EXCLUSIVE: Los Angeles: 23 Year Old Woman Launches Smartzer, A Startup That Will Change Video Forever

smartzer, tv, kevin harrington, Karoline Gross, Nibletz

23 Year Old Karoline Gross Is The Founder Of The New Video Platform Smartzer (photo: K. Gross)

This story has wow written all over it and Nibletz, the voice of startups everywhere else has it first.

With all the innovation in video in the past few years we knew it was a matter of time before someone, some company or some startup would find a way to hot link or link map products in videos, like product placements, to actually make them clickable and then purchasable. We didn’t know it would be a 23 year old woman from Los Angeles that would do it. That’s exactly what Karoline Gross and her startup Smartzer are doing.

Imagine watching a movie or an episode of one of your favorite shows and seeing an iPad or some cool new iPad charging cradle you haven’t seen before. When the Smartzer officially launches this fall, and the video content is Smartzer enabled you will be able to click that iPad or iPad charger and see more in-depth information about the product or purchase it. This is what people like Kevin Harrington, CEO of “As Seen On TV” has been dreaming about.

When the technology launches producers will have to integrate the Smartzer system into their videos in order for it to work, but with the progress Gross has made so far, and the fact that she’s in Los Angeles meeting with studio executives all the time, it won’t be too long until we see this technology on the big three networks. You will be able to use your smartphone to watch tv and interact with tv  for more than just checking in and redeeming deals, you’ll be able to click, look and buy.

You like the jacket Ryan Seacrest is wearing on Idol, click, look, buy. You like the dress your favorite star is wearing on the red carpet, click, look buy. What about that song in Glee, click, look, buy. Yes we knew it was coming and Smartzer is setting the pace.

We got a chance to catch up with the busy 23 year old entrepreneur and here’s what she had to tell Nibletz about herself and her amazing startup:

More after the break

Briefly tell us what is Smartzer?

“Smartzer is a mobile application, which enables interactivity on any online video. Interactive actions include social media actions, information and location actions, as well as email links, and direct purchase option of items featured in the video.”
Who are the co-founders and what are your backgrounds?
Karoline Gross – Founder
Karoline Gross has an extensive background in entertainment, media, retail sales, and business from the United States, United Kingdom and Scandinavia.
Ms. Gross graduated with a BSc in Medicine and Pharmacology from King’s College London. However, she quickly changed her career direction into TV and film industry in the United Kingdom, working on several major productions including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, An Education, Law and Order UK and many more. She then worked in sales at Abercrombie & Fitch and Harrods in Knightsbridge, as well as compelted an internship with designer Todd Lynn, followed by a fashion design course at Central St.Martins. She then moved to Los Angeles, completing a diploma at New York Film Academy, and setting up a production company, Blackpearl Pictures, focusing on documentaries aimed at Finnish the audience.
She then progressed into media, and development of the mobile application, Smartzer, which utilises all her previous experience.
Steven Kimmel – Board Advisor
Steven Kimmel has been a Senior Managing partner for the last thirty years in the Fashion Apparel Industry. As CEO, both in the United States as well as Hong Kong, he has a very clear Global view of the world.  Through his unique talents of Finance, Management, Marketing, Manufacturing, and Fashion,he has built a strong reputation of being able to make things happen.  His passion is to find and mentor young entrepreneurial companies trying to “break out” and bring them to market.

What are the differentiators from smartzer and other tv/video based products on the market today
The current consumer trends (increased use of social media, increased smartphone and tablet sales, increased e-commerce, need for stronger engagement with video content) indicate a need for a service such as Smartzer, however they have not yet been provided with one.
Currently there are a few applications heading in the same direction as Smartzer, providing a social aspect or simple links as a part of video viewing. Smartzer provides a new level of user experience for both general users watching Smartzer enabled content, as well as producers adding Smartzer to their content.
The main new aspect Smartzer is bringing is the purchasing and home delivery option directly from the video content, simply by entering your password. Current ‘video links’ would only direct you to the seller’s webiste.
 Have you had any challenges as a female entrepreneur can you offer any advice to other female entrepreneurs and women owned startups out there?
I have indeed, being a young female entrepreneur definitely does complicate things to a fair extent. I personally have experienced not being taken seriously based on my age and looks, and had previous business partners interested in things other than just business.
However, at the end of the day, if you have developed a great product, which you are driven and passionate about, you will find people who will look past your age and gender and recognise a vast potential. And these are the people you want to work with.
Advice I would offer, is to remain confident in what you do. Yes, females are a slight mintory in the startup field, especially when it comes to technology, but that does not mean that you would be any less capable of being succesful
Have you noticed over the past few years that LA is growing and thriving in the startup space?
Los Angeles not as much, however Silicon Valley as we all know big time. I do belive that Los Angeles will become more popular for startups similar to Smartzer which require several meetings with studios, production companies and advertising agencies which are all based in Los Angeles.
When are you launching?
We are planning a launch in September 2011, prior to Fashion Weeks fall 2011.
Your website describes three key parts to your business can you briefly describe each part
Yes we have three components to the App:
User: This is an app for the general public to watch Smartzer enabled content and interact with it.
Producer : This will initially be released for professional users (production companies, studios etc) and shortly after for the general public to edit Smartzer actions to their own videos on Vimeo or Youtube for example.
Seller: This is an app for initially large retailers and brands to enter their products into Smartzer database, so that producers can then enter them into their videos. Eventually Smartzer seller will be available for approved individual sellers. The seller option also offers real time tracking of sales and other extremely valuable data for retailers.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned along the way developing smartzer
To be extremely selective when it comes to choosing future business partners.
FUN QUESTION: What do your parents think you do?
As far as I know they are not quite sure actually. I have done so many different things, they cannot keep on track with it all. They are both in the medical field, and the whole startup and technology world is very distant  and strange to them. But they are supportive so far!
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