology, about embarking on a journey as an inventor and the future of the condom industry.
You can also have a look at our previous article about the spray-on condom:
Condomunity: Mr Krause, how did you get into the condom business?
“In a nutshell: with the current technical possibilities available, the spray-on condom sadly cannot be realised.”
Jan Krause: It all started with a very personal problem: when I was sixteen, I wanted to buy some condoms, but I had no idea which ones to take. The shop-assistant wasn’t very helpful either, and so I started my own research. A few years later, as a trainee at Mapa, a manufacture of plastic and rubber products including condoms, in Zewen, Germany, I was able to take a closer look at the condom industry. It was then that I had the idea to develop an online-consultant.
During my time at university, I had become increasingly aware that men would probably be more willing to wear condoms, if they found one that would fit properly. With this vision I entered the condom market and it has turned out to be important to this day.
The spray-on condom: Idea
Condomunity: How did you hit upon the idea to develop a spray-on condom?
Jan Krause: It was a direct result of my vision to develop the perfect condom for men. Perfect means that the condom has a neat fit, sits comfortably, can barely be felt and still is very safe. On doing my speeches and talking to students and sexual consultants, I was once asked why there was no condom that fits the man and not the other way round. All these thoughts finally led to the idea of the spray-on condom.
Condomunity: What challenges or problems did you encounter with this technique?
Jan Krause: The main problem was the relatively long moulding time of fluid latex. It’s difficult to keep a penis erect for such a long time. Another challenge was the question as to whether a reservoir was needed or not. In my opinion you don’t necessarily need one. But beyond the technical niggles, there was also a legal hurdle: strictly speaking, the spray-on condom is not a condom in the classic sense and would therefore not have to comply with the existing norm.
In a nutshell: with the current technical possibilities available, the spray-on condom sadly cannot be realised. Such a product is yet to be put into practice.
Condomunity: Has the concept been changed over time?
Jan Krause: The concept has had three different phases so far, starting off with the idea mentioned earlier: how can you develop a condom that fits perfectly? My early steps were to experiment with a technique similar to that of the spray-on plaster, but it didn’t work. What followed was the idea with the chamber, received very favourably by the press. In this second phase, however, we realised that it wasn’t going to work.
We have therefore now embarked on a third phase where we are experimenting with an under-pressure technique. But presently I am more focused on other issues.
Condomunity: Could you tell us more about this under-pressure technique?
Jan Krause: I can’t tell you any more about it at the moment, I’m afraid.
Condomunity: How long did it take from the first concept to the actual production of the prototype?
Two weeks after the speech mentioned earlier that brought the spray-on condom into life, I went out and bought a bottle of Hansaplast and practised and experimented on a model. I can’t actually remember how much time expired between the concept and the actual prototype. It happened gradually, you see, and I didn’t take notes on a daily basis.
The spray-on condom: Development
Condomunity: Three things you wish you had known before you got started.
Jan Krause: The period of time after the publication of my concept for a spray-on condom was no doubt an exciting experience. I received lots of emails and feedback from people as far away as the USA and Asia who all seemed to be familiar with the problem of condoms that are either too small or too big. I can’t actually think of any other points.
Condomunity: Three tips for researchers or entrepreneurs.
If you have an idea and you are truly dedicated, stick to it. There will always be a lot of resistance from people who perhaps don’t share your knowledge or who might not always understand your idea. I believe that breakthroughs simply take their time. Therefore, my three tips or conditions that need to be given are: patience, obsession with what you are doing and stamina. You know, you can get tips everywhere, be it from numerous clever books or management consultants and so on; but internalising them takes time, it’s a maturing process.
Condomunity: Has the spray-on condom opened any doors for other projects and are you going to stay true to the condom business?
Jan Krause: Yes, the spray-on condom issue has led to various projects and because of the whole story, my name is now widely known, which makes many things a lot easier. “Mobile sex education” is a buzzword with sexual consultants: how can young people be taught the facts of life over their mobile phones? Other than that, I have developed a new consulting concept that helps men find a suitable condom among those currently available on the market. It relies on the knowledge we could gain on experimenting with the spray-on condom. You see, I work as a condom consultant and at the same time run Vinico, an online store. I’ll therefore definitely stay in this line of business. This is where my heart is – I find this field immensely exciting.
Condomunity: Three reasons why condoms should be best bought online.
Jan Krause: Anonymity is certainly one reason. There’s no need to go through the notorious “Tina, how much are the condoms?” at the supermarket, but you can take your time and select a suitable article anonymously. Besides, the range of products is much wider online. An average chemist will stock a maximum of 20 brands and many shops won’t even stock as many as that. Our online store, however, offers you the choice of over 120 different condoms and great variety accordingly. The third reason is comfort: You don’t need to pop down to the shop just for a packet of condoms, but you can make your order in the comfort of your own home.
The future of condoms
Condomunity: What do you predict for the development of the condom market?
Jan Krause: You can look at it from different perspectives. In my opinion, sales figures in Europe are declining and I don’t consider it to be a growth market. Just look at the strategies many of the condom producers such as Durex, Mapa and Condomi are following: they diversify with products such as lubricating gels and vibrators.
What I don’t understand is, why these companies have so far refrained from any joint advertising strategy in order to bring their product back to people’s attention. I believe that a joint effort in the condom business could draw people’s attention to the fact that the condom actually does have many advantages over the pill or other contraceptive methods in general, and therefore create another chance for growth in the condom industry.
Technically speaking, I can’t see any substantial improvement in the use of the product in the near future. There might be the odd innovator such as Durex, whose Durex Avanti Ultima has brought a new material to the market. However, on the whole, the condom industry is nowhere near as innovative as for instance the computer industry. It has been stuck in a rut since Fromm’s production of the first condom. A glass condom former is dipped into latex or another special mixture, but there has not been any revolutionary change comparable to the spray-on condom in the industry. And I don’t expect to see any innovations in that direction at the moment.