The bootstrap entrepreneur taking on Google & Apple

He spent his life savings to launch a tech company rivaling Apple. Although 200 investors told him to give up, here’s why he didn’t.
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A 2021 Pew Research Center survey found that about 43% of U.S. households with incomes below $30,000 don’t have access to broadband internet or to a desktop or laptop computer, while about one-quarter don’t have a smartphone.  This is the so-called digital divide. 

The digital divide led Brad Johnston to start Tanoshi, an Oakland-based startup that sells affordable tablet computers featuring competitive specifications, educational apps, and parental controls, none of which collect any data on the children who use the computers. 

Tanoshi sells two tablets: the 2-in-1 ($199) and the Scholar ($299). Geared toward kids ages 5 to 17, both models are Android-based, come with a touch screen and detachable keyboard, and can be operated with or without internet access. 

The educational apps are designed to help kids learn all sorts of material, from mathematics to computer basics like typing. Tanoshi places specific emphasis on teaching kids the basics of programming, offering apps like a Nancy Drew-themed coding game and Scratch, a platform where kids can create their own games and animations through simple coding techniques.

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