The Xyza Story

Startups begin with an idea, but great startups (in our humble opinion, eh hem…), blossom when they are built between friends. Well, this one did at least. Joann and Sapna met in 2006 sitting in separate corners of their first MBA class. They eventually bonded over bad cafeteria food, late night group projects, and about a hundred ideas for how they can make things better.

They have been through jobs, children, and two companies together so far. One enjoys tea; the other coffee. One throws caution to the wind; the other is careful and cautious. You get the picture. But despite their differences, they have one very important thing in common: when they see a need, they both have a desire to fill that need. That’s how Xyza: News for Kids was born. Sapna and Joann realized that they couldn’t find a suitable news source for their own kids that was current, relatable, and easy to understand. That’s when they decided to build one of their own! Little did they know, other families and educators were looking for something similar. It’s been a crazy ride, but boy are they glad they’re doing it together!


Joann Suen


I’m a native of San Francisco and grew up watching Connie Chung and flipping through the SF Examiner. My family didn’t have the means to travel much, so what I knew of the world was from watching the news on TV or reading about events in the newspaper.

My husband calls me “Wonder Woman” not because I have a lasso of truth and can fight off evil with my bracelets, but because I’m always asking questions that start with, “I wonder …” I guess this whole “wondering” thing stemmed from my childhood—I did want to be Connie Chung after all!

My career has taken me down many paths, but all seemed to have one common theme: working towards making things better. With Xyza I’ve converged my love of children, news, and storytelling into one.


Sapna Satagopan


I was born in India and grew up listening to stories about journalism and the Indian Independence from my grandfather. My first published article was in a teen magazine and it was a poem about youth (let’s just say it sounded complicated). My career has involved research, story telling, and discovering interesting trends. My motivation behind building Xyza is simple: news is fascinating in all forms and it is stories of the world as it is happening! Those stories should be told well!

I love news, libraries, radio and all things quirky. I think “Maleficient” is one of the best movies for kids because it teaches them to think beyond a story. I live in San Francisco with my family that includes my husband, three kids, one fish of unknown origin and a minivan.

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