How Companies Can Free Employees of Student Loan Debt Using Tuition.io

The issue of crippling student loan debt is quite horrific, especially when you compare this to the amount of credit card debt. About 44 million Americans owe more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, and that’s greater than the total US credit card debt by $620 billion!  Companies like Tuition.io are working to solve this problem.

Since the US government isn’t making much headway in solving this problem, companies like Tuition.io are lending a helping hand. They’re working with various US companies and helping them to free their employees from the burden of this student loan debt.

What convinces many companies to take a more active role in helping out is the matter of employee retention. In various surveys, it’s been found that 86% of employees would stick it out with a particular company for at least five years if that company contributed to paying down student loan debt.

Tuition.io helps with this issue by offering the leading employee-benefit platform, enabling companies to help with the payment of student debt. Tuition.io has already succeeded in managing more than $2 billion in outstanding loans, despite their relative rookie status in the industry.

Tuition.io works with the company to create a contribution program. This program is based on the needs of not just employees, but of the company as well. However, as the employer, you are the one who chooses the program that is implemented. You write the rules and determine who the eligible employees are. The point of this is?  You have the ability to choose which employees you want to retain in your organization.

The team from Tuition.io manages everything for you.  This management covers getting the right employees onboard, verifying their debts, and sending out the payments to the loan servicer. You can, however, track everything through the administrative and analytics tool.

And as the employer who made this all happen, you get the credit. To be frank, your employees will feel beholden to you, and you will be able to convince them to stay on as employees. You have proven your loyalty as their employer, and your employees will most likely reciprocate.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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5 Best Ways to Motivate Your Employees in 2019

5 Effective Ways to Motivate Your Employees in 2019

Every entrepreneur should know just how crucial motivation is in the success of their business. This inner drive can easily push your business to reach new heights as it’s the very key to productivity.

While you might have all the reasons in the world to work hard for your business, your team members might not be in the same boat as you. Your employees can be motivated by lots of things to do well in their jobs but there are instances that they lose sight of what drives them. This can then cause some lagging in your venture’s progress.

Effective Techniques to Motivate Your Employees

What can you do when you hit a snag like this? The first thing would be to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Try to determine whether you’re providing an ideal work environment for your workers.

It is said that it’s all about balance if you want to stay motivated.

Just think about it: lots of leaders and entrepreneurs get to enjoy a good balance between work and rest because they have already achieved a certain amount of success. The relative freedom that comes with success is pretty much a reward for the hard work required for the achievement.

As a result, you’re freed to focus on other things and even relax a bit since you don’t have to do everything anymore. This gives you ample free time to balance work and play to help you stay leveled and in good shape to focus with work the next day.

Not all workplaces offer the same thing to all of its employees and it can kill their motivation and hurt their productivity. So how do you remedy such an issue? Here are five ways that you can try:

1. Offer a salary increase

If your employee has consistently worked hard to provide great results for your company, then, rewarding them with an increase in salary would be the best way to keep them motivated. This is the most popular form of expressing your appreciation for their efforts.

By providing a slight increase in their salary, they’ll know that their hard work is not in vain. They’ll feel fully acknowledged for persevering to achieve and exceed company goals.

As a lot of experts say, your best investment is your people, so you should look at this technique as another solid investment for your business. With a group of highly motivated and highly productive people, you can be sure that your business will move forward.

2. Incentivize regularly

Can’t afford to increase your team’s salary just yet? Then incentivizing achievements could be a great alternative. This doesn’t have to come in monetary form all the time, though. Sometimes you can just host a fun activity or a celebration instead. It can also come in the form of vacation days and even small gifts.

The best time to incentivize your crew is when they successfully achieved something as a team. If it’s not exactly a major feat, hosting a celebration of sorts would be a good way to express your appreciation for their hard work. You can take the whole team out for dinner, drinks, or even an actual vacation. You can decide depending on what their accomplishments are.

Small incentives can also be great motivators. Some companies like to give out gifts to their top performers from time to time so you can also do that if your business requires individual work.

Giving your team ample time off can also be a good way to keep them in high spirits. This will help them achieve a healthy work-life balance, so you should also look closely into this kind of incentive.

3. Be expressive in your appreciation

Commending your team members when they did a good job is possibly the simplest way to keep your people motivated. It’s also one of the most overlooked techniques, so as a team leader, you should keep this trick in mind.

The most effective way to execute this trick is by having one-on-ones with your team members after they performed well. Doing this can easily validate their hard work which can work wonders on their mood and how they look at their job. These talks can also help you establish a better connection with your employees and improve your professional relationship so it’s a win for everyone.

