An impeccable personality, Lisa Love is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Tanoshi. She has two decades of rich experience in CPG brand and retail marketing. She has successfully launched and grown the Amazon marketplace for start-ups. Later in her journey, she discovered her calling for an entrepreneurial shift and hence embarked to establish her Ed-tech company.
The Initial Journey
Lisa grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Immaculate Heart (IH) – a Catholic, private, all-girls middle and high school – which played a major role in grooming her into the woman she became today.
IH instills a mindset in every young woman to go out into the world and be “women of great heart and right conscience” through leadership and service. From the dedicated faculty helping the girls realize their unique potential, to the thought-provoking classes, to the strong sisterhood – the moral values ingrained in girls at a young age resulted in luminaries including Meghan Markle, Mary Tyler Moore, Lucie Arnaz, and others – all alumnae of IH.
Moving ahead, Lisa completed her MBA from an HBCU, Clark Atlanta University, and began her career working for Fortune 500 CPG companies, including Heinz and Del Monte in brand and product marketing.
She managed a portfolio of brands that generated revenue of up to $75M. She spent 11 years working for the #1 online retailer of wine where she donned many hats and worked in various departments throughout her tenure including operations, merchandising, and partnerships. It was her experience at these companies coupled with her tenacity and feeling as though there’s more out there, that ignited her to take that leap of faith and embark upon her entrepreneurial journey.
Lisa fondly states that she was fortunate to have parents who understood the importance of a good education, especially during those critical early years.
Founded in 2016, Tanoshi is an Ed-tech company that’s on a mission to prepare all kids for a digital future. Every child should have the opportunity to develop 21st-century computer skills needed to excel in today’s school environment – such as typing, familiarity with common productivity apps including Google Docs and Sheets, and coding.
Tanoshi computers are designed and built specifically for school-age kids and include free parental controls, all the apps necessary to do schoolwork/homework where one doesn’t need the internet, learn to code apps for kids ages 6+, a full kid size keyboard, a 10″ HD touch screen all at an affordable price.
In 2018, Tanoshi entered the US retail market with its first computer, the Tanoshi 2-in-1 Computer for Kids ages 6-12, targeting underserved and under-resourced communities. In 2020, Team Tanoshi appeared on Shark Tank, where it gained significant media attention and customer awareness. To date, it has generated millions in revenue and has positively impacted thousands of young lives, yet there’s so much more to come.
The Turning Point
Lisa’s mom taught the primary grades for five decades in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Lisa’s dad was one of the first Blacks to graduate from the engineering school at Purdue University back in the 1950s.
At Lisa’s previous tech company, she recalls that there was only one Black engineer during her entire 11 years of duration at that company. The blatant lack of diversity was unacceptable. She knew something needed to change.
In 2017, when she was working with her mom on a typing app for the primary grades, she met her co-founder, Brad Johnston, pitching the Tanoshi computer.
After the pitch, she introduced herself to Brad and they spoke about their projects, passion, and vision-everything clicked. Between Lisa’s mom’s vision with her typing app, Brad’s vision with the computer company, and her vision of exposing more Blacks to STEM at an early age-that day became the turning point of her life.
Cherishing an all-inclusive Culture
The beauty of the Tanoshi team is that many of them either grew up with educators or have been an educator at some point in their careers. Tanoshi is a small team of talented and compassionate members. Every member of the team supports each other professionally and personally.
“What’s so critical is because we are a small team, we can intentionally listen to our customers. And without all the layers of a big corporation, we can act swiftly when needed.”
Together, the team is accomplishing their shared passion and vision of making sure all children are given the opportunity to succeed through education.
Standing out among the Competitors
In big tech, it’s rare to see a diverse team, from various cultures and backgrounds, at the helm, leading all efforts. Tanoshi is a minority-owned company which means it understands the pain points of its audience – an audience comprising millions of kids who unfortunately continue to be neglected. We are tech done right.
Thoughts about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
Tanoshi is a mission driven, double-bottom-line company where profit is important, but the purpose is equally important. Social responsibility has been embedded in everything. It is the heart and soul of the company.
If the company could with every computer purchased give one more computer to a child in need, it could have happily done it. Unfortunately, that model is not financially feasible and so instead, it donates computers whenever possible.
During the pandemic, the company donated computers through a GoFundMe campaign set up through Be the Change Foundation which was very successful. In the future, it hopes to work closely with more non-profit organizations and foundations that are aligned with its mission.
Lisa’s Insights of the Existing Market Trends
The computer and tablet category for kids ages 6-12 years is a $47 billion industry. At the onset of the pandemic, Tanoshi saw the dire need for all kids, not just kids from affluent families, to have a reliable computer at home. Even with the pandemic now under control, this problem still exists, where millions of kids across the country and the world are still without a computer. There is money being funneled into the education system, but a lot of the money has yet to be spent.
Expanding New Horizons
Tanoshi has proven market fit with its current products here in the United States. Now, it’s time to widen the reach with new products and services and expand their markets worldwide. Of course, expansion requires time, money, and resources. With that, they are raising a Seed round and targeting to close by the end of this year.
Lisa’s journey has been exceptional in every way. She vividly recalls every step of her far-fetching journey and continues to walk the path by quoting an all-time classic “I’ll find a way or make one.” –Hannibal