An education financing firm is planning to open a UK base this summer as it launches on these shores.
FinTech StudentFinance.com, founded in Madrid in 2019, has raised £3.75 million funding to triple the size of its team and expand into the UK and other European markets.
Its aim is to reshape education financing globally through Income Share Agreements. It provides the technology infrastructure for education providers to offer flexible payment plans based on data intelligence on the employment market.
The company analyses real-time job market data down to the skill level, before selecting education programmes based on their alignment with job market demand and performance outcomes. In turn, students are assessed based on their future earning potential, and not past income or employment history.
In its first year of operation, StudentFinance has partnered with more than 35 education providers across several European countries, managing over €5m worth of ISAs, growing this figure more than 100x during the pandemic.
Within five years, the firm plans to reach €500m of ISAs. The founders told BusinessCloud that it expects to be able to support over 150 educational establishments and generate £100m in ISAs here in that timeframe.
“StudentFinance is currently operating across multiple European markets, and we expect to open a UK office in the next 3-4 months, with plans to expand the team and provide localised services with our funding,” they said.
“The UK is one of Europe’s leading tech hubs, and there is huge demand to fill technical roles. With over 70% of businesses citing a lack of adequate digital skills as an obstacle to investment, and 22% of the UK still lacking basic digital training, it’s clear that work needs to be done to plug the skills gap in the UK.
“StudentFinance provides the perfect model to do so.”
They said Brexit had not affected its plans for the UK, but added: “There are funding sources that are EU-focused that, due to Brexit, do not apply to the UK anymore – and potentially also vice-versa – which makes the allocation and availability of capital more complex than it was in a pre-Brexit world.”
The seed round was co-led by Giant Ventures and Armilar Venture Partners, with support from Seedcamp, Mustard Seed Maze and Sabadell Venture Capital. Angel investors include the founders of Lendable and Bolt, and former UK culture minister Ed Vaizey, joined the round.
Mariano Kostelec and Miguel Santo Amaro, two of the co-founders, previously built Uniplaces into the largest student housing platform in Europe, raising over $30m from investors such as Atomico and Octopus.
Marta Palmeiro spent 10 years at Credit Suisse in London and Madrid and co-founded Portugal Fintech, while Sergio Pereira spent several years as CTO of FutureFuel, a Boston-based student loan repayment business.
CEO Kostelec said: “We are incredibly excited to have secured such high calibre investors and to have received the continued support of our existing investors, who all believe in our mission of removing barriers to education and empowering economic mobility.
“With StudentFinance, it takes an average of just four months for reskilled students to find more lucrative employment compared to the UK market average, where the majority of graduates only find employment up to 15 months on from completing their studies.
“The pandemic has only reinforced the need for solutions that enable people to access quality education to secure employment opportunities and we are making it a reality.”