Zoobean makes its case at White House Demo Day

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce
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Jordan Lloyd Bookey and Felix Lloyd
own Zoobean. Photo courtesy Zoobean

Jordan Lloyd Bookey and Felix Lloyd aren’t running for president, but they already have made it to the White House.

The couple was invited to the first White House Demo Day, at which entrepreneurs from across the country had the chance to showcase their innovations.

Bookey and Lloyd are the founders of Arlington-based Zoobean, which offers an early literacy tool for libraries and helps parents find the right books for their children. Zoobean was the only Virginia startup among the 32 companies selected for the event.

“It’s like being part of a trade show, but you are in the White House,” says Bookey. “They let us know a week before the event that we could set up our booth.”

Bookey and Lloyd founded Zoobean in 2013. They began their careers as educators. Bookey is the former head of Google’s K-12 Education Outreach team. Lloyd’s first entrepreneurial venture was a financial literacy game, MoneyIsland, which was bought by BancVue.

Zoobean’s core service is Beanstack, which provides families with learning tips, tools to log reading sessions, book and app recommendations and special badges tied to local library programs.

“Our first partner was the Sacramento Public Library,” says Bookey. “We now have about 50 different partners around the country and in Canada.”

The company also started Beanstack for Summer Reading, a service involving the Montgomery County Library in Maryland. “They had a 25 percent increase in registrations from their previous summer so we consider that a success,” Bookey says.

She nominated her husband to attend Demo Day after reading about the event. “Over 2,000 companies were nominated to attend,” she says. “We got a phone call, and they said they were interested in having us come.”

During the event, the couple had a chance to pitch their company to potential investors and talk with Obama administration officials.

“There were a lot of people there that would be more like strategic partners,” she says. “We’re making a lot of networking connections, and we have a lot of things in the works. Three or four real opportunities have emerged and are in the pipeline.”

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