Startup Funding with Tanya Van Court

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After graduating from Stanford University, she climbed the corporate ladder quickly to become Senior Vice President of Nickelodeon Global Network Ventures. After her daughter asked for an investment account for her birthday present, she knew she had to change her life to help with gift giving on a global level. She made the tough decision to venture into full time entrepreneurship and founded ISow as a single parent. She discovered that raising capital wasn’t as easy as she anticipated. Initially the only networks that would provide capital are those that were focused on diversity. However, after a couple months of fundraising, Tanya was able to successfully close her seed round and has expanded ISow into international markets.


Tanya and I met at the Platform Conference at Morehouse College in October of 2015. As a strong advocate of financial literacy, her passion made my heart race as she shared her genius with the community. A couple months later, we ran into each other again in New York at the Pipeline Angels Conference. I was very happy to learn that her company was the recipient of the largest investment from the 2015 Pipeline Angels class. 

SHow notes:

Tanya Van Court is a great example of person that struck out on a dream to be become a success. From modest beginnings as the flash of an idea that was born out of a comment that her daughter made, Tanya has been able to grow iSow in to a viable business that has a great ethos and a lot of heart.   

Tanya was able to recognize that our society teaches children terrible financial values. The materialism that we learn young follows us in to adulthood and can lead to disastrous financial health for some people. Tanya has created a solution to excess in iSow and the success that iSow has enjoyed so far is evidence that it is a learning tool that really works.

Tanya is an incredibly engaging speaker and the wisdom and insights that she shares in this great conversation with Roshawnna will make your day!

Roshawnna and Tanya Discuss:

  • 2:00—Tanya shares her background and talks about the beginnings of her company, iSow.
  • 5:00 – Tanya details the ethos of, which aims to teach children important financial values.
  • 9:00 – Tanya talks about some aspects of iSow that she is currently excited about.
  • 12:30 – Tanya talks about what she learned from a missed opportunity.
  • 14:00 – Tanya talks about how she knew that she was in the right place when she started iSow.
  • 15:00 – Tanya discusses her past experiences in Corporate America and how these shaped he in to a successful leader of iSow.
  • 18:00 – On how the concept of mentorship has changed in recent years, and the importance of finding mentors in various facets of your life.
  • 20:00 – On the biggest hurdle that Tanya had to overcome in starting on her journey as an entrepreneur.
  • 22:30 -- Tanya talks about how women in her life have helped her to push through difficult times.
  • 24:00 – On what makes iSow unique and the powerful lessons that it can bestow on children.
  • 29:00 – Tanya discusses the ups and downs of procuring funding for your idea.
  • 37:00 -- Tanya gives some advice to founders that are looking to raise capital.
  • 40:00 – Tanya relays a mantra that gets her through the tough days.
  • 43:00 – Tanya talks about how she strikes a work/life balance and what her work days look like.


Tanya Van Court is the founder and CEO of ISow.  Ms. Tanya Van Court has been Senior Vice President of Partner Marketing at Discovery Education, Inc. since February 2012. Ms. Court was a Senior Vice President of Nickelodeon Global Network Ventures, Inc. (formerly Nickelodeon Networks, Inc.) since October 2006. 

She serves as Senior Vice President of Preschool and Parents Online, and MTVN Kids and Family Group. She serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Ms. Court oversees strategy and operations, as well as creative and editorial content for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group preschool and parents online businesses. She is responsible for the day-to-day management of Nick (Playtime and Nick Jr. Parents), broadband offerings Nick Jr. Video and Nick Jr. Parents TV,, and the newly launched community site Ms. Court served as Vice President of New Media Video Products at ESPN, where she led the launch of ESPN360. She served at Cablevision Systems where she was responsible for launching Cablevision's VOIP service, Optimum Voice, and spearheaded Cablevision's Operations and Customer Experience efforts for their digital cable product, Interactive Optimum (IO). Ms. Court also helped to launch DSL in several international markets while working at Covad Communications. She was named as one of the top 50 most influential minorities in Cable World. In 2004, she graduated from National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Executive Leadership Development Program and in 2005, was a Betsy Magnes Fellow in Women in Cable Telecommunications class. Ms. Court received both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University


Tanya's episode was recorded via video Skype. Check out our behind the scenes interaction for more.