With the recent announcement of the Brandery class of 2016, we are excited to feature each company in its own blog post! Each day we’ll post a new blog highlighting one of the startups in this year’s cohort. As we are officially two months out from Demo Day, get to know the names and faces behind the company!
Today we’ll be highlighting Zid Zid, formerly known as Petit Zarafa.
Pictured (left to right): CEO, Moulay Essakalli; CCO, Julie Klear
What does your company do?
Zid Zid is a web-based curriculum designed for little ones to discover world languages through creative play, together with their parents. Our aim is to pair the best in early childhood education with the best in tech to set a strong foundation for a child’s future learning. We provide hands-on creative activities paired with listening practice, bilingual storybooks, songs, and on-screen games. The adult guides the child’s learning experiences fostering cognitive, emotional, and social skills, in addition to strengthening adult/child bonds. There is a social aspect allowing parents to be inspired by other families. Our algorithms record the child’s development; reports and rewards keep everyone motivated.
What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?
The expertise in consumer branding the Brandery offers is outstanding and its ranking among the top 10 accelerators in the country was a definite plus. We’ve been living in Morocco for the past 15 years yet designed the product for the US market. Also, Julie is from Ohio, so it is a full circle journey and the right time for us to be in Cincinnati.
How did the team come together?
We met 20 years ago in New York City and have been married-business-partners for the past 15 years. In 2003, we launched Zid Zid Kids as a children’s brand in Marrakech, distributed it in 20+ countries, and won prestigious international trade awards, including an invitation from President Barack Obama to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, in 2010. In brief, Zid Zid Kids evolved from a line of physical products, parents and little ones loved, into an innovative digital product. Our aim is still the same: delight, surprise, and inspire families around the world.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?
We’ve learned so much from so many! Yet, the most important lesson we’ve been reminded of, which might sound trivial, yet isn’t, is the idea of conviction and commitment. You need to believe wholeheartedly in what you are doing; passion is essential.
What do you like the most about Cincinnati?
We love the rebirth of the historical Over-The-Rhine neighborhood; it feels like the best Brooklyn has to offer. In addition, we believe Cincy shares our values in education and the arts. Also, Julie is a 1993 graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati and she is beyond thrilled to be back in this wonderful city as a contributing member of the thriving technology scene.
Did you have an “aha!” moment?
The brain power of the entrepreneurs and mentors within the Brandery community is simply amazing. We’ve had countless “aha” moments, journals filled with them! We are thankful for every single bit of wisdom that has been shared with us. What a humbling experience, we love it!
The pictures used in this blog post were captured by Zackariah Cole, visit his website at http://www.zackariahcole.com/.