About Us

Stride Funding was built with students in mind. Our Income Share Agreements offer students an innovative alternative to tradition fixed payment installment loans.

The Team

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Tess Michaels

Chief Executive Officer

  • Serial entrepreneur 

  • Goldman Sachs

  • Vista Equity

  • MBA, Harvard Business School

  • Impact Investing at Wharton​

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David Kafafian

Chief Operating Officer

  • Serial entrepreneur - Early entrant into ISA space

  • Investment banking at JPMorgan

  • Senior Watson Analytics Consultant at IBM

  • Harvard Law School graduate


Kamen Madjarov

Vice President of Data Science

  • Data Science leadership experience that spans multiple industries

  • Focused on building full-stack Data Science teams that deliver scalable ML solutions

  • Ph.D. in Economics

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Graham Opie

Senior Operations and Program Manager

  • 5+ years growing operations teams

  • Focus on alternative education and boot camps

  • Career readiness and financial literacy expert

  • PMP certified

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Aidan O'Gara

Data Scientist

  • Predictive income and financial models expert

  • AI Researcher

  • Winner of Amazon's 2019 Alexa Hackathon

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Brendan Florez

Senior Technology Consultant

  • Serial entrepreneur 

  • Early entrant into ISA space as founder of Base Capital

  • Former CEO of Lumni USA


Rishi Surana

Software Engineer

  • Fullstack Engineer

  • General Assembly Alumni

  • Specializing in web development, artificial intelligence, and machine learning


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


Andrew Kenney

Vice President of Engineering

  • 15 years experience scaling teams and systems

  • Led engineering at multiple Boston unicorn companies

  • Deep expertise in analytics, fintech, and data systems

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Scott Russian

Director of Finance

  • Finance Executive and Credit Expert

  • Liberty Mutual Insurance

  • Intel Corporation

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)


Brynlin Curry

Business Operations Manager

  • 5+ years management experience

  • SMU Cox MBA 2023

  • Graduate Saint Edward's University, including Semester at Sea (SAS)


Ellyse Spromberg

Customer Success Associate

  • 5+ years of customer support

  • Graduate from Arizona State University

  • Organizer for ASU 2019 PowHer conference

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Conor McCormack

Software Engineer

  • ML Engineering at Apple Special Projects 

  • MS Candidate, Electrical Engineering @ USC

  • Data engineering, computer vision, and web development

Student Supporters

Stride Funding was built with students in mind.

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

Investors & Advisors

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Ashley Bittner

  • Founding Partner at Firework Ventures

  • Principal with Owl Ventures LLC 

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Don Graham

  • Chairman of Graham Holdings

  • 20+ years as publisher of The Washington Post 

  • Co-founder of TheDream.US

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Brigette Lau

  • Founding Partner at Firework Ventures

  • Founding Partner at Social Capital LP

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Lisa Lewin

  • CEO at General Assembly 

  • Former Vice President and General Manager at McGraw-Hill Education

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Deborah Quazzo

  • Managing Partner of GSV Ventures

  • Investor in Coursera, CampusLogic, Degreed

  • 16 years investment banking at Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan

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Jeff Bussgang

  • General Partner and Co-Founder at Flybridge Capital Partners

  • Senior Lecturer in Business Administration at Harvard Business School

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Jessica Hinkle

  • SVP of Strategic Investments at Strada Education Network

  • Former Chief Product Officer at Laureate International Universities

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Doug Levin

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

  • Harvard / MIT Faculty

  • Expert on software development

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Max P. Michaels

  • Former Head of IBM Networks

  • Investment banking (Financial Institutions) at Morgan Stanley

  • Strategist at McKinsey, Cisco, AT&T ​ ​

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Tina Sharkey

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

  • Serial entrepreneur

  • Expert on D2C branding and community building

Partners & Sponsors

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Careers: Join the Stride Squad

We're currently hiring a Business Operations & Customer Success ManagerDirector of Data Science and Advanced Analytics, and Customer Success Intern. Visit our Careers page for more info or email joinstride@stridefunding.com.

Stride Funding Team

Want to learn more?