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Shmoop, the online study guide publisher founded by husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Ellen and David Siminoff, has announced the first of what it says will be a number of deals with major media companies. The Mountain View, Calif. startup says it has signed on to write content for Bio.com, the website of the A&E television show Biography.
Shmoop’s website offers study guides in areas including literature, US history, and economics, aiming for an entertaining, funny style. For example, the study guide for The Scarlet Letter includes a short summary, a guide to symbolism, and concludes with “Why Should I Care?” a long anecdote about showing up for class with “I didn’t read the book” tattooed to your forehead and being berated by your “Dumbledore look-alike” teacher.
The study guides are free. The site runs advertising, and it also charges a small fee for apps on the iPhone, Kindle, and other devices. Deals like this should bring in revenue and raise the company’s profile with a broader audience. The Shmoop team will be creating biographies for the Bio.com website, starting with Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, actress Joan Collins, and others.
Ellen Siminoff, Shmoop’s chief executive, previously served as CEO of Efficient Frontier, while David Siminoff, the chief creative officer, cofounded 4info. The third cofounder is Ana Rowen McCullough, who co-created the Quest Scholars educational program.