4. Offer free food

If your operations allow it, why not offer free food as well? It’s proven that free food can lighten the mood in any setting, so it would be a great idea to add it to your workplace.

Being well-fed while taking on important challenges can really help boost a person’s mood. It can make your team feel like they’re being cared for. It can also provide some financial ease since they don’t have to spend money to fill their stomachs.

5. Create learning opportunities

Aside from accomplishing tasks and getting recognized for it, it’s also important to make your team realize that they’re not headed towards a dead-end. They shouldn’t feel like they’re stuck or that their careers are headed nowhere. This will make them lose all of their motivation and it will be tough to gain them back again.

Countering this shouldn’t be a tricky thing to do. You can always find ways to show them the bigger picture that they’re a part of. Your employees can surely see how the business is progressing thanks to their hard work.

Aside from this, you should also create opportunities for their growth. This is the very reason why companies send their top people to seminars and training. These can better hone their skills and teach them new skills that can be beneficial for the business.

Promotions are also essential. Even in smaller businesses, it could help if you can increase the responsibilities tasked on your top performers. This will not just make them feel rewarded for their hard work but it can also help them move ahead in their professional life.

Motivating your employees may be tricky but it’s highly necessary if you want your business to succeed. All of your efforts will prove to be well worth it in the end if you do manage to motivate your employees as it can lead to productivity and low turnover numbers.

Here are a few other ideas

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

How California’s MedMen Is a Leader In The Legal Marijuana Gold Rush

Will MedMen Become The Starbucks of Weed

A quick look at the growing legal cannabis trade through the rapid expansion of MedMen.

It has been said before that legalizing a lot of banned things can lead to progress. Marijuana certainly proved this theory to be true. Legalizing cannabis didn’t just make an alternative treatment to certain diseases more accessible, but it also created a booming industry.

Studies show that spending on legal cannabis can grows up to $57 billion by 2027. However, the numbers that MedMen, the leading cannabis company in the US, has been sharing are also excellent proof that the industry is highly promising.

While there have been a few snags along the way, it will be hard to deny that the legal cannabis trade is booming. Just recently, MedMen made the largest cannabis acquisition in history. Granted, there aren’t a lot of previous transactions of the sort, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that the numbers involved are astonishing.

The company has also been recently listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange. This helped them raise about $110 million. It’s lower than their goal but it’s still a promising figure that signals potential growth.

A lot of market experts also note that MedMen stocks should be watched. They said that its major acquisition is a solid move for the business to establish itself. It’s also said that this is practically the birth of the industry and it will be hard to deny this.

With all of the milestones that MedMen has been reaching, more and more people are already feeling the change and developments such achievements can bring. One of this is how such a large acquisition can affect the distribution of medical marijuana. It can make these once-banned products easier to acquire which can definitely change how people consume the substance.

Who is MedMen?

Before we go into the implications of MedMen’s explosive growth, you might be wondering just how this business became the biggest name in the legal weed trade. Who is MedMen exactly and how did they get so big?

The company started out about nine years ago when the ‘California Ganja Gold Rush’ started. Its founders, Adam Bierman, and Andrew Modlin saw the potential in the trade so they decided to dive in. Over the years, it has seriously grown so much that they were able to open a 45,000-square foot greenhouse and manufacturing facility, hire over 800 employees, and operate 14 retail stores in various states.

They have also just recently started building another manufacturing facility of the same size as their first one. They’re expecting it to start operating in 2019 to better supply the 66 additional retail stores that they are now licensed to operate. They still have 13 more cultivation licenses, though, so the future of the company is very bright.

MedMen is also noted for being the first business to acquire state license for a cannabis business in the city of L.A. They were definitely lucky enough to already be in operation when the recreational use of weed became legal.

Note, however, that MedMen is not just a business for recreational or medical pot. According to the founders, they’re in the wellness trade. In fact, when you visit their stores, they don’t classify their products according to the two aforementioned categories. They categorize their products according to seven states of being that their consumers might want to get to (activity, happiness, fluidity, enlightenment, balance, rest, and wellness) instead.

Another notable thing about MedMen is its overall retail concept. First off, its stores are found in iconic locations like Beverly Hills, the Las Vegas Strip, Venice Beach, and Fifth Avenue, New York. This says a lot about what brand they’re going for.

The stores in itself are worth checking out. They can offer a unique experience with their noteworthy product display and store design.

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Not your average retail store. 🌿 #DTLA

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‘Mainstreaming Marijuana’

Speaking of its retail stores, MedMen’s locations are the best clues as to where the company intends to lead the industry. According to them, they wish to take marijuana to the mainstream and they intend to do that by changing how people perceive the substance.

