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Wednesday, March 6, 2019
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First Off

Lucy: Hey social media-savvy Beat readers, did you check out our Instagram account recently? Personally, I think Mollie O’Brien, our event coordinator, is doing a great job with it. Props to Mollie!

Alright, let’s kick a Beat…

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Lucy:, a three-year-old fintech startup based in Back Bay, raised a $11.2M Series A round to add sales and marketing employees to its team of 12 and expand the features of its student debt employer benefits SaaS platform.

Rethink Impact, a female-led venture capital firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco, led the round, which brings the total funding to date to $15.7M.

The company’s platform helps employees not only manage, but also understand where they are in the process of paying back their student debt, and develop strategies and monthly goals linked to their income and spending habits.

“Our users describe their student debt in stages of grief,” said Laurel Taylor, CEO of “Users, honestly, have no idea how many loans they have, what the interest rates are on their many loans, or when their student loan debt will be simply paid off.”

As the average student debt for college graduates continues to climb, many employees who are new to the workforce start their career with financial setbacks on their shoulders.

Nationally, about two in three college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2017 had student loan debt, owing an average of $28,650.

Read more: Raises $11.2M to Help Employees Pay Back Their Student Debt

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

Elsewhere in Inno

Stories from around the Inno network we think you’ll dig.

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves in Boston.

Lucy: Years ago, South By Southwest was largely known as a music conference where A&R agents would scout up-and-coming bands. Artists including John MayerAmy Winehouse and Skrillex all caught major waves after preforming at the week-long festival in Austin, Texas. But tech has been playing a bigger role at the festival every year. Now, SXSW Interactive is arguably as big of a deal as the music or film portions. This year’s festival, which runs March 8-17, will likely help catapult another batch of fast-moving companies.

Sri: And we’ll be there, too. American Inno National Director of Product and Strategy Will Flanagan and Senior Editor Brent Wistrom will be at SXSW to take a deep dive into how American Inno scaled itself. We hope to see you there.

Lucy: Now, let’s hear from American Inno writers across those 12 U.S. markets to see what startups and organizations in each metro have in store for SXSW this year. Read more: Here’s What Startups From 12 Different Cities Are Planning for SXSW This Year

Player Personnel

Who’s moving where.

Sri: Maynard, Mass.-based Stratus Technologies, a company that produces “fault tolerant computer servers and software” for industrial applications, made two key C-suite hires: John Vicente as CTO and Walter Loh as CFO. Prior to Stratus, Vicente ran the CTO office for industrial IoT at Intel and Loh was the CFO at Mavenir, a company that sells cloud-network solutions.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about tonight and this week.

Lucy: Industrial Augmented Reality: What’s Next? That’s a good question. If you’re interested in the answer, join PTC on March 14 as industry and technology experts examine the importance of industrial AR today and showcase the next phase of AR at the forefront of digital transformation. Real-time product demos, food, and drinks will be available throughout the evening. This free event starts at 5 p.m. at PTC’s new HQ (121 Seaport Boulevard). Register here.

Up Next

A glimpse into our future stories

Lucy: In the spirit of our new seriesStartup Updates, I had a chat with a local venture I covered a while ago and discovered they’ve significantly changed their strategy, going from B2C to B2B.


The fun stuff.

Lucy: Science has finally found an answer to a pressing research topic: why do zebras have stripes? There were ideas like it might help zebras stay cool, but they were debunked. Apparently, the prevailing theory right now is that stripes actually help zebras avoid fly bites; a comparison test with horses showed that flies don’t seem to be able to land on stripes. A-ha!


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Meet The Authors
Lucia Maffei
Srividya (Sri) Kalyanaraman

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