StudentFinance, a Fintech firm launched by the founders of Uniplaces, recently revealed that it had secured €1.15 million (appr. $1.27 million) in seed funding led by Seedcamp, a Revolut and Transferwise investor, which are two of Europe’s largest Fintech companies. Mustard Seed Maze also took part in the round.
Based in Madrid and established in 2019, StudentFinance was founded by the creators of Uniplaces, which is Europe’s largest student housing platform. When they were developing Uniplaces, Mariano Kostelec, Marta Palmeiro, Sergio Pereia and Miguel Santo Amaro found that there was a significant “skills gap” and also a lack of resources that would allow workers to upskill or reskill. There were also various challenges related to finding affordable education opportunities, which was another reason why the Uniplaces founders launched StudentFinance.
There are reportedly more than 700,000 unfilled tech roles in Europe, which suggests that people must be trained properly in order to perform these jobs. StudentFinance teams up with the providers of “in-demand” skills, so that they can provide financing to their students through Income Share Agreements (“ISAs”).
ISAs provide a model that doesn’t require students to pay in advance, however, they pay a certain percentage of their earnings after securing a job with a salary that’s over a certain amount. This ISA model appears to be a better education financing model than the traditional ones, as it offers students a legitimate alternative to the debt-based model.
StudentFinance’s predictive model technology establishes an intelligence layer between workers, various education programs and employers. The model studies real-time job market data and assigns different priorities to studying and skill-building. StudentFinance’s platform then analyzes and chooses the appropriate program for teaching specific skills, which are supported by a curriculum. Students take tests in order to assess their future potential, and they’re not judged based on their past performance or salary.
The latest funding round included participation from José Neves (founder and CEO of Farfetch), Rolf Schrömgens (founder and CEO at Trivago), Nuno Sebastião (founder and CEO of Feedzai), Juan Urdiales, Felipe Navio (co-founders and co-CEOs of Jobandtalent), and tech professionals Carlos Oliveira and Will Neale.
The capital raised will be directed toward developing the data infrastructure and technology needed to offer partner schools the Management and Servicing Platform to offer Income Share Agreements to their students. StudentFinance aims to support more than 500 students next year.
Mariano Kostelec, co-founder and CEO at StudentFinance, stated:
“We are proud [to work with] … investors who believe in our mission of making education affordable and accessible, while moving to an outcomes-based model, protecting the downside of the students. It’s an honor to be working with them to scale Income Share Agreements across Europe.”
Orson Stadler from Mustard Seed Maze, noted:
“Access to education is one of the main drivers of social inequality. Whilst the number of coding bootcamp providers is fast-evolving and opening up new career opportunities for some, it is urgent to find innovative solutions to reduce the inequality of access for the many. We are proud to back StudentFinance and its thousands of students, to remove risk from their education investment, and democratize access to these invaluable skills.”
Sia Houchangnia, partner at Seedcamp, remarked:
“At Seedcamp, we’ve been closely following the emergence of ISAs as a mechanism to facilitate access to education, while aligning all parties’ interests. With StudentFinance, we believe we’ve now found the right team to build the European category leader in this space. ”