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Description: Under the staggering debt of post-secondary loans, Rob Ebrahimi saw an opportunity to create a repayment recommendation tool that could help solve debt issues across America. In a sector where scammers and dishonest debt-management services can take advantage of uneducated consumers, ReadyForZero is empowering users to take control of their debt in a simple and transparent way.


Date: April 16 2012

Rod Ebrahimi watched his girlfriend finish graduate school with a hefty amount of debt. The two created a spreadsheet to help plot how to tackle repaying her student loans and the other debts they had accrued. As they worked, it occurred to Ebrahimi that this was a widespread problem that technology could solve–the perfect opportunity for a Silicon Valley startup.

His own personal finance hurdle was the catalyst for, a San Francisco-based company that helps consumers manage debt. At the time of his light-bulb moment, Ebrahimi had been accepted to Y Combinator, a Mountain View, Calif., incubator that helped launch social news site reddit and document-sharing service Scribd. Ebrahimi and Ignacio Thayer, a former senior software engineer at Google, decided to ditch their idea for a news-aggregating service and instead use their time at the incubator to develop the debt-relief concept. Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1. How does this less intrusive technology gain the trust of its users?
2. What affect do you think trust has on user engagement?

One Response to “How a Pile of Student Debt Inspired a Venture-Backed Startup”

  1. Mr. White

    I think that there are a number of problems associated with communication between teachers and students facilitated by Facebook, particularly when the student is less than eighteen years old.

    The liability risk involved in the communication between teachers and students is extremely high. Teachers owe a fiduciary duty of care to the best interests of the school board, and teachers who communicate with students on Facebook are violating their responsibility to maintain the best interests of the school board. There are too many issues that can raise legality concerns; all Facebook activity is documented, and may be used as evidence in court. These concerns may be something as seemingly harmless as a “poke”, which some may call mild flirting, or may be something as serious as a sexual relationship between an adult and a child. Of course, the latter is extreme, but certainly a valid concern, based on well documented events in the media.

    I don’t think that there is much risk for Facebook involving student-teacher relations on Facebook. The user of Facebook will be held responsible for their actions. Policies affecting Facebook useage may be the biggest thing.

    Aside from the legality concerns, there certainly are benefits to Facebook communication between students and teachers. To name one, teachers would probably be more effective at communicating important information to students, and perhaps the students’ education could be enhanced.

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