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This ed-tech startup has its roots in a groundbreaking program created by Starbucks. Back in 2014, the coffee mega-chain partnered with Arizona State University to launch the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, an initiative designed to make it easier for employees to earn college degrees online. That program has produced 4,500 college graduates to date, and its success served as the catalyst for ASU to create InStride in 2019, in collaboration with The Rise Fund, the social-impact investment fund managed by private-equity firm TPG.

InStride now partners with 11 universities and more than 30 corporate clients, including Adidas, the Banfield Pet Hospitals veterinary group, and food- and uniform-services giant Aramark. The startup specializes in working with company leaders to develop curricula that will help them retain and develop their in-house talent—from short-term “upskilling” courses to graduate degrees. It then acts as a broker between the employers and universities and other educators to build the relevant programs. Employers save on the costs of recruiting, replacing, and retraining staff—and consequently, they’re often more willing to pay most or all the cost of tuition. InStride says that the 26,000 employees it has reached so far have avoided about $164 million in student debt.

Company information

Los Angeles
Vivek Sharma
No. of employees (approximate)80
The Rise Fund, Arizona State University
Web address