We had the good fortune of connecting with Ian Cohen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ian, how do you think about risk?
One thing I realized during my first venture is that being bolder is always better. We had hit an early rut on the fundraising front because we weren’t getting through to folks on how we were different. But the truth was, we were holding back. We weren’t sharing our big vision – and so we did sound just like everybody else – and no one was interested. At that point, I decided that, if we were going to fail anyways, I’d rather leave it all out there. As it turns out, that’s exactly what people were looking for.

People want to be inspired. Most people are not able to take the risks, but they still yearn to be a part of something bigger, something that matters to them. It is not an easy thing to internalize and actually do – lord knows I’m very much still working on it – but it is the key to rallying support.

It is also key to keeping yourself energized. Waking up to spend the day holding back can cause its own kind of exhaustion. But waking up and pushing yourself and your team to truly realize your vision each and every day is self-actualization in real time and what could be better than that? Boldness gets you there.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In 2019, I started TARA, an EdTech SaaS company with the vision of building the world’s best teacher assistant. Everyone can close their eyes and think of one teacher from their childhood who was extremely significant. Imagine your childhood without that teacher. And yet, the profession remains in crisis. In addition to higher pay, we need to focus on providing educators with truly teacher-driven tools that make the administrative aspects of the job much easier. But too many tools and platforms focus on every other persona and workflow possible – not the actual teacher day-to-day experience.

Without teachers, a school is just another building. So keeping the ones we have and improving the professional experience so as to attract new teachers is critical for our collective future as a society.

But despite the importance and universality of teachers, generating interest in the K12 space amongst both investors and tech talent has not been easy. The burden of proof and growth potential tends to be significantly higher than in other SaaS spaces, which only further dis-incentivizes innovation in a space where it is desperately needed.

However, this has taught us that we need to push harder to validate both ourselves and the EdTech space as a whole. It is also incumbent upon us to help cultivate a larger EdTech ecosystem in Atlanta. Both of these realities have only made our business stronger and we are already seeing major benefits from the extra inertia early on.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Much appreciation to all the supporters in my life(!) but to keep it different, I’d love to shout out books and authors in general 🙂

Everyone needs to find there way to stay learning and books have been my consistent source of inspiration. Whether its business stories, startup guides, or personal growth frameworks, I am constantly reading something to stay feeling like I am continuing to grow. Books also remind you that so many others are going through what we are going through, which is always important perspective.

My latest recommendations – Love What Is (Byron Katie), Never Split the Difference (Chris Voss), Liftoff (Eric Berger) and Obviously Awesome (April Dunford)

Website: www.tarateachers.com

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/ian-cohen-61a4a416

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.