Since launching in 2015, Peanut Butter, the local startup that helps companies offer student loan repayment benefits, has steadily seen growth and hit notable milestones. Whether it was partnering with local officials to give tax breaks to companies offering student loan help, or tripling its staff over the last year, Peanut Butter appears to be burgeoning.
Just this September, it added another achievement to its list when it snagged first place and won $25,000 in a startup competition hosted by BMO Harris Bank and startup incubator 1871 as part of their Fintech Partnership Program.
“That was incredible,” said David Aronson, founder and CEO of Peanut Butter and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “The best part of the program has been the opportunity to learn from their leaders and partner with them broadly—that’s the real prize.”
“We are incredibly pleased to see these three innovative fintech companies receive this recognition from BMO Harris Bank, and are excited to see how their relationships develop and continue going forward,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman in a statement. “We have been impressed with the level of mentorship and support the companies were given throughout the program.”
Peanut Butter currently employs 14 people in its offices at 1871. Aronson wouldn’t disclose how much money Peanut Butter has received in funding, but said they’ve received investments from tech veteran and AOL co-founder, Steve Case, Tullman’s VC fund G2T3V, Breakout Capital, and others.
To assist companies in offering student loan repayment benefits, Peanut Butter helps them develop customizable financial plans that make sense for their specific company. Peanut Butter’s clients include big and small public, private and nonprofit companies throughout the country, Aronson said. Companies they work with often offer a $30-50 contribution to employees’ loans per month.
“Every company can afford to offer this,” Aronson said. “This can be a great, cost-effective way to help your employees reach an accomplishment that’s really meaningful to them, and in turn help your company accomplish its business goals.”
Though it’s historically been uncommon for companies to offer loan assistance, more and more are realizing the positive effects it can have on their workforce over time. Employers that offer student loan assistance often see happier employees who remain in their jobs longer. Additionally, companies end up seeing a larger and more diverse talent pool to choose from when recruiting.
“Every company can afford to offer this.”
Aronson even offers Peanut Butter’s services to his own employees working at the company, a perk that he also benefits from since he’s carrying around his own load of debt.
“Not only am I the President, I am also a client,” Aronson said. “Peanut Butter offers our employees student loan assistance and I am a participant in the plan.”
And why name it Peanut Butter?
“It was the only thing I could afford to eat when I was in college,” he said.