Arlington startup SmartGurlz will pitch on Shark Tank - Technical.ly DC

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Oct. 31, 2017 10:02 am

Arlington startup SmartGurlz will pitch on Shark Tank

Sharmi Albrechtsen created a doll and robot that teaches girls to code. The show is airing Nov. 12.
SmartGurlz dolls ride “Siggy,” a robot.

SmartGurlz dolls ride "Siggy," a robot.

(Photo via SmartGurlz)

SmartGurlz is bringing STEAM to ABC. On Nov. 12, D.C.-area parent and entrepreneur Sharmi Albrechtsen will pitch her 11-inch doll that rides a tiny segway and teaches girls to code on Shark Tank.

Albrechtsen told the Washington Business Journal that she and her husband began developing the company that became SmartGurlz in Europe last year, and relocated to the D.C. area from Copenhagen at the beginning of 2017.

They created “Siggy,” an app-controlled, self-balancing pendulum robot and 11-inch doll, allows girls ages 6 and up to have fun learning science, technology, engineering and math. There are five characters: Zara the tech wiz, Jen the teen mechanic, Jun the chemistry star, Maria the match whiz and Emma, a graphic artist.

“Statistics show that 95 percent of robot and drone sales are to men and that very few women/girls buy or play with robots,” Albrechtsen wrote in a blog post. “Not surprisingly, we have a shortage of women in engineering and computer sciences. This statistic became very real when a few years ago, I invested in a $150 robot building set for my younger daughter, Nina. Quite frankly, she rejected it.”

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Albrechtsen, who was named a 2017 Disruptor in Gender Inequality by Adweek, is based in Arlington, where she and her staff have ordered 20,000 products in preparation of the episode’s airing, WBJ reports.

DC-area entrepreneurs are no strangers to “Shark Tank”, like last year when DC entrepreneurs Ben Young and Gregory Coleman were handed $1.5 million for their workout app Sworkit

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