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Ryan Austin

Cognota’s LearnOps® platform, in combination with our CLO Coach Marketplace, provides enterprises with the technology and expertise they need to improve their Learning and Development impact.

Tell us about yourself?

Ryan Austin is an entrepreneur who has spent over 10 years driving improvements in learning and development. In his current role as CEO at Cognota, the first operations platform for L&D, Ryan is focused on developing innovative products to enable training functions to work smarter.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Patience is a virtue. The saying “it takes twice as long and twice the cost” is an understatement. In reality, it can take even longer. You can’t rush greatness. It takes time to make a positive impact on the world.

What problem does your business solve?


L&D teams spend hours juggling disparate apps for managing operations. It’s inefficient and ineffective. Other functions in the business like Sales, Marketing, and Software Development get purpose-built tools. Why shouldn’t L&D? That’s where Cognota comes in.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Back in 2012 to 2015, Ryan was SVP of Training Americas for a global organization called WTG. After they were acquired by Private Equity, Ryan returned to his entrepreneurial roots and started thinking about his next big thing. While he was incubating ideas, Ryan launched a consulting company and worked with corporations and enterprises to help their L&D teams improve on innovation. It was then he learned how inefficient and ineffective the L&D team was functioning, especially when larger organizations were spending North of $10M for training annually (in some cases closer to $100M). That’s when Ryan had his Ah-Ha moment to create Cognota, the first L&D Ops platform to help learning teams improve efficiency and effectiveness, and to be more data-driven to show impact on their Return of Learning Spend.

What is your magic sauce?

We are first to market with LearnOps® and have developed a lot of Intellectual Property around this new category we are creating. Unfortunately, the L&D industry has a lot of competition, and competitors are known for turning mission-driven statements such as “LearnOps” into buzzwords. Cognota wants to protect the importance of this word and decided to trademark LearnOps® in various countries globally. However, we are dedicated to sharing this very important trademark with strategic alliance partners who share the same vision and dedication toward our mission through licensing.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

The learning technology industry is well served with authoring tools and LMS platforms. But we’ve been busy creating a brand new category that enables learning and development leaders to improve and demonstrate the impact of their learning operations and function.

With that in mind, Cognota is on a mission to help enable more people to learn and grow. Over the next five years, we are excited to partner with other forward-leading organizations who share this ambition to further build the LearnOps® category.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Building a start-up is extremely hard, especially one that has a vision as big as ours – and the potential to build a new category in the world. As an entrepreneur, you plan but rarely do plans work the way you initially set out for. As such, you need to get comfortable with a high degree of uncertainty, which can create tremendous anxiety and stress. However, if you’re patient and stick to your guns and push through that uncertainty, there are great things that happen on the other side. It is those moments that help you grow as an individual and help you become stronger as a business and individual. It’s a great feeling when you get there.

How can people get involved?

Learn more about LearnOps® and the CLO Coach Program, or if you’re interested in a partnership with Cognota or using LearnOps®, feel free to contact us at