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Whatever Happened To SmartGurlz After Shark Tank?

Arguably, a business owner's primary goal when appearing on "Shark Tank" isn't to secure funding, but to promote their product through the show's sizable platform. While walking away with a cash investment may be ideal, that doesn't always correlate directly with success. For instance, the owner of grooming brand S.W.A.G. Essentials exited her "Shark Tank" appearance no richer than she was before, but managed to quickly grow her business despite a lack of success with the Sharks. Meanwhile, plenty of contestants, like baked goods for dogs company Ry's Ruffery, have gone under in spite of the investments they secured on "Shark Tank."

SmartGurlz was featured on "Shark Tank" Season 9. The business sells Barbie-like dolls packaged with an easily-programmable, robotic scooter built for the dolls to ride. Founder Sharmi Albrechtsen explained that this product is a direct response to the fact that the majority of toys that teach kids science are marketed to those with typically masculine interests. SmartGurlz, then, are feminie-coded science-teaching toys meant to address this imbalance.

Albrechtsen ultimately negotiated a $200,000 investment for 25% equity in her company from Daymond John. Here's where her business stands today.

SmartGurlz has expanded well beyond its initial concept

In the years since featuring on "Shark Tank," SmartGurlz has ended up checking every box a business could hope to, securing a financial investment, growing in popularity, and expanding its scope considerably.

Currently, the lineup of toys SmartGurlz sells through their website is no different than those founder Sharmi Albrechtsen showcased during her TV appearance. Customers can choose between three characters, named Jun, Zara, and Jen, though at the time of this article's writing, the latter two dolls are sold out. That said, SmartGurlz has since spun off into what appears to be a larger-scale educational initiative called Smartbuddies. Customers on the Smartbuddies website can buy two of the three SmartGurlz dolls — albeit at a higher price point — in addition to a number of new characters, including three male-presenting figures. However, whereas SmartGurlz simply introduce their owners to coding through a proprietary app, Smartbuddies come packaged with an educational curriculum, including access to remote classes with a live instructor.

Nowadays, then, Albrechtsen maintains her original SmartGurlz business, while at the same time heading an expanded version of her original idea more broadly targeted toward STEM students at large. Given the extent to which the business has grown, SmartGurlz is a preeminent example of "Shark Tank" success story.