First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Ohad Golan: My family is doing alright during this time, although we were on lockdown with a household of 6 people we made it work. I’m grateful that my family is safe, and everyone is healthy. I’m even more grateful that my wife, a Registered Midwife, is on the front line with all other medical personnel – I’m so proud of her and all the other health workers working in harsh conditions and at increased risk during these days.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you joined Tonara
Ohad Golan: I’ll start with a bit of history on Tonara, which has gone through quite an evolution over the years. From 2011 to 2016, Tonara targeted performing musicians providing a patented automatic page-turning solution. When I joined in 2017, we made a major pivot towards music education and applied that same technology towards empowering music teachers and their students.
Before Tonara, I spent 20 years working in both startup and enterprise companies in different managerial roles, from product management, business development to international sales.
How does Tonara innovate?
Ohad Golan: Tonara uses technology in fresh ways to empower music educators and keep their students engaged, with the mission to move music education forward. We offer two different products.
- The first product is called Tonara Studio, an all-in-one platform (Desktop & App) that helps teachers engage with their students in between lessons. Teachers can communicate with their students, send rich assignments, and track students’ practice progress. Students can chat with their teacher and fellow students, send recordings, earn points, unlock stickers, and more. For more information about Tonara Studio click on this link: https://tonara.com/studio-teacher-benefits/
- The second product is Tonara Connect, a global marketplace enabling music students and teachers to find each other no matter where they are, what language they speak, or what instrument they’d like to learn. Teachers can create rich professional profiles, complete with teaching preferences, availability, and media that students can discover. Students can find the right teacher for their learning needs. For more information about Tonara Connect click on this link: https://connect.tonara.com/teachers
How does the Coronavirus Pandemic affect your Business, and how are you coping?
Ohad Golan: Coronavirus has actually created a surge of users for Tonara. Due to the world going on lockdown, teachers, students, and parents had to stay home and find a way to continue their music lessons. Tonara went from a “game-changer” to a “lifesaver” for music teachers. Parents also didn’t have to worry about their kids missing out on music lessons, which kept them engaged and connected to their peers.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Ohad Golan: The most challenging choice I had to make was re-prioritizing the release of features for our users. We always have a rather clear plan of where we are heading, and as such, what to develop, however, once COVID19 hit, we decided to halt all our efforts on the features we planned and instead shifted attention on how we could help our teachers with their most immediate needs. With this change, we were able to integrate online video lessons via Zoom and Google Hangouts within one week. My two takeaways are 1 – My team is incredibly dedicated and capable, and 2- just how important it is to be agile and quickly understand and adjust to our community’s needs.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you project yourself and Tonara in the Future?
Ohad Golan: I believe that a controlled level of stress keeps us all sharper, alert, and forces us to think and question our actions on an ongoing basis. If you combine this with listening to advice coming from your surroundings (my team, advisors, and especially our customers), it results in carrying out one of our main core values, which is agility. Moving forward, I aim to have Tonara become synonymous with music education, and with our products, content, and fast-growing communities, I believe it is possible.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Ohad Golan: When you have two products, you can have quite a few! For Studio, we have some competitors like My Music Staff, Music Teacher Helper, and a few other studio management platforms, but none of them have the technology that we have that enables us to track and motivate students to practice.
As for Tonara Connect, we have competition from companies such as Takelessons & Preply, but they serve just as marketplaces connecting teachers and students whereas we look to provide two more elements: 1 – helping to really match students with the teacher that meets their learning needs and 2 – providing a holistic solution that makes a connection and gives them a management system to communicate and learn music (Tonara Studio). There are also popular DIY learning companies such as Yousician, JoyTunes, and others; however, they look to replace teachers with technology while we stand to use technology to empower teachers.
Your Final Thoughts
Ohad Golan: Music education has a bright future, and we plan to lead the way, with a dedicated team of people, united by a meaningful purpose. Not everyone has the privilege that I do to help build something that will have a lasting positive impact. I only hope that Tonara can be an example for many other businesses looking to navigate these challenging times ahead and focus on what matters most – the people you serve!
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