Inspirational Woman: Estelle Lloyd | Co-founder, Azoomee

Estelle LloydEstelle Lloyd is the co-founder of Azoomee, a kids subscription service containing games and videos that are both fun and educational.

Always ad-free, with fresh content added every week, always hand-picked by humans.

Estelle created Azoomee because she’s passionate about protecting kids online and giving them the best digital content, because that’s what they deserve. Azoomee takes a firm stand that children shouldn’t be monetised, commoditised or taken advantage of because they don’t know better.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am an entrepreneur, the co-founder of Azoomee, and mum of three daughters.

Though I was born in France, most of my career has been spent in New York and London. I worked in tech and media investment banking for over 10 years before founding my first start-up, VB/Research, with my husband Douglas in 2006.

In 2011, we sold the company to FTSE 250 Centaur Media plc. But it wasn’t until later that we came up with the idea for Azoomee.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial even when I worked in a large corporate environment. It’s how my brain works: I think in terms of solving pain points, building things, I thrive in the creative process particularly at the early stage. So, I’ve always set this goal for myself to work in this capacity. I couldn’t do anything else.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Azoomee was our first venture into the consumer technology world, which posed a whole set of new challenges: How do you build the best app for children? What are the best user acquisition channels? How do you fund market expansion for a consumer product?

These are just some of the many questions we had to figure out. It’s also an eternal challenge to keep a kids’ app fresh and exciting. We think about that every day!

But perhaps our biggest challenge has been looking YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat in the eyes and being prepared to do the absolute opposite of everything they believe in and taking a firm stand that children shouldn’t be profiles and monetised, because they don’t know better.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Childcare. I’m a big believer that when women have access to reliable (and subsidised in some cases) childcare they become independent and more able to choose to have a career.

How would you encourage more girls and women into a career in STEM?

When you look around, there are already a huge number of successful women who have gone against the grain and launched highly successful tech companies. It’s these stories that will inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo and pursue the fields they want to, but they’re not yet the norm – we need more!

Currently, there are simply many more men who apply for tech jobs than women. This can be addressed by a real focus in the early years on encouraging girls to focus on maths, sciences and coding. Business mentalities are moving in the right direction where entrepreneurs and businesspeople are defined by their credentials instead of their gender but the journey isn’t over yet.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

We were thrilled to sign a distribution deal with O2, which made Azoomee the sole entertainment provider on their ‘Family Tablet’. We’re incredibly proud of this collaboration, as it’s almost unheard of for a family-run business like ours to partner with a giant telco.

This partnership set a precedent for working with major international corporations and opened the door to sign agreements with many more.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

It’s a very exciting time for Azoomee. We’re now at the ‘scale up’ stage and are currently focusing on international growth.

We’ve created a business that provides the first (and best) SAFE digital experience for children worldwide. We’re passionate about making a genuine positive impact on society globally. Our goal is to give every family the safe, fun and educational service they need to prepare their children for the digital world.

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