Here’s the pitch deck Smartrr’s CEO used to raise $10 million, despite VCs discouraging her from fundraising while she was pregnant

Gabriella Tegen.
  • Smartrr, a startup building subscription-enablement software, raised a $10 million Series A.
  • Smartrr CEO Gabriella Tegen says she felt that she had to hide her pregnancy while fundraising.
  • Smartrr, which works with Shopify-powered brands, shared its pitch deck with Insider.

As Smartrr’s cofounder and CEO, Gabriella Tegen, went about pitching and obtaining funding for her retail subscription technology startup, she said that she often felt she had to hide her pregnancy because she worried about the impact it would have.

Tegen said some venture capitalists had told her it wasn’t the right time to fundraise. Despite that, she completed the fundraising process in three months and closed a $10 million Series A round in the first week of January, just a few days after she gave birth to her daughter.

“I had a variety of messages, from conversations with VCs — from some really supportive funds like Canvas with whom we ended up partnering — but also was told by a number of VCs that it wasn’t the right time to fundraise, that people would not want to give us capital knowing that I was expecting,” Tegen told Insider. “It is what it is.”

Smartrr, which builds technology for Shopify merchants, announced the deal on February 15. The funding round was led by Canvas Ventures and included participation from Expa and Nyca Partners, which also invested in Smartrr’s 2020 seed round. Smartrr has raised $17 million in venture funding in total and is valued at $45 million, according to PitchBook.

Smartrr’s software allows shoppers to manage their subscriptions, giving them the option to edit the frequency of their shipments, skip one altogether, gift subscriptions to others, and more.

Smartrr’s clients include “hundreds” of Shopify-powered direct-to-consumer brands such as Starface, Avaline, and Jolie, a company representative said. Brands that use Smartrr’s products also get access to analytics software with data about their active subscribers and the revenue they generate from subscriptions.

Tegen said Smartrr, which has just over 30 employees, plans to use the new funding to continue expanding its products.

While the company started with software that would allow Shopify merchants to sell their products on a subscription basis, it plans to broaden its focus to memberships and other features that can help brands retain customers.

Online brands have seen their customer-acquisition costs rise in recent years as Apple made changes to iOS that have made Facebook advertising less effective. Economic uncertainty has also led brands to seek ways to make more money from existing customers and keep them coming back for more.

Smartrr’s goal is to help brands improve the lifetime value of their customers, Tegen said.

“It’s an on-brand customer experience, post-sale, that lets them engage with social media and the brand directly,” Tegen said. “It’s rewards that, quite literally, reward these consumers for being loyal customers. It’s referrals so that those loyal customers can go and then redeem points or cash for referring their friends and families to the product.”

Smartrr shared the pitch deck it used to raise its Series A round. Check it out below:

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