Tech Pitch: Smartzer

Backed by high-profile angels and favoured by brands such as M&S and Land Rover, this shoppable video start-up offers a new form of online advertising...

Company name: Smartzer
Founders: Karoline Gross (27)
Background: Has worked in fashion, retail and film. Previously founded a video production company called Blackpearl Pictures.
Based in: London

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Smartzer has created interactive video players where viewers can click on products to see more information, to shop or to sign up for notifications within the video. This is paired with an analytics platform with detailed data on how consumers interact with videos.

Businesses that use our service benefit from:

  • Increased sales
  • Detailed interaction analytics and information on customers
  • Insight to make better future videos

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Investment in video content is increasing sharply but brands are vexed by how to make money or capture useful data from video. Current players predominantly use pre-rolls or banner ads for monetisation of video.

There is some analytics capability available but it’s limited to number of views with generalised demographics. Current technology doesn’t provide what brands need – it is limited and deeply unsophisticated – leading to the frustration that it is near impossible to calculate returns on investment in video content.

Furthermore, the recent growth in ad-blocking has impeded the ability for brands to make money through traditional forms of online advertising, making the need for alternatives even stronger. Brands need alternative solutions to monetise their content and they need ways to calculate video return-on-investment.

Are you funded?

Yes, we have raised £650,000 so far from angel investors.

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What were you doing before starting?

I was initially studying Medicine at King’s College London, followed by Pharmacology, Fashion Design and Film Studies. Through this journey, I ended up working with video content through a video production company I founded in Los Angeles, which led to the initial concepts of Smartzer.

I then decided to complete the MSc Technology Entrepreneurship degree at UCL to help with setting up the business. The company was officially set up half-way through the degree, where us winning the UCL Bright Ideas Award and securing initial angel investment enabled us to start building Smartzer.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

In my opinion, people are the most important part of building a great company. Therefore, one of the best things about being based in London is access to talent, both from a programming and business perspective.

London is becoming more and more established in the worldwide start-up scene, which further attracts smart and driven people to this city.

Smartzer featured in’s index of the top 20 new businesses of 2014, to find out more click here.


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