From education to employment

StudentFinance secures €39m to democratise upskilling and launch in the UK

2 females talking with a laptop in front of them
  • €39m Series A includes investment from Iberis Capital, SmartLenders Asset Management, Armilar Venture Partners, Mustard Seed Maze, Giant Ventures and Seedcamp    
  • Angel investor backing includes Tom Blomfield and former UK culture minister Ed Vaizey    
  • StudentFinance is a career mobility platform that helps people upskill for the most in-demand skills    
  • StudentFinance has managed over €15M worth of education financing in just two years, and plans to reach €800m in 3 years, upskilling over 200,000 people.    
  • Funds will be used to target the UK, German and Spanish markets and double the size of its team     

StudentFinance, a career mobility platform that helps people upskill for new career opportunities in the most in-demand market sectors, such as data, technology, engineering, artificial intelligence and climate/green economy; has raised €39m in Series A funding to provide access to skills-based training in Europe. The round is led by Iberis Capital on the equity side, and SmartLenders Asset Management on the debt side, with support from Armilar Venture Partners, Mustard Seed Maze, Giant Ventures and Seedcamp, and brings the total amount raised to €44.7m. StudentFinance has also received backing from prominent UK angel investors including Ed Vaizey, the longest-serving Culture & Digital Economy Minister, Tom Blomfield, founder of Monzo, and Martin Villig from Bolt. 

The new funding will be used to launch StudentFinance’s operations in the UK and Germany, after receiving authorization from the FCA and the German financial regulators last year. The company will also further expand its offering in the Spanish market, having partnered with the European Investment Fund. 

Training programs StudentFinance has already partnered with include Web development and Data analytics from Ironhack, Machine learning from AiCore, Cyber security from Capslock, Virtual reality programs from Mastered, and Data Science from Le Wagon.

The World Economic Forum predicts that we will need to retrain 1 billion people by 2030, and Accenture estimates a $11.5 trillion loss in global GDP if we fail to produce the necessary skills.

StudentFinance develops AI models to map the most in-demand skills across a range of industries, qualifies the leading education providers tackling those skills gaps, and then provides flexible financing options to people seeking to upskill through those programs.

Since launching in 2020, StudentFinance has supported thousands of people in accessing more than 250 upskilling programs through more than 50 education providers. The company has  managed over €15m worth of financing, resulting in an average salary increase of 50% post training for users. 

The company offers both a success-based financing model and fixed instalments. Usersonly start paying back once they are employed and earning above a minimum income threshold. Being a success-based model centred on employment outcomes, the risk is distributed between StudentFinance, the individual, and the education provider.

Looking ahead, StudentFinance has a broader vision to join forces with corporates to power employee-upskilling at scale, enabling them to future-proof their workforce. Potential avenues include supporting the automotive industry with the shift to electric, bolstering the energy industry’s ambitions for a net zero economy, and enabling greater implementation of AI technologies.

Mariano Kostelec, cofounder and CEO of StudentFinance, said:

“The demand for workforce upskilling has never been greater. We’re on a mission to plug this gap across Europe while empowering individuals to level-up their careers. Our platform is currently over-subscribed so, with the new funds, we’re looking forward to helping as many people as possible embark on training courses to upskill. We aim to expand our coverage to build the workforce for the future, in particular in areas such as technology, AI and climate change.” 

Diogo Chalbert Santos, partner at Iberis Capital, said:

“StudentFinance has pioneered a new model to address one of the most pressing societal challenges, the digital skills gap. By removing the hurdle of financing courses up-front, they are democratising access to the skills that are in highest demand. We’re excited to support the team in their next chapter as they scale to make a bigger impact in this space.”

Erich Bonnet, partners at SmartLenders Asset Management:

“There is a critical need to upskill our global workforce now more than ever, and StudentFinance is leading the way in empowering training and economic mobility. The team has built a unique platform that enables individuals to take control of their career, being able to command a 50% increase in salary as a result of their new abilities. We look forward to seeing StudentFinance support thousands more people upskill.”

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