StudentFinance.com, founded by the team behind Uniplaces, raises €1.15 million to reshape education financing using AI technology

StudentFinance, a Fintech company created by the founders of Uniplaces, has today announced it has closed a €1.15 million seed round of funding led by Seedcamp (investors in Revolut and TransferWise – two of the largest fintechs in Europe) and Mustard Seed Maze. 

StudentFinance was founded in 2019 in Madrid by the team behind Uniplaces, the largest student housing platform in Europe. While building Uniplaces, Mariano Kostelec, Marta Palmeiro, Sergio Pereia and Miguel Santo Amaro realized the ‘skills gap’ and the lack of accessibility to upskilling and reskilling from students and employees. This, combined with the challenges around affordability of education, led them to build StudentFinance.

There are over 700k unfilled vacancies for technology roles in Europe, making the need for training people for these jobs more important than ever. StudentFinance partners with providers of ‘in-demand’ skills, in order to finance their students with Income Share Agreements (“ISAs”). ISAs offer a model through which students don’t pay anything upfront, but a percentage of their income after landing a job with a salary level over a certain amount. This ISA model is disrupting current education financing models, offering students an alternative to traditional debt.

So, how does it work? The company’s predictive model technology creates an intelligence layer between talent, education programmes and employers. The model analyses real-time job market data and defines the priority fields of study and skills. StudentFinance then analyses and selects programmes teaching those skills by the quality of the curriculum and employability outcomes. Students, in turn, are assessed based on their future potential, and not based on past income or employment history, without the need for a co-signer or guarantor. 

The recent funding round additionally saw participation from some of Europe’s most successful entrepreneurs: José Neves (founder & CEO of Farfetch), Rolf Schrömgens (founder & CEO of Trivago), Nuno Sebastião (founder & CEO of Feedzai), Juan Urdiales, Felipe Navio (co-founders & co-CEOs of Jobandtalent), and serial entrepreneurs Carlos Oliveira and Will Neale. The funding will be used to build the technology and data infrastructure to provide partner schools the Management and Servicing Platform to offer Income Share Agreements to their students. The company will support over 500 students in 2020.

Mariano Kostelec, co-founder & CEO of StudentFinance, comments: “We are proud and incredibly excited to have secured such a high calibre of 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 honour to be working with them to scale Income Share Agreements across Europe”.

Orson Stadler from Mustard Seed Maze commented: “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 democratise access to these invaluable skills.”

Sia Houchangnia, Partner at Seedcamp commented: “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. Mariano, Marta, Sergio and Miguel bring a lot of entrepreneurial experience as well as highly complementary skill sets and we are extremely excited to back them on their mission to enable millions of Europeans to fulfill their full potential.”

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