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SmartGurlz

smartgurlz Sharmi Albrechtsen wants a Shark to invest in SmartGurlz, her robot riding dolls that teach girls to code. She created the toy to get her own daughters interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Girls, as a result of gender bias in toy marketing and many other cultural factors, are far less likely to become engineers, computer programmers and other STEM related professionals. Albrechtsen recognized this bias and built a toy for girls that girls want to play with.

Like it or not, girls like playing with dolls. Many STEM toys, while supposedly “gender neutral,” are still more skewed toward the male mindset: trucks, cars, “masculine” robots, etc. Ms. Albrechtsen took the idea of a robotic vehicle and turned it into a brightly colored scooter with a doll riding on top.

Kids (girls) program the scooter through an app on a phone or tablet using basic coding skill sets in the Smartgurlz program. Kids can set up “missions,” retrieve objects, and even map out a course through the app. The toy engages girls (and a lot of their brothers too if you believe the press) and hopefully gets them more interested in STEM as a result.

There are four Smartgurlz characters: Jen – a mechanical engineer, Jun – a “chemistry star,” Zara – a “tech wizard,” and Maria – a “math genius.” Each girl drives a “Siggy” which is the programmable scooter the dolls ride. A scooter and doll runs $79.99. Sharmi likely wants exposure for the toys and a strong retail presence in appropriate toy retailers bot online and off.

Will a Shark get with the program and back this STEM toy?

SmartGurlz Company Information

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SmartGurlz Shark Tank Recap

Sharmi enters the Tank with two young girls seeking $200,000 for 5%. She gives her pitch, tells her story and demonstrates the toys. After her pitch, she invites the Sharks on stage to try them out. Richard is first up and, to his surprise, he gets a doll of himself. In fact, Sharmi has dolls with the likenesses of all the Sharks. Once the Sharks settle back into their seats, the two young girls teach Richard how to code. Once Richard sits down, the questions come. She’s only been in business six months and she has $250,000 in sales. Each unit costs $18 to make and sells for $79.99.

Daymond likes it, but he makes a Sharky offer of $200,000  for 30%. He wants to license the toys. Robert thinks the toy business is tough; he’s out. Lori says Daymond’s offer is the way to go; she’s out. Richard doesn’t think he can contribute; he’s out. Mark is the last Shark out and Sharmi counters Daymond with $200,000 for 20%. They eventually agree on $200,000 for 25%.

SmartGurlz Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. As usual, this company saw a huge uptick in sales after airing. The deal with Daymond never closed, but that didn’t stop Sharmi. 2018 sales were $1.2 million. In 2019, she raised another $525,000 on WeFunder. Also in 2019, she partnered with Pitsco Education to make SmartBuddies, an online coding curriculum for 3rd through 5th graders. Pitsco sells its curricula to schools all over the USA. The contract required Pitsco to purchase $5.5 million in product over three years. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they made the curriculum online – something that won’t go away after it’s over. As of  June 2021, the company is going strong and Sharmi estimates they’ll finish the year with over $20 million in sales.

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