Another Month and a New Year

Hi everyone! As I mentioned in the belated December update, I was struggling with COVID for the first bit of January. I was still largely out of commission for most of the month with some tough-to-shake fatigue and problems focusing and sleeping, but our scrappy team was still able to make some considerable progress on a few really important things. 

Things We Focused on This Month

First, on the product side of things, we were able to make great headway on a number of new features we’ll be releasing over the next couple of months. The first, direct payouts to over 80 different student loan servicers, will be launching very soon. Other things we’re working on are mentioned below in our goals for next month. 

Secondly, we (mostly John) continue to deepen relationships and lay out what partnerships will look like with state agencies and university systems. We have some very strong alignment with a handful of very large organizations and are excited to launch the projects we’re working on here to get Ryze into the hands of many more users and enhance our suite of features even more. Very exciting things to come here, but there’s a ton of groundwork and foundational work that still needs to be accomplished. Not surprisingly, some of the things here move a lot slower than we are used to. 

Third was a surprise and a welcome boost. It was awesome to see Ryze named as a top startup to watch in Columbus by Purpose Jobs! Link to that right below. 

Published Media and Links

Purpose Jobs: Purpose Jobs names Ryze Rewards a Top Columbus Startups to Watch  

John: A Campaign Promise on Life Support; What’s Biden Doing to Offer Student Debt Relief?

Changes to be Made

Business wise, things are churning nicely as we close out the first month of the new year. One thing I think we could all get better at, and myself perhaps mostly, is getting our health and wellness back in order. This month I was really suffering for awhile, and trying to come back before I had fully recovered from COVID was a big mistake. 

Luckily, my sister was awesome enough to shop through one of our brand partners, Withings, and get me hooked up with a sleep and fitness tracker. My sleep performance has been abysmal and I desperately need to improve how I sleep. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. So far my sleep scores are…. Bad. 

Goals for Next Month

In February, our goals are focused on improving our product leading up to some significant platform expansion in the spring.

  • First, is launching seamless cash payouts to 80+ student loan servicers.
  • Second, is changing our account linking infrastructure for transactions from Yodlee to Plaid. 
  • Third, the biggest way we can continue to improve Ryze is with more rewards. We’ll be shooting to add 50 more online rewards to Ryze.  

Outside of Ryze

Finally, some good things are happening outside of work for the team! 

  • John will be traveling to Germany to spend some much needed time with his fiance.
  • Tom has now fully settled into his new apartment in Columbus so much so that it feels like home now. 
  • And I just finished two freelance recruiting contracts for AspireIQ and Stanford University. I’ve been fortunate to quickly land another startup client to keep the momentum going. 


The second half of this January I’ve been reminded of one of our little internal sayings many times: it’s hard to feel down when you’re making progress.

It’s rang so true this past month and every day, whether we’re able to complete projects or tasks big or small, as long as we keep finding a way to accomplish something, anything, the momentum compounds and the good vibes flow. This is important because at this stage, basically all we have in the tank keeping us going is our good vibes and vision for what Ryze will eventually become.

From all of us, we hope the good vibes are flowing for you too.

Lots of love,