Derek Kaknes

Derek Kaknes

Former investment banking analyst and UVA graduate
New York, NY

Résumé Highlights

Founder & CEO of Prime Student Loan
July 2012 - Present
Founded company focused on inefficiencies in the student loan industry. Alumni of MassChallenge 2012 startup accelerator program. Currently finalizing Seed round fundraising.
Investment Banking Analyst at Jefferies & Co.
June 2009 - June 2012
Covered Aerospace & Defense industry in Washington DC and NYC, focusing on M&A advisory, LBO transactions, and capital markets, including structured products.
B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Univ. of Virginia
June 2005 - June 2009
Attained a degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Intern at Lehman Brothers, Boston MA
Summer 2007
Rotated through various departments, including mortgages, private wealth and M&A.

Why Upstart

I am using Upstart capital to diversify my own human capital and finance my work at Prime Student Loan. I believe that my engineering background coupled with my financial expertise gives me a highly valuable and readily employable skill set: I turned down buyside offers in June to pursue PSL. I strongly believe that we are on the cusp of a revolution in consumer finance: the last 25 years have been about putting more debt on more individuals; the next 25 years will be about making individuals and consumer assets (mortgages) investable under equity-like terms. This is nowhere more apparent than in higher education. I am dedicating my time now to building an enterprise that can capitalize on this paradigm shift, learning as much as I possibly can about the human capital industry, and building a network of investors and partner companies to create an investment network that can optimize the earnings potential of American human capital. Through Upstart, I hope to monetize a portion of that work and simultaneously expand my mentor network.