What the brand wants to do is to introduce the substance to more recreational users. They wish to offer it as an alternative to a glass of wine or a few tablets of Xanax as a way for people to relax and unwind after a long week.

They’re not just about catering to their established ‘stoner’ clientele but want to expand their market beyond their target audience. This is why they promote a more modern approach to weed consumption. They want to make people understand that the substance offers more than what the stoner films of old can bring.

To achieve this, they make it a point to feature edibles and vaping pens, among many others. They offer about 1000 products in store and a lot of them are patented and will provide consumers with new ways to enjoy cannabis.

With this, alongside their retail stores’ eventual growth in numbers, MedMen hopes to entice the mainstream to give cannabis a try. By making the process of acquiring the substance feel normal, casual, and nonchalant, just like how people routinely grab their coffee, they might just be able to expand their business’ reach.

In a way, you can also look at MedMen as a brand that “gentrifies” your cannabis consumption. If back in the day, people had to meet up with sleazy folks or visit dingy and rundown establishments to get their fix, there’s no more need to do that anymore with MedMen around.

This is why it’s so easy to compare it with the rise of coffee consumption in the past decade. If most folks mostly only consumed stale coffee grounds or old diner coffee, Starbucks changed that and made the whole activity a trendy thing to do. As laws on cannabis consumption loosen up a bit around the US, MedMen hopes to do the same thing for weed.

When you look at the bigger picture, recreating what Starbucks did is a very good goal. Ambitious, but at the rate that MedMen is going, it might not be impossible to do. If only more states follow suit in loosening their laws on cannabis use, this industry might just lend a hand to local economies.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Uber Works Wants to Disrupt The On-demand Staffing Business

Uber Works Wants to Disrupt The On-demand Staffing Business

Uber doesn’t always have an easy time doing business. But instead of just relying on its rideshare platform, it’s diversifying its services to provide a lot more earning opportunities for the company and for its drivers. One of these initiatives is the new Uber Works, which the company is testing right now.

What’s Uber Works?

This is an on-demand staffing business, much like the original Uber template is an on-demand rideshare business. This service enables its client businesses to hire various workers for short-term duties. If there’s a special event or a corporate function then Uber Works allows these companies to hire waiters and security guards for the duration.

It’s still a new initiative that Uber is exploring, and it may not turn into a business at all. But it has been tested in LA, and now trials are being held for Uber Works in Chicago.

Other Uber Ideas

Uber Works isn’t the only new way for the company to earn income.

  • Uber Eats is perhaps the most notable new service offered by the company, as it provides its drivers with a new food-delivery service. It’s a service that’s now available in 250 cities all over the world, and it has managed to generate $6 billion in total bookings for the last year.
  • Uber has a trucking division called Uber Freight, which matches available truckers to companies that need its goods to be transported. This division now has a new service called Powerloop. This time, it rents out physical equipment like tractor trailers to the drivers who need them.
  • They’ve added bikes and electric scooters to the Uber apt this year.
  • They’re planning to add the option for all-electric short-range aircraft in the future.
  • Uber is also working on self-driving technology.

Uber as the Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

It’s no secret that Uber has been facing a lot of criticism for the last few years. Critics have long harped on how it denies its drivers benefits like a minimum wage and health benefits. Its global expansion has slowed down, and it has been disastrous in Russia and China. Even its research on self-driving technology has taken a beating in the public eye when one of their test cars had an accident that killed a pedestrian.

Yet the valuation for Uber has now grown to $70 billion. Some even think that it can reach a total value of $120 billion when it’s time for the company to go public. Those $120 billion valuations would be more than the combined company value total of the Big 3 automakers. To see just how Uber has grown, note that its supposed rival Lyft is also planning an initial public offering but experts believe that it will end up with just a valuation of $15 billion.

Much of the Uber renaissance is due to the diversification of its efforts. Uber Eats in itself is already worth $20 billion. It’s trying to do another Amazon path to success, and Amazon started with just books. Will Uber achieve the same level of success? Stay tuned!

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

As the tech sector in LA grows due to the saturation of the tech industry in the San Francisco area, the same problems in Silicon Valley are now coming up. There’s a growing tension between the upstarts of the tech industry and the regular folks in the community surrounding this IT boom.

According to critics, what will follow in LA will be what happened in San Francisco if there’s nothing done about it. Regular people and longtime residents will feel alienated and looked down upon. They will feel like they’re being forced out by the higher rents and costs of homes as well as the prices of regular consumer goods.

