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BY Abu Mubarik, 9:25am June 12, 2024,

How this couple created the popular reading app Beanstack that has reached $5M in annual revenue

Lloyd and his wife Jordan Lloyd Bookey. Photo via Beanstack

Felix Brando Lloyd is the co-founder of edtech platform Beanstack, a startup created to support children’s reading growth and grow their overall love for reading. A report cited by Afrotech stated that only 33% of fourth-grade students could read at or above the basic reading level as of 2022.

Beanstack, one of the world’s easiest ways to keep track of all the books one reads, is hoping to become the leading solution for reading challenges in schools and libraries. It was initially started as Zoobean by Lloyd and his wife Jordan Lloyd Bookey, who was recruited to work as a K-12 talent and outreach manager at Google’s office in Pittsburgh.

Llyod has also worked in the public school system, starting as dean of students at the SEED Public Charter School, where he was named Washington, D.C.’s “Teacher of the Year.” Lloyd met his wife while they were both teaching at the SEED Public Charter School in Southeast D.C. It was the birth of their daughter in 2012 that inspired them to start something new together.

“The early idea for our company came one night when [me and Jordan] were reading a book to our 2-year-old son and soon-to-be big brother,” Lloyd explained to Afrotech. “He pointed to biracial characters on the page that looked like him and said, ‘That’s me, and that’s little sister.’ The power of reading was so clear. We immediately decided to put our backgrounds in education to work on a new business idea.”

Aside from motivating children to read, Beanstack provides librarians, teachers, and staff with data to aid in effectively working with students. When Beanstack started as Zoobean, it functioned like a book-of-the-month club.

In 2014, Lloyd and his wife Bookey made an appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank and received a $250,000 investment for a 25% stake from Mark Cuban. After Shark Tank, he and his co-founder changed their company’s business model from being a book-of-the-month business. This came on the heels of California’s Sacramento Public Library becoming the company’s first client. The library supported the launch of Beanstack, which works like a marketing company for libraries. The couple also worked with Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Libraries, during which period the usage of Beanstack for summer reading challenges grew.

“Through these new ideas, our purpose became clear—to empower libraries and schools to build a culture of reading through reading challenges and motivation tools for readers of all ages,” Lloyd said.

He continued, “The product featured on ‘Shark Tank’ is very different from what we offer today, but our mission, purpose, and goals remain the same. We help educators and librarians encourage reading by making it easy to employ gamification principles, including reading challenges, for their communities.”

Today, 15,000 public libraries and schools around the world use Beanstack. What is more, the company has generated around $5 million in annual revenue.

On the future of the company, Lloyd told Afrotech that he is “focusing on catering to schools’ and libraries’ needs such as updating requirements for logging reading progress and helping teachers to identify patterns and trends in students’ reading growth.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 12, 2024


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