Meet Lisa Love – The Educational Tech Brand Co-Founder Getting Students Back To School With Digital Learning Tools

Image: Maurice Chatman (Chatman Images)

If there is one thing COVID-19 has exposed in the United States, it is how much progress is desperately needed in terms of education structure and access. With many parents still coming to grips with how their school-aged children will enter back into the school systems and navigate a learning world that is now heavily dominated by digital access, how can administrators and legislators ensure that no child will be left in COVID’s wake?

This is where businesses and companies are starting to become more important than ever, and one entrepreneur and founder who understands this very well is Lisa Love – co-Founder and CMO at Tanoshi which is an educational technology brand that provides families from lower-income households and school districts with fun, age-appropriate, educational, and affordable devices. You may also recognize Lisa and her team from ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ which aired earlier in 2020.

Lisa’s background is in tech and is now leveraging her wealth of experience to benefit parents and kids who are adapting to the changing world of education. She is also utilizing her personal experience as a way to shed light on the inequities that exist and work to create meaningful change in her industry.

With nearly 20 years of progressive experience in Marketing and Operations, Brand Management, and Retail Marketing, Lisa has significantly contributed to various verticals at Fortune 500 companies, as well as established start-ups at the national level. As a black, female tech entrepreneur, she understands the importance of black voices within tech, so she leads the way with a diverse executive team and board that is 25% black, 25% LGBTQ, and 50% women of color to provide an equitable digital education for all kids. Lisa hopes that Tanoshi can help level the playing field and give every child an equal opportunity for future success.

We spoke to Lisa about navigating the tech world as a Black woman, the gender and race leadership problem in the industry and how this impacts everyday tech consumers, and why education is very important to her.

SHARK TANK – “1114” – A tech-savvy trio from San Francisco, California, pitches their lower-cost computer for kids to make technology accessible to more people. (ABC/Jessica Brooks) GREG SMITH, LISA LOVE, BRAD JOHNSTON

Tell us about your foray into the world of tech and entrepreneurship. Where did it all start for you? 

My mom taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 50 years, mainly the primary grades. She taught in South Central, where many of her students fell behind. I watched my mom persevere through systemic challenges just to bring her students up to grade level.

My mom used her own time and money to develop educational materials that resonated with her students. She wanted to make sure all of her students had a fair chance to succeed. Sadly, the same core issues exist today, just on another level – it’s called the digital divide. 

My dad was an engineer and worked for IBM during my childhood. I grew up seeing the benefits of technology and, more specifically, the advantages of a computer.

You wrote a really interesting medium article about your experience in the tech world as a Black woman. Why was it important for you to share your story with the world? 

When I was going through that experience, it was challenging on so many levels – mentally, physically, and spiritually. I needed to dig deep within me to keep pushing forward, not blame myself, and not breakdown. 

I wanted women to know that if you’re going through something similar – there is hope. What they’re going through now is only temporary, and it might not be apparent at the time, but there’s something much bigger and brighter ahead. 

After writing the article, several women reached out, stating that they went through a similar situation. These women confirmed to me that, unfortunately, this type of emotional harassment by men is a common practice. 

I’m glad I spoke out. Ultimately, I’m hoping that this will shine a light on some of the racial and gender discrimination that occurs in corporate America, and that action must happen.

Image: Maurice Chatman (Chatman Images)

Can you give us some of the main stats or data points people should know about Black women in tech?

  • Less than 1% of Black women founders receive VC funding.
  • Black women hold only 3% of computing-related jobs.
  • Black women represent 4% of C-suite positions within the Fortune 500 companies.

You are the CMO and co-founder of Tanoshi, an educational technology brand helping especially lower-income students and school districts have access to affordable learning devices. How did you come to be part of this team? 

In 2017, I met Brad Johnston, the original founder of Tanoshi and CEO, at a pitch contest sponsored by the Kapor Center in Oakland, CA. He was pitching the Tanoshi 2-in-1 computer. At the time, I was working with my mom and developing a typing app. His pitch really resonated with me. I loved the computer, along with the company mission. I thought the computer would be perfect for my mom’s typing app. 

After the pitch, I introduced myself, told him my background, and what I was working on with my mom. Coincidentally, he was specifically looking for a typing app to pre-load onto the computer. We exchanged information. At the time, I was doing contract work for social media. 

On our first call, we hit it off, and he said he was actually looking for someone to help with social media. I agreed to help. Social media turned into a more prominent marketing role, and now I’m here. 

Why is education an important focus for you? 

When I was in the 4th grade, my teacher Ms. Huss, posted a banner on the classroom wall for the entire year that said, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” I stared at that banner every single day, not really knowing the full meaning…but I knew it was necessary. I ended up having that same teacher in the 6th grade. She had the same banner on the wall, so I stared at it for another year…every single day. 

Decades later, I now understand the meaning. The more educated you are, the more knowledgeable you become. Knowledge is power – bottom line. And as you go through life, when you possess a certain level of knowledge, you are better equipped to handle life’s challenges. 

Now, some might have received various degrees and are book knowledgeable. Others might be more street knowledgeable. I believe you need both to navigate this journey of life successfully.

While the tech industry has a long way to go as a whole in terms of more diverse leadership, it is individual companies like Tanoshi that are showing what change looks like. Talk to us about the leadership at your company and why it is beneficial to you? 

I am happy to say that our board consists of 50% women, which is rare in tech. It’s crucial that we have a diverse leadership team, both racially and in gender. 

Our country is diverse. Our world is diverse. Our mission is to provide an equitable digital education for all kids around the world. If we are going to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of a diverse population, then we need a team that can understand and relate to all people.

Image: Maurice Chatman (Chatman Images)

With so many schools and students looking more and more to digital learning opportunities because of COVID-19, how is Tanoshi adapting to this current climate? 

Currently, we are experiencing tremendous growth, and we’re trying to keep up with demand. We are always working on producing the best computer at an affordable price, where ALL school-age kids, no matter their socio-economic background, can continue their education through distance learning. 

We are excited about the launch of our new computer, the Tanoshi Scholar, in the Fall of 2020. Along with our flagship computer, the Tanoshi 2-in-1, the Tanoshi Scholar will have added features and benefits, another perfect solution for home learning.

What are some ways readers can support what Tanoshi and your team are doing today? 

Visit us at and learn more about our products, our mission, our team, and help spread the word!

Watch Lisa and her Tanoshi co-founders Greg Smith and Brad Johnston on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ below: