Leading the way to a more affordable education

We offer innovative solutions that help students pay less for their education. That means cheaper
textbooks, more affordable student loans, tools that help graduates get debt-free faster, and more.

Team Bios

Management Team  |  Board of Directors  |  Investors

Management Team

Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Prior to co-founding SimpleTuition, Kevin was Vice President at Cole Management, a Russia-focused venture fund, where he sought and evaluated investment opportunities in Russia's high-tech, consumer internet and financial services sectors. While at Cole Management, Kevin worked closely with the Chairman of Yandex (www.yandex.ru), Russia's leading search engine.

Previously, Kevin was an early employee of the First Marblehead Corporation (NYSE: FMD), where he held executive roles in the firm's product management, sales, and marketing areas over nine years and two tours of duty. Prior to the company's IPO, Kevin established and headed First Marblehead's marketing department, beginning the firm's testing of new media for direct-to-consumer marketing of private student loans.

Kevin also served as a Principal at the management consulting firm, the Parthenon Group (www.parthenon.com). At Parthenon, Kevin advised CEOs of global Fortune 500 manufacturing, publishing and financial services companies on general business strategy. At the start of his career, Kevin founded and sold the School of Russian Studies, a Russian language and cultural school, based in Russia. (www.sras.org).

Kevin serves on the Board of Trustees of the Tower School (www.towerschool.org). Kevin was a 2009 Finalist from New England for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Kevin holds a BA in Russian from Amherst and an MBA from Harvard.

Patrick Kandianis

Patrick Kandianis, Co-Founder, EVP & Chief Sales Officer
Patrick has worked in different sectors serving the higher education market for the past 21 years, including education finance, systems/software and travel. Most recently, as VP of Business Development for First Marblehead Corp, Patrick led the company’s sales efforts in the Midwest and Western regions and helped formulate product strategy and development before and after the company’s IPO. Previously, Patrick had a role as Director of Business Development for Jenzabar, a startup which became a leading systems provider for colleges and universities. Earlier on, Pat was one of the original principals of Student Travel Services and Suncoast Vacations, leading student tour companies where, as VP of Sales and Operations, he led business development, marketing and advertising efforts nationwide. Pat holds a BA from Cornell.

Bobby Brannigan

Bobby Brannigan, SVP Textbooks and eCommerce
Prior to joining the SimpleTuition team, Bobby was the Founder & CEO of ValoreBooks.com, a premier online textbook marketplace. Bobby founded ValoreBooks out of his college dorm room using nothing but a few credit cards, and since its inception has helped save students over $100 million dollars on college textbooks. During his ten years building the business, Bobby garnered extensive college textbook domain and eCommerce expertise. Bobby holds a BA in Finance from The State University of New York at Fredonia.

Rick Cimino

Rick Cimino, VP of Operations
Rick brings over 20 years of operations and education loan and payment management experience to SimpleTuition. He was most recently a Vice President of Lending Operations at Key Bank / Key Education Services where he played a leadership role in building and managing the Key Bank student lending division. At Key Bank Rick's teams were responsible for processing over 1.8 billion dollars of Federal and Private student loan volume and payment plan operations revenue. He successfully led the team as the business owner for the redesign of all student lending and operations systems that drastically improved internal business efficiencies and the external loan application experience for the school and student channels. Prior to his role at Key Bank, he was part of the original team at First Marblehead where he was responsible for Client Service Operations. Rick managed operations, vendor management, bank, school, originator and loan servicer relationships, student loan product design, implementation and loan processing for the GATE Student Loan portfolio. Rick has spent many years in Operations and Client Management within the Education Lending and Financial Services industry holding executive positions and Bank Of America, Allmerica Financial Corporation and Hanover Insurance. Rick holds a BA from The Boston Conservatory of Music.

Greg Lutz

Greg Lutz, VP of Engineering, Chief Architect
Greg has more than 17 years experience in the software industry including seven years at Lotus Development Corporation. For the past 10 years he has focused on developing high-performance, high-traffic web sites. He joined the SimpleTuition team in 2006. Greg volunteers his time teaching robotics at a local middle school and enjoys flying airplanes in his spare time. Greg is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and holds a BS from San Diego State University.

Eric Newman

Eric Newman, VP of Product
Eric has worked with technology companies for a decade, in a variety of roles. He currently leads the product team at SimpleTuition, where he is responsible for executing the product vision and helping students and their families save on the cost of college. Prior to SimpleTuition, Eric worked to bring new content and products to market at Hulu. Eric started his career as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting, working with large, Fortune 500 clients on go-to-market strategy, new product development, and corporate strategy. Eric holds a degree in economics from Boston College and an MBA from Harvard.

Meera Oliva

Meera Oliva, VP Marketing
Meera Oliva brings over 13 years of consumer marketing experience to SimpleTuition. Before assuming the role of VP of Marketing, she was Director of Retention and focused on developing the company's email and relationship marketing efforts. Prior to joining SimpleTuition, Meera led the retention marketing efforts at Sports Illustrated magazine. She also gained experience in direct-to-consumer marketing at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, working on the customer acquisition and retention marketing strategy for Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Everyday Food. Meera is on the Board of Directors at the Foundation for Faces of Children, a Boston-based non-profit serving the needs of children with craniofacial disorders. She has a BA in Psychology from Brown University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Larry Rausch

Larry Rausch, VP of Sales
Larry has been working in the Financial Services Industry since 1988. For the past 15 years he was with CUNA Mutual Group, the leading provider of financial services to credit unions and their members worldwide. In his role as Account Vice President, Larry worked closely with credit union leaders to drive consumer lending growth and maximize the sales of lending related products. Larry holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts.

John Yee

John Yee, VP of Finance
John brings 20 years of finance and accounting experience with both publicly-traded companies and privately-held companies. Prior to joining SimpleTuition in 2008, John served as Corporate Controller of Watchfire which was acquired by IBM in July 2007. During his tenure at Watchfire, he played a major role in supporting the acquisition and post-merger integration initiatives. Previously, John held senior financial roles at a wide variety of companies including Praecis Pharmaceuticals, Salary.com, Decision Resources, OneSource Information Services and Tenor Networks. John began his career with the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a BS in Accounting from Bentley University.


Board of Directors

Jeffrey Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
Jeff is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners whose investment interests and entrepreneurial experience are in consumer, Internet commerce, marketing services, software and wireless start-ups.

Jeff currently represents the firm on the boards of BzzAgent, Click Tactics, go2 Media, i4cp, InnerWireless, Mall Networks, SimpleTuition, and Transpera and was previously a director at Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M) and PanGo Networks (merged with InnerWireless)

Jeff's popular blog on helping demystify the venture business for entrepreneurs, "Seeing Both Sides", can be found at www.bostonvcblog.com. Jeff was named to the Boston Business Journal's "40 under 40" list in 2006.

Prior to joining the firm in January 2003, Jeff co-founded Upromise (acquired by Sallie Mae), a loyalty marketing and financial services firm that currently manages $20 billion in college savings assets, where he served as President, Chief Operating Officer and Board Director. Prior to Upromise, Jeff was an executive at Open Market, an Internet commerce software leader that went public in 1996 and grew to nearly $100 million in revenues. During his five-year tenure, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development, Vice President of Worldwide Professional Services and head of Product Management. Prior to Open Market, Jeff was with the strategy consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group, and served on the executive team of Athena Design, an object-oriented software start-up.

Jeff holds a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar and a Ford Scholar.

Ryan Moore, Partner, Atlas Venture
Ryan Moore is a Partner in the technology group at Atlas Venture. He joined Atlas in 2011 and focuses on emerging web service companies that make the lives of consumers better and help any size business perform better.

Before joining Atlas, Ryan was a General Partner at GrandBanks Capital, which he co-founded in 2000. At Grandbanks Capital, Ryan served on the boards of Enpocket, which was sold to Nokia Corporation in October 2007,and Where (formerly known as uLocate Communications), which was sold to eBay in April 2011. Ryan also served as the lead investor in Achievers.com, First Coverage (sold to TIM Group), Insight Squared, Nexage, Vela Systems, Savored.com and Vivox.

Prior to co-founding GrandBanks Capital, Ryan was at SOFTBANK Venture Capital (Mobius Venture Capital), and SOFTBANK Capital Partners, a strategic late-stage investment fund. Before that, he was a Senior Associate focusing on Internet Investment Banking with Robertson Stephens in San Francisco.

Ryan currently serves on the Board of Atlas portfolio companies OwnerIQ, Moo Print and SimpleTuition. Ryan also serves on the Advisory Boards of The Capital Network and the Mass TLC Mobile Cluster.

Ryan earned his AB in Economics from Princeton University.

Ralph James, Independent Board Member
Ralph James is Executive Director of Executive Education at Harvard Business School. From 1996 to 2005 he served in various roles at the First Marblehead Corporation (NYSE: FMD), including Vice Chairman, President, COO and EVP. From 1994 to 1996, Ralph was Associate Dean and Senior Executive Officer of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. From 1993 to 1994, Ralph served as Director of Major Gifts for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. From 1982 to 1993, Ralph served in various administrative capacities in executive education and fundraising for the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Ralph received a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

Kevin Walker, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, SimpleTuition
See above

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Investors

Atlas Venture
Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences companies. Since inception in 1980, its partners have helped build over 350 companies in more than 16 different countries. The firm is currently investing in its eighth fund and manages over $2 billion in committed capital. For more information, please visit www.atlasventure.com.

Flybridge Capital Partners
Flybridge Capital Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm whose mission is to assist entrepreneurs in growing innovative, global companies. With $560 million under management, the firm is focused on investing in consumer, healthcare and information technology markets and is led by a team with domain expertise and more than half a century of combined experience in venture capital. For more information, visit www.flybridge.com.

North Hill Ventures
Founded in 1999, North Hill Ventures specializes in early-stage financial technology and marketing technology companies. Through our experience as investors, advisors, and operating managers, we have developed strong networks of industry contacts, a deep understanding of our target markets, and the skills to help our portfolio companies grow and prosper.

Our operating philosophy is simple. We approach every new investment opportunity in a pragmatic, results-oriented fashion. We communicate clearly and directly with prospective entrepreneurs and co-investors. And once we make the decision to invest, we devote our time, energy, and considerable resources to do whatever it takes to help our portfolio companies succeed.

We also believe that close, productive relationships among the key players are a significant component in the success of any venture. That's why we work hard to establish cooperative working relationships with our entrepreneurs, management teams, and co-investors. At any time, we're ready to share ideas, lend our support, or simply act as a sounding board.

For more information, visit North Hill Ventures.

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