Amazon’s Alexa Fund Among Investors in Popular Online Reading Tracker Beanstack From Zoobean

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Shark Tank Investor Mark Cuban and Others Invest in Growing Startup; Company will use new funds to integrate voice technology into software and mobile app

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We’ve been impressed with Beanstack’s ability to motivate readers and help them track progress, and to give libraries access to modern tools that make reading more fun and engaging for people of all ages.

Zoobean, the creator of the popular software for facilitating reading challenges Beanstack, today announced new investments from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Shark Tank Investor Mark Cuban, Jo and Elizabeth Tango, EAI Technologies, Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey, and Neil Jaffe of Booksource. These funds will be used to integrate voice technology into the Beanstack software and mobile app and grow its use by schools, libraries and families. To date, Beanstack is licensed by more than 1,000 schools, libraries and corporations.

The Alexa Fund—named for Alexa, Amazon’s cloud‑based voice service–invests up to $200 million in developers, manufacturers and start‑ups exploring unique or novel applications of voice technology. The program seeks out startups looking to use tools like Alexa Skills Kit or the Alexa Voice Service and provides them with the resources and support they need to grow their businesses.

“The Alexa Fund was created to support promising startups embracing voice technology and exploring new and compelling uses for Alexa,” said Paul Bernard, director of The Alexa Fund. “We’ve been impressed with Beanstack’s ability to motivate readers and help them track progress, and to give libraries access to modern tools that make reading more fun and engaging for people of all ages. We’re excited to see how they use voice to extend that mission and further develop lifelong readers.”

Mark Cuban became an initial investor in Zoobean after its founders, Jordan Lloyd Bookey and Felix Brandon Lloyd, impressed him with their vision and product on Shark Tank in 2013. In April of this year, Zoobean returned to the show as a featured alumnus during Shark Tank’s School Sweepstakes.

“Over the past six years, I have worked with Jordan and Felix as they have grown and developed Zoobean, demonstrating their ability to pivot their approach to ensure that the company is successful in helping schools and libraries create a culture of reading,” said Cuban. “It’s exciting to follow their progress as they take Beanstack to the next level, to reach an increasing number of kids and families.”

Studies reveal that as much as 95 percent of children currently overuse screen time—implying a growing need for children and adults to increase their “reading fitness.” Described as a “Fitbit for reading,” Beanstack is designed to motivate reading by easily tracking reading time, completed books, and achievements. In addition, the software provides library and school administrators with tools for customizing reading challenges and gaining actionable data on independent reading.

“Our research shows that a growing base of our most active users do their independent reading in settings where Alexa devices are commonly located, such as the living room or kitchen,” said Zoobean Co‑founder Felix Brandon Lloyd. “By integrating Alexa’s voice technology into Beanstack, we will make it easier for readers of all ages to track their reading and increase their overall engagement, and to better provide school and library leaders with real numbers to measure outcomes.”

About Zoobean
Zoobean is the creator of Beanstack ( ), a web application and mobile app that facilitate reading challenges for libraries and schools. Librarians, educators, and families use Beanstack to track independent reading, gain data‑driven insights, and stay motivated to read. The company was founded by Google’s former head of K ‑12 education and Washington, D.C.’s former “Teacher of the Year.” Today, Beanstack is licensed by more than 1,000 schools, libraries, and organizations across the United States, Canada, Australia, and military bases worldwide.

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Lisa A Wolfe
L. Wolfe Communications
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