SmartGurlz entered the Shark Tank with their line of coding robots and dolls for girls. The toys teach Java-script based block coding and are the only ones of their kind on the market. They pair with an app you can control with a Smartphone that connects not only to the doll, but the Siggy robot that drives like a Segway. It helps girls learn STEAM- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math- subjects in a fun way.
We interviewed founder Sharmi Albrechtsen who said they have sold 10,000 to date. As of now, the products are available on Amazon and their website, but she hopes to partner with big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart in the future.
Here’s what else she told us about…
How the Idea Came About
My 8-year old daughter was struggling in math and one of her main comments was “When am I ever going to use this?” Coding is great for showing applied math, but when I brought home a building set and coding kit, she smiled politely and put it in her closet. This is when I had my ‘aha’ moment that a product geared towards her play patterns such as doll play, role model play, dress up and creative story telling.
Their Bestseller – Zara, the Computer Hacker
I am proud to say that our African-American doll and Siggy robot set, Zara has sold-out and we have hundreds of pre-purchase customers. She is a sassy, computer hacker and kids love her! No worries, though I have a container of Zara on its way to our warehouse right now.
The ‘Tank’ Experience
I was so nervous before I got into the Tank but honestly when I was in the Tank, the Sharks were really friendly and super professional. My two young assistants Isabelle and Leah did a great job and we made a little dream team.