Riley Doty is #MadeForKnoxville.

With the goal of making educators’ lives easier, Riley and her co-founders saw a gap in the market and created Courseflow to fill it.

Most people graduate from college with a degree. Riley and her business partners came out with a business idea. The trio joined together in their last year of college with a plan to create software products just for educators. Their company, Courseflow, utilizes existing technologies that have been slow to reach the education space. As a graphic designer turned software designer, Riley is an idea generator and implementer. She uses her passion for creativity and entrepreneurship to help craft a seamless user experience for customers, along with the team at Courseflow. 

“Letting go of the idea of a direct “career path” allowed me to truly embrace the freedom of dreaming big.”

In Their Own Words…

I design intuitive software solutions for educators. I co-founded Courseflow with 2 others–Luke Wiseman and Jackson Walker. They both come from software backgrounds and I have a background in graphic design. We came together in our last year of college because we were all passionate about building beautiful and advanced software and we realized that technology in the education space tends to innovate at a slower rate than other areas. We saw this as an opportunity to introduce existing advanced technologies into this space to make educators’ lives easier. Teachers are literally shaping future generations and they deserve technology that works with them rather than against them. I started out handling anything design-related for the company from logos, graphics, to the UX/UI of our products. Eventually I decided I wanted to be even more hands on with the product, so I learned HTML and CSS, and I now handle the majority of our front-end codebase. I genuinely have so much fun designing our products. Especially getting to work with teachers, hear their ideas and then build them into a product, which is exactly how our product, Loop, was created. I feel like I get to work my dream job!

What led to entrepreneurship:

From a very young age I was interested in entrepreneurship. I used to invent things all of the time to try to sell. I even set up a meeting with some employees of Pillow Pets as a kid to pitch an idea in middle school! I started college majoring in architecture because it seemed like a safer career path. However, by my 2nd year, my craving for creativity led me to switch to graphic design. I realized that I had way more fun brainstorming and conceptualizing ideas rather than creating construction docs. 

This was huge for me because it allowed me to let go of a specific career “path” and really lean into the endless possibilities that my career could be. I realized how valuable a designer can be in a tech startup environment. This is not something that is talked about enough as an option for designers. Letting go of the idea of a direct “career path” allowed me to truly embrace the freedom of dreaming big. It was definitely my “big pivot” moment in life.

Lessons Learned:

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is redefining what failure looks like in my head. Such an important aspect of entrepreneurship is being able to react and innovate at a quick pace. This often means letting go of ideas and outcomes you had visualized for weeks. I definitely learned that it is not failing when you leave an idea behind to pursue something else. In fact, this often results in an even better outcome that you couldn’t have imagined!


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