Boston Tech Watch: Student Loans, Google in Kendall Square & More

February 19, 2019

General Electric may have backed off its plans for Boston, but at least it’s not leaving town. A student loan startup in Boston eyes help from Capitol Hill. Deals, fundings, and founders moving on. The week in Boston tech is here:

—A bill introduced this week in Congress could provide a boost to local student debt startup Gradifi, which helps employers contribute to its workers’ college loans. The bill, put before the Senate this week and introduced in the House earlier this month, allows employers to make up to $5,250 in annual tax-deductible payments to employees’ student loans. Gradifi CEO David Chang calls the legislation “game-changing” and says it addresses the “missing incentive preventing many companies from offering” it. Student loan debt held by American households more than tripled from $340 billion in 2001 to $1.3 trillion in 2016.

—Google is expanding in Kendall Square as part of a $13 billion national plan for 2019 to boost data centers and offices in 14 states, the company announced this week. The search and ad giant has signed a long term lease for 362,000 square feet of a ground-up redevelopment on Main Street in Cambridge, MA, to replace the existing four-story building with a 16-story office tower.

Brian Cusack, Google’s lead for the Kendall Square site, said in an e-mailed statement: “Google opened its first office in Cambridge back in 2003 and fifteen years later, we’ve grown to over 1,500 employees, working on major projects like Search, Android, Cloud, YouTube, Google Play, Research, Ads and more. This new space will provide room for future growth and further cements our commitment to the Cambridge community.”

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