From “Shark Tank” to Today

Since appearing on ABC's hit show “Shark Tank,” Beanstack has quickly become the leading solution for reading challenges in schools and libraries.

Zoobean co-founders Felix and Jordon Lloyd seeking investment on Shark Tank
Masthead Waves


Reading Culture Trailblazers

At the start of Read Across America month, nearly 500 schools receive Beanstack's inaugural Reading Culture Trailblazer badges. These schools also receive $150 gift cards to celebrate reading at their school. The Reading Culture Trailblazer award is granted to schools that gain over 75% of their students logging their reading and achieving reading milestones through Beanstack.


Lexile Insights for Teachers

We know that actionable data and insights to support student free-choice reading are absolutely necessary. Lexile Insights for Teachers is the first of many steps to empower teachers by allowing them to quickly identify patterns and trends in their students’ reading habits.

Five Billion Minutes

We pass the five billion mark: collectively, Beanstack readers have logged over five billion minutes of reading. That's over 9,500 years of reading!

Classroom Library Connector

We collaborate with school partners in Florida to build tools that empower educators to keep books on classroom shelves. For schools outside of Florida, we launch a set of classroom library tools that save teachers time and strengthen collaboration between librarians and teachers, and motivate students to reader more.


Original Content

We begin publishing challenges with original content that can be read directly in Beanstack. The original content challenges include high-interest, nonfiction “Short Stacks” stories with accompanying lesson plans and educator guides.

Reading Validation Challenges and Reading Integrity

We launch a new challenge type that asks students short and simple reading verification questions with fill-in-the-blank answers. This feature bolsters our suite of reading integrity features like reading log limits, book reviews, and short answer activities.

CODiE Finalist for Best Gamification in Learning

We are nominated as a 2022 SIIA CODiE Award finalist for Best Gamification in Learning. CODiE finalists represent the best products, services, and people in the education and business technology industries.


Reading List Challenges

We design and launch a new form of reading challenge based on logging reading for specific titles, content, and book lists.

Content Integration for Winter Reading Challenge

We partner with Lerner Publishing Group for the 2022 Winter Reading Challenge on the theme Read for a Better World, featuring Lerner titles available through Beanstack.

Reading Fundraisers

In the fall of 2021, we launch a new reading fundraiser tool to help schools raise funds in the post-pandemic world and roll the feature out to public libraries the following year.

First National Sponsored Summer Reading Challenge

We partner with Thorndike Press and Mark Cuban to help schools beat the summer and COVID slides with Level Up, our first national summer reading challenge.

Gamification Features

We launch several features designed to engage and inspire readers to meet their reading goals, including streaks, achievements, friends, and leaderboards.

75,000 Summer Badge Books Sold

Our first Summer Badge Book—sold wholesale to library partners and designed to work seamlessly with summer reading programs—quickly sells out all 75,000 available copies.


First Corporate Customer

BH Management becomes the first corporation in the U.S. to launch a new version of the Beanstack mobile app focused specifically on advancing employee wellbeing and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Beanstack Black Voices Microgrants

We create and award microgrants to bold projects that uplift Black voices. Funds go to our library partners seeking to establish or enhance local programs that advance social justice and equity.

COVID-19 Presents an Opportunity to Help

The COVID-19 crisis leads us to introduce free reading challenges to prevent learning loss through our Beanbright platform. At the same time, an unprecedented number of library systems turn to Beanstack to help move their reading challenges online.

Company Emerges as Reading Challenge Leader

A Library Journal report shows Beanstack is the platform of choice for more than 50% of libraries using software to facilitate their summer reading challenges. Our company grows to more than 20 team members, primarily former classroom teachers, former librarians, and engineers.


Connecting Public Libraries and School Districts

In Broward County, Florida, and Frederick County, Maryland, we introduce our tandem connections feature. This allows students to connect their school and library accounts and gives administrators more participation and data.

Improved Features for Engagement and Reporting

In 2019, we grow to serve over 20 school districts and 600 public library systems. While improving the mobile app, we introduce “Insights” to help librarians and educators better visualize data.

New Products for Schools and Families

We launch Badge Books, combined sticker books and reading logs, to complement the summer reading challenge. We also build an Alexa skill with support from the Amazon Alexa Fund.


#WinterRead With Mark Cuban and Other Investors

Mark Cuban sponsors our first-ever #WinterRead national winter reading challenge. He also invests again, joining Kapor Capital, AlphaLab Gear, the AT&T Aspire Accelerator, RevUp Capital, the Center for Innovative Technology, and EAI Technologies.

Zoobean investor Mark Cuban reading to school children Winter 2018

School District Growth

More than 10 school districts license Beanstack, including the sixth biggest district in the country, Broward County Public Schools in Florida.

Beanstack Tracker Mobile App

We launch the first version of our Beanstack mobile app to expand access.


Public Library Growth With Reading Challenge Innovation

We increase Beanstack's usefulness to libraries and expand our reading challenges' customization options by offering multiple log types. We reach $1 million in annual revenue.

First School District Partner

Menasha Joint School District in Wisconsin launches Beanstack to facilitate the school year “Get in the Game” reading challenge. To support seamless single sign-on and rostering, we roll out Clever and ClassLink integration for schools and districts.


First Summer Reading Report

In our drive to become the best solution for facilitating reading challenges, we publish our first annual summer reading report to synthesize and share data insights about Beanstack usage.

Book Subscription Service Ends

As more libraries sign on, we sunset the original subscription box service for consumers. The recommendation engine is repurposed and incorporated into the Beanstack product offered to libraries.

Summer Reading Catches On

Almost 100 more libraries license Beanstack, primarily as a platform to run their summer reading challenges. We introduce the concept of concurrent reading challenges to help run multiple reading challenges for different age groups at once.


Montgomery County Public Libraries Uses Beanstack for Summer Reading

Our fourth client, Montgomery County Public Libraries in Maryland, rolls out Beanstack for its summer reading challenge and sees use skyrocket, with family registration as a key innovation.

Sacramento Public Library Launches Beanstack

After months of development and testing, Sacramento Public Library launches Beanstack, a revamped product to send personalized children's book recommendations to families.


First Public Library System Client

At the Annual Library Association conference, Jordan and Felix talk to libraries about how our proprietary children’s book recommendation product can help them engage families. Sacramento Public Library becomes our first client.

Zoobean Debuts on “Shark Tank”

On April 18, 2014, co-founders Jordan and Felix appear on “Shark Tank” and gain a $250,000 investment from entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban for their initial product idea, a subscription box service for curated children’s book selections.

The “Shark Tank” Effect

When we appeared on “Shark Tank,” it was just Jordan and Felix—a husband and wife team inspired by a mission to help kids become lifelong readers. Today, we are a company of nearly 40 people, proudly working with more than 2,400 library systems, 3,000+ school buildings, and 180+ school districts. The Beanstack mobile app and software help more than 8.9 million readers participate in reading challenges and stay motivated to read.

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