Student Finance is a European fintech company that provides education programs for individuals via income share agreements and has been able to raise EUR39 million ($41 million) in the Series A round of financing.
It was established out of Spain in the year 2019, StudentFinance partners with educational institutions like Ironhack as well as Le Wagon to help finance those who wish to advance their knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, offering a viable alternative to traditional student or bank loans.
The company claims that it has created AI models that can identify the most needed qualifications across different sectors and then map this to the most appropriate educational institutions that fill the shortage.
“We monitor and track publicly-available job listing data, showing trends and fluctuations in labor demand,” StudentFinance co-founder and chief executive Mariano Kostelec explained to TechCrunch. “We also analyze data from analyzing the market and systemic shifts like incentives from government agencies for businesses to be more sustainable. This allows us to collect information on the future of growth decline — sectors.”
To top it all off, Kostelec also said that they monitor the data on salary, which could show the demand for certain capabilities.
“We are developing machine learning models that use this data to forecast future job-market demand for specific skills, and predict income levels in the future,” Kostelec added. “This is an area we will be increasingly investing in.”
In fact, Kostelec said that they are planning to utilize the funds they have received to improve their internal data and AI capabilities with strategic hires, allowing it to better predict market demand.
From the standpoint of the student Income share agreements mean that students only pay their tuition when their earnings is at a certain level and then they pay an amount of their income each month to StudentFinance in a predetermined number of installments, which fluctuate depending on the amount earned. If they don’t ever enter employment, they do not pay anything back, but they’re still accountable for repayments in the event of any work that exceeds the earning threshold regardless of whether it’s non-related to their program.
In addition to the interest-based repayments that are derived from every student, StudentFinance’s income stream includes fees it charges course instructors for every student who enrolls in the course.
StudentFinance secures $41M Fourth industrial revolution
The money comes from the World Economic Forum (WEF) forecasts that over 1 billion people will require to be retrained by the end of the decade, due to the”so-called “fourth industrial revolution” enacting