Joseph Gracia Founder & CEO of Nickels

Joseph Gracia
Founder & CEO of Nickels

About Joseph

Joseph has been paying off his own federal student loans for the past 16 years. With over a decade and a half of personal experience, he knows first-hand the opportunity and challenge these loans create. He founded Nickels to help ensure that student-borrowers can use their loans to build-up their credit profiles, rather than undermine their financial futures. Joseph identified this mission-oriented opportunity after spending a summer as an Entrepreneur in Residence with ideas42.

Joseph learned about the power of behavioral interventions at scale while working at Opower, a behaviorally-informed energy-efficiency SaaS company. He ran their Behavioral Marketing & Design team and was responsible for designing and conducting large-scale, behaviorally-informed marketing tests to enhance the effectiveness of communications sent to millions of utility customers.

Joseph also built and ran the product team at WHOOP, a health technology and analytics company working with elite athletes around the world. He started his career as a strategy consultant working in London and Chicago. He holds an MPhil in Environmental Policy from the University of Cambridge and a BA in philosophy from Bates College.


About ideas42

ideas42 is non-profit innovation firm that applies insights from behavioral science to create positive social impact. Its mission is a simple one: to use the power of behavioral science to design scalable solutions to some of society’s most difficult problems.

ideas42 grew out of research programs in psychology and economics at top academic institutions, and their work draws on decades of experimental scientific research.

Today, ideas42 is the largest general practice applied behavioral science firm in the United States. In 2014, it helped launch the White House Social and Behavioral Science Team. It now runs behavioral design teams for the cities of Chicago and New York and the Centers for Disease Control, works with seven of the top ten philanthropic foundations in the US, and works with businesses such as American Express, Google, Massachusetts General Hospital, Alliant Credit Union, and GMAC Mortgage. ideas42 has a full-time team of 100 trained in behavioral design and rigorous evaluation methods. Its staff is augmented by guidance from the Board of Scientific Advisors, including three Nobel laureates and leaders in applied behavioral science, and by close collaboration with 65 academic affiliates from leading research universities.