This STEMinist Makes Robots to Make Coding Fun

Published on February 13, 2021

Meet Sharmi Albrechtsen, a brilliant STEMinist who has captured the hearts and malleable little minds of over 40,000 children. Her SmartGurlz and Smart Buddies robots offer children hands-on access to learn how to code. Companion “edutainment” online classes foster a sense of community and reinforce the message that coding – and STEM – is fun. A product line with eight different robots make things interesting and accessible to children around the globe.

Many entrepreneurs found companies, but few can make the claims that Albrechtsen can. Not only did she teach Sir Richard Branson how to code using her robots, but she also turned down an offer on Shark Tank! “The terms just weren’t favorable,” she said. Despite competing with tens of thousands of companies to get a slot on the show and actually making the final cut to have her episode air live on television, she walked away from the offer.

As founders, we love our babies and other founders get that, but investors aren’t like us and don’t think about the same things that we do like mission and purpose. They only think about returns. Fundraising is really challenging because investors are looking for the next unicorn and they expect these amazing returns to make up for all the other companies that they invested in and failed.

Sharmi Albrechtsen, founder of Smart Buddies

Albrechtsen is a female founder on a roll. To date, she’s raised $2.7 million dollars, appeared on Good Morning America and Smart Buddies Camp-in-a-Box was named as the best coding camp by Good Housekeeping.

“Everyone goes after venture capital, but the reality is that women only raise 2% of VC money,” said Albrechtsen. Consumer goods companies creating material products, like Smart Buddies robots, can do well pursuing alternate forms of funding. Undaunted, she hosted two crowdfunding campaigns; one is currently ongoing at WeFunder. For only $100, investors can get a share in the company plus get engaging investor reports and have opportunities to interact directly with Albrechtsen and her team.

Want to hear more about her exciting ascent into territory that few founders have reached? Then tune into our Grit Daily Like a Boss podcast. Albrechtsen shares tips, insights and talks about why luxe Valentino combat boots are her go-to-style. Listen HERE.

Dr. Loralyn Mears is a Columnists and Podcast host at Grit Daily. She is a content marketer, founder of the HRtech startup, STEERus, specializing in personalized training and coaching in soft skills. In her consultancy practice, she helps companies with their go-to-market strategies, content and more. Loralyn spent over a decade playing with mosquito DNA, got her PhD, decided she would rather market science than be at the bench and has never looked back. Along the way, she’s wined and dined her way around the globe. She's authored two books, including the 2018 Gold Medal Indie Book award-winning, One Sip At a Time: a Memoir and the hard science thriller, "The Battle for Humanity: How Science Saved Us."  Check out Grit Daily's LIKE A BOSS podcast which features fascinating guests with snappy insights!

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