About Us

Stride Funding was built with students in mind. With Stride, you never pay more than you can afford. Our Income Share Agreements offer students an innovative alternative to student loans.


Tess Michaels

Chief Executive Officer

  • Serial entrepreneur 

  • Investment banking at Goldman Sachs

  • Private equity at Vista Equity

  • MBA, Harvard Business School

  • Impact Investing at Wharton

David Kafafian

VP, Business Development & Operations

  • Serial entrepreneur - Early entrant into ISA space

  • Investment banking at JPMorgan

  • Senior Watson Analytics Consultant at IBM

  • Harvard Law School graduate

Patrick S. Ziegler

Director of University Relations

  • Former Financial Aid Administrator and Loan Coordinator

  • 15 years in higher education financing

  • Doctoral student in Education Policy and Leadership

Aidan O'Gara

Data Scientist

  • Predictive income and financial models expert

  • AI Researcher

  • Winner of Amazon's 2019 Alexa Hackathon

Patrick J. Conner

Chief Revenue Officer

  • Student financing veteran       

  • 20+ years managing student loan portfolios at banks (Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, Santander)

  • Early hire at SoFi

Max P. Michaels

Chief Investment Officer

  • Former GM at IBM

  • Investment banking (Financial Institutions) at Morgan Stanley

  • Strategist at McKinsey, Cisco, AT&T

Ryan Gardner

Senior Marketing Manager

  • Expert in FinTech product marketing

  • 4 years in student loan space (Vault | Student Loan Genius)

  • Market Research at UT Austin

Brendan Florez

Senior Technology Consultant

  • Serial entrepreneur 

  • Early entrant into ISA space as founder of Base Capital

  • Former CEO of Lumni USA 

Student Supporters

Stride Funding was built with students in mind.

These remarkable student leaders at campuses across the country support Stride Funding.

Partners and Sponsors


Deborah Quazzo

  • Managing Partner of GSV Ventures

  • Investor in Coursera, CampusLogic, Degreed

  • 16 years investment banking at Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan

Doug Levin

  • Founder of Black Duck Software (sold to Synopsys for ~$550mm)

  • Harvard / MIT Faculty

  • Expert on software development

Tina Sharkey

  • Founder of Brandless (raised ~$300mm in venture funding)

  • Serial entrepreneur

  • Expert on D2C branding and community building

Careers: Join the Stride Squad

We know talent comes from all places, at any time. While we aren’t filling any specific full time positions currently, we always welcome the opportunity to speak with smart, motivated, passionate people who share our dream of improving pathways to affordable education.

Visit our Careers page for more info or email joinstride@stridefunding.com. 

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Dallas | New York City | Boston | San Francisco

AlmaPact is now Stride. Stride Funding is the trade name of ALMAPACT INC., a C Corporation funded by institutional investors. © Stride 2020.

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