Inspiring women: Karoline Gross
A former medical student, TV extra and fashion intern, Gross is now leading the way in interactive retail video with her innovative clickable video tech
Name: Karoline Gross
Founded: Smartzer in September 2014
Start-up elevator pitch: Smartzer makes online fashion and retail videos clickable and interactive, allowing viewers to find related content and purchase the products shown easily.
Industry: Fashion and retail
Funding raised: £630,000
Follow her: @smartzer
Who is Karoline Gross?
Gross’ background is certainly a varied one. While studying as a medical student at King’s College London and later completing a degree in pharmacology, Gross was also trying her hand at the arts, working as an extra in television shows and films such as Harry Potter.
A creative at heart, Gross went on to study fashion design at esteemed design school Central Saint Martins, worked as an intern for designer Todd Lynn, and moved to the US to pursue a course in film studies at New York Film Academy.
It was after this that Gross set up her first business; a video production company based in Los Angeles. While running the business she noticed that there was a disconnect between video content and related information online – travel videos, for example, would often feature stunning locations, but it would be difficult to find information and booking sites for these locations online.
This gave Gross the idea that sparked Smartzer – what if there was a technology that could make videos clickable, linking directly to related content? This evolved into making fashion and retail videos “shoppable” and interactive; linking directly to product pages in online stores, or more information about what’s being shown.
How has she won over investors?
Smartzer’s innovative clickable “hotspots” are enabling fashion and retail companies to offer their audiences interactive videos which are truly engaging, producing more click-throughs and higher conversion rates as a result.
With a strong presence in London and Paris, the business now boasts an impressive client list, which includes Marks & Spencer, Barbour, Land Rover, Puma, Whistles, and Joshua Kane.
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A testament to its success, the business has attracted an impressive £630,000 from angel investors – in a $400,000 round in October 2014 and a $250,000 round in March 2016 – and is about to close a Series A round, with which Gross plans to launch Smartzer in key European markets and the US.