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Winner Spotlight: Cognotion’s Jonathan Dariyanani Creates Out of the Box Revolutionary Training Tool for Employees

Jasmin Lee


Have you ever found yourself flipping through a binder full of texts and diagrams when training for a new job? What if you could get trained by playing games instead? Cognotion makes it happen. Cognotion, a New York Challenge Cup winner, develops the next generation of interactive learning software that completely redesigns how learners interact with content to achieve paradigm-shifting results. 

Jonathan Dariyanani, president and founder of Cognotion, will compete against other edtech startups at the Global Finals in Washington, D.C., in May of 2015. We caught up with Dariyanani to talk about not only the story behind his company but also what’s coming next,

So tell me—what is Cognotion?

We are an educational technology company specializes in global workforce training solutions for up scaling entry-level workers. We provide mobile gaming and video simulation tools for low-wage and high-turnover employees (primarily non-college graduates) so that employees can be more productive at work. The employers largely pay our solution—they use our platform to train their employees.

What personal experiences led you to start Cognotion?

My founding team has been in the educational technology business for the past 14 years. We had a really good experience with a tablet-based English learning service for foreign workers in the U.S. We learned that technology has a huge impact on that population; the new generation has a huge access to technology (tablets) for training in a way that never happened before.

What successes had Cognotion had so far?

There are three things that we are very proud of. One, we provided a medical game to train more than 20,000 doctors and nurses for the Ebola virus. Second, we are selling about $1 million worth of our mobile training solution every month. Third, we’ve been an important part in giving access to employment opportunities in the Middle East region.

What advantages does Cognotion have over competitors who are in the space?

Although we are in an enormous market, there are only a small number of people competing—we would like to see hundreds of startups trying to build engaging training materials! However, there are a number of companies in the space that provide aspects of the solution that we provide. We truly respect and like some of those competitors.

One of our biggest advantages is that we have worked in over 40 countries and collectively built over 100 products—we have a real understanding of the domestic and international markets. Having a lot of experience in A/B testing in the K-12 environment also aids us in building our product for corporate training.

What makes NY a unique place to build a startup?

New York is a combination of creativity, media, corporate headquarters and high-level productions—the city is a great place to harness creative talent. The startup community here is very friendly and collegial. It is also easy to navigate and find high quality employees in New York.

Do you have any advices for startups pitching at Challenge Cup in other regions?

Keep in mind that the audiences will respond to authenticity, passion and opportunity.

Jasmin Lee