That’s why more than 80 entrepreneurs and tech investors are joining Mayor Eric Garcetti and the non-profit Annenberg Foundation to launch PledgeLA. This is the LA tech community initiative that seeks to avoid what happened in San Francisco and to the people there who felt disenfranchised by the growing tech boom.

PledgeLA Features

Features of the initiative include the following:

  • More opportunities will be provided for everyone, regardless of race, background, or gender. So even non-white women who grew up poor should have the same opportunities as the white guys who grew up rich.
  • Those who signed to the PledgeLA agreement will track civic participation and diversity data each year. That data will be made public so that people will know if a tech company is made up of exclusively white males from the Ivy Leagues and other top schools.
  • Startups and funds will report on the composition of their workforce noting various factors. This won’t be just noting age, gender, and race. It will also note socioeconomic origin, educational attainment, and even sexual orientation to see if there’s bias against hiring members of the LGBT community. Other factors will include the status in regards to disabilities, immigration, and military service veteran. Even the tenure at a firm will be noted.
  • The signatories also will come up with a proper code of conduct centered on diversity and inclusion, and diversity will be practiced in corporate hiring.

Good Business Sense

While many who signed PledgeLA did so out of a sense of moral and ethical rightness, it also makes good business sense to emphasize diversity on corporate hiring practices. A Diverse workgroup brings different points of views when it comes to making decisions. It helps with networking for sources of talent, and the diverse work group can help build a diverse consumer base as well.

LA has now become one of the top 5 US destinations for technology investment and it’s now one of the top tech hubs in the country. The top 100 tech companies in LA and Orange County has reported a 24% increase in employment within the last year.

There are a still a few notable holdouts to PledgeLA, however. Tesla and SpaceX have not yet signed on, and nor has Snap. But LA is an inherently diverse area, and such a diversity must be maintained in the tech workplace as well.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Karlie Kloss Teaching Code to Teenage Girls

Karlie Kloss Teaching Code to Teenage Girls

If you’ve followed fashion over the last decade, then you’re familiar with the Karlie Kloss name. She’s the gorgeous model who’s actually been around for the last 11 years or so. She’s BFFs with the likes of Taylor Swift and Serena Williams. Her boyfriend is Joshua Kushner, who happens to be the younger brother of Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner.

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Cannes Cannes Cannes #tbt

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So how can a fashion model suddenly teach doing to teens? Actually, it’s all because of the people she met while working in fashion.

Learning the Language

As a model, her work often had her meeting various Silicon Valley entrepreneurs at parties. It didn’t take her long to realize that these were the people whose technology was suddenly changing how society worked.

Karlie wanted to learn what they knew, so she learned. She went to a 2-week class at the Flatiron School, which is a renowned coding boot camp in lower Manhattan. That’s where she learned how to use the Ruby program to build web apps. It’s wasn’t all that hard for her, because prior to her modeling career she excelled as a student in subjects like math and science.

A year after that, she began her own coding scholarship program at the Flatiron School. This program grew to 50 camps in up to 25 cities. This summer, a thousand girls in those camps can learn various coding skills such as basic HTML/CSS, Ruby, and JavaScript. They can get into virtual reality programs, gaming platforms, and even artificial intelligence.

Networking and Connections

Part of her professional life as a model was meeting people from many other industries in various parts of the world. It just so happens that Karlie Kloss also met Kevin Systrom, who founded Instagram. Kloss was fascinated by how such a platform can touch the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and she wanted to understand that skill set and language. It was this meeting that gave her the nudge to go to the Flatiron School.

Her friendship with Serena Williams also includes sitting together on the board of Oath. This is the Verizon subsidiary that owns AOL, Yahoo, and other digital content brands.

Her beau’s career is also separate from the political industry in which Jared Kushner is a part of. Joshua is a venture capitalist, and he also helped found the health insurance start-up Oscar Health.

Kode with Klossy

Karlie Kloss isn’t just a model. She also runs Klossy, which is a philanthropic organization also involved with both fashion and multimedia. She runs this group out of her home in Lafayette Street in SoHo.

In 2015, she started Koding with Klossy as a coding camp for teenage girls. It’s to counterbalance the fact that most coding camps are predominantly peopled by boys and men. In such an all-girls environment, teenage girls tend to feel safer and more comfortable.

The results have been very encouraging. One camper had been accepted to Princeton University, where she will major in computer science. Another had completed a computer science internship at Microsoft, while another girl had just finished an internship at Viacom and will now pursue her activist goals with the help of coding.

In the end, it’s not farfetched to realize that pretty models and girls can learn how to code. The fact that some people judge due to gender is actually one of the first misconceptions that must be put to rest, sooner or later. Karlie Kloss is doing just that.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.