StudentFinance, a Madrid-based career mobility fintech platform for reskilling and upskilling the global workforce, has recently raised $41 million (€39 million) in its Series A round of funding to provide skills-based training in Europe.
The round was led by Iberis Capital on the equity side, and Smart Lenders Asset Management on the debt side, with support from Armilar Venture Partners, Mustard Seed Maze, Giant Ventures and Seedcamp. UK angel investors Ed Vaizey, the longest-serving Culture & Digital Economy Minister, Tom Blomfield, founder of Monzo, and Martin Villig from Bolt, have also participated in the capital raised.
With this fresh investment round, the company plans to launch its operations in the UK and Germany after receiving authorisation from the FCA and the German financial regulators last year. It is also planning to expand its offering in the Spanish market further, having partnered with the European Investment Fund.
Launched in 2020 by Marta Palmeiro and Mariano Kostelec, StudentFinance partners with education programs that produce the talent companies seek. The platform finances its students through flexible financing methods tied to income, ensuring the educational institutions have “skin in the game” by participating in part of the financing and thus aligning everyone’s interests. It also provides the education system works efficiently and delivers its promise — to equip people with the skills they need for a promising, impactful career. In addition, funding students’ education increases the supply of talent in the market, addresses the skills gap, and helps companies and governments ensure a suitable talent base to continue to thrive and develop in today’s digital economy.
The platform develops AI models to map the most in-demand skills, qualifies the leading education providers to tackle those skills gaps, and then provides flexible financing options to people seeking to upskill through those programs.
Speaking about the platform, Co-founder & CEO of StudentFinance, Mariano Kostelec, 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, particularly in areas such as technology, AI and climate change.
The startup currently partners with education institutions ranging from bootcamps and certificate providers to master degrees, offering a success-based financing model and fixed instalments. Users only start paying back once employed and earning above a minimum income threshold. Existing programs 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.
Commenting on the investment, Partner of Iberis Capital, Diogo Chalbert Santos, 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 in the highest demand. We’re excited to support the team in their next chapter as they scale to make a bigger impact in this space.
Since its launch, StudentFinance claims to have helped users access more than 250 upskilling programs through more than 50 education providers. It operates across Europe, including the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Finland.
Erich Bonnet, Partners, SmartLenders Asset Management, added:
There is a critical need to upskill our global workforce now more than ever. 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 careers, being able to command a 50% salary increase due to their new abilities. We look forward to seeing StudentFinance support thousands more people to upskill.
In 2021, StudentFinance had raised $5.3 million (€4.5 million) in a seed round co-led by Giant Ventures and Armilar Venture Partners. Existing investors Mustard Seed Maze and Seedcamp, along with Sabadell Venture Capital, also participated in this funding round. The firm’s latest funding brings its total raised to €44.7 million.