The daughter of Indian immigrants, Tess Michaels grew up in Texas and attended Penn and Harvard Business School, then worked at Goldman Sachs and at billionaire Robert Smith’s private equity firm.
In 2018 she launched Boston-based Stride Funding, which offers income share agreements (ISAs), mostly to STEM grad students like people studying to be engineers, nurses and physicians’ assistants. ISAs are an alternative to student loans. The student pays nothing upfront and then pays a share of their post-graduation income. She expects to serve 1,800 students over the next year. So far, 80% of her borrowers are women and 75% are underrepresented minorities.