founder

Founder Profile: STEM Toys To Inspire A New Generation Of Female Coders

Summary

At Time Of Publication, June 10, 2019, SmartGurlz had raised $192,821 of the $1.07M Max Round
Recently KingsCrowd Co-Founder and COO Sean O’Reilly sat down with the Sharmi Albrechtsen CEO and Founder of SmartGurlz.

Below is a revised transcript of their conversation.
Chris Lustrino

What can you tell our readers about your plans to enter the $40B education market with SmartBuddies?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

We have signed a deal with Pitsco, one of the largest and most established schools’ distribution companies in America. They worked exclusively with LEGO for more than a decade and was the educational arm of LEGO until 2014.

 In 3 weeks, we will be launching our new school product, SmartBuddies at the US conference for education called ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). We just completed a 250 student pilot with flying colors and are so excited to enter this massive market with the only coding/STEM product focused on diversity and inclusivity. We expect to sell more than half a million dollars worth of product this year.

Chris Lustrino

We were excited to learn of your licensing deal with TV’s ‘Odd Squad’ - can you tell us how that came about and what your hope is for the partnership?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

After Shark Tank, we were looking for the right media partner. We were approached by PBS who had seen our products in the media and wanted to find a collaborative partnership because of our educational mission. Odd Squad is the second most popular show on PBS, next to Sesame Street and fits perfectly with our brand – the show is about female empowerment, diversity, STEM and most importantly MATH!  We have a signed licensing agreement with Odd Squad and are currently in the development of new products and apps for this exciting new

Chris Lustrino

How was your experience been as part of Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

Morgan Stanley is investing $200,000 and has invited us to work out of their Times Square offices for 6-months while we work through their Multicultural Innovation Lab. It has been amazing to work from one of the largest investment banks in America and learn from some of the top professionals in the country. It’s like a mini-MBA from Harvard!

Chris Lustrino

So KingsCrowd rated SmartGurlz with our coveted “Top Deal” Rating last June. Now, almost a year later, are there any notable changes to your business?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

Yes, since last year we now have inroads into a massive new market Educational Tech, where we have a clear Product Market Fit. Our pilot 250-student pilot showed massive interest from both the children and their teachers and we expect that our unique take on STEM – focusing on diversity and inclusivity is very timely and will lead to both a profitable and stable business.  

 With our consumer business, signing a licensing deal with TV exposure is also something new this year – and it means we get exposure to both girl and boy fans (7 million fans) of the show Odd Squad but also it gives us in-roads into Big Box retailers who are mostly interested in licensed products with TV shows or Films attached to them.

Chris Lustrino

What can you tell us about your plans for new products going forward?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

We have our own Consumer content franchise opportunity with Girls Meet Mars. We will launch a media property that supports our mission of female empowerment in STEM and the importance of computer science and coding.

 We are negotiating a contract with Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh, the executive producer of Phineas and Ferb (hit show on Disney) who will write and produce our bible, scripts and sizzle with the idea that we sell it to media companies such as NetFlix. This franchise will include an animated series, podcasts, e-books and all new collectible product line.

Chris Lustrino

How are things looking for 2019 from a revenue growth perspective?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

We expect the same growth in 2019 from 2018 with accelerated growth in 2020, thanks to the launch of SmartBuddies in schools world-wide but also our Odd Squad range for Big Box.

Chris Lustrino

Any advice for future entrepreneurs with all you’ve learned since starting SmartGurlz?

Sharmi Albrechtsen

Yes. Perseverance is key, start-ups are a roller-coaster and our team has been amazing – we all believe in SmartGurlz and the opportunities — even when we had dark days  – for example, when we did not get a Big Box partner! We re-grouped and found an opportunity in licensing with PBS, which allows us back into Big Box such as Barnes and Noble and Walmart with a TV show.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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