Smartzer – Founder Interview

Smartzer is a shoppable video technology that allows viewers to click on items in videos to make instant purchases, or to add the items to their personal wish list. The technology is currently focused on online fashion and retail videos.We got to have a little firechat with the founder. This is what she said to us:

Karoline Gross   In the photo: Karoline Gross the founder and Ceo of Smartzer

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Karoline Gross, I currently run a fashion technology startup called Smartzer. 

2. So what’s your startup name about?

Smartzer originates from the initial idea of making tv smarter, by adding an interactive element to TV shows and movies. A number of different names were explored. Taking into account limitations of available .com names, trademarks and social media handles, a previously nonexistent word ‘Smartzer’ was chosen.

3. Blood, sweat and tears, tell us something about that

There have definitely been the latter two involved literally. I am sure anyone building a startup knows the endless hurdles that come about throughout the process. For me a majority of these have come about through inexperience and naive decision making. However, quick learning and extreme persistency have finally started to pay off.


4. What will the product do for the user?

The end product allows fashion and retail customers to make seamless purchases from fashion videos featuring products. Instead of having to filter through numerous pages with products to find the items featured in videos, they can now add the items to their basket without leaving the video page.

Ultimatley users can make wishlists of their favourite  while retail businesses get a frictionless way to showcase products using videos get detailed analytics.

Hard to get here but we managed to put all it is need in this powerful product. Talking about blood, sweat and tears!

.5. What makes this business and product unique?

We are different from other video tagging companies in focusing solely on fashion and retail and solving a very specific problem for these particular industries. Hence our product is highly customisable and constantly changing alongside industry needs.

6. One thing that you would improve if I gave you a 1M Dollars?

We would like to improve our product even further, so we would hire additional brilliant developers to speed up our technical roadmap… (see below…20 screens and counting)

10405528_589160284533954_3543157668412989004_n   In the photo: John Brankin (CTO)

7. Who is your competition?

Our competitors are large retail and e-commerce brands who are creating alternative solutions to selling products featured in videos, such as listing products alongside videos, and basic forms of shoppable videos. We would also see Youtube video annotations as a form of competition.

8. How do advances in technology affect your product and business?

Our product is constantly evolving alongside advances in other technologies and changes in the industries we target. This can both create new challenges, but more often new opportunities to improve our product even further.


9. What are the critical elements of your marketing plan?

Being a B2B business, critical elements are ensuring coverage in industry press, as well as forming strong partnerships with key channels.

10. How large is the customer base?

Our customer base cannot be defined with strict terms, as our technology can be applied to a variety of other verticals from travel to automotive and education.


11. How many employees do you have?

Currently we have a team of six.

12. What’s your credo, what drives your life

I very much enjoy solving problems, which come about on a daily basis when running a startup. I am extremely driven by the goal of succeeding in things, even if this takes a long time to accomplish.

13. What do you do to relax/off time/ to cool down?

I try to make an effort to squeeze in time where I completely cut myself off work for a couple of days. I would normally take a couple of days and go visit a new place to do this.

FR0C7983   In the photo: Karoline Gross (CEO) with Emma Ghosh (Head of Business Development)

14. What impact do you aim to have with your company?

I would be very happy to see that our product has helped another company to improve their processes and increase revenue – to see that we have solved an actual problem and changed the way people shop and interact with videos.

15. What do you rock at? / What’s your thing?

I am good at bringing great people together and building a team, and this is one of the great strengths behind Smartzer – a great motivated team working towards our goal.

Instagram Smartzer

About the Author /

Monica Isaza is a Colombian born U.S. Diplomat and Design Strategist. Combining her passion for art, design and traveling she has worked in diverse fields from textile design in Bangladesh to jewelery design in Miami to diplomacy in China, Belgium and Italy. She holds a M.S in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons School of Design and a BA on Global and International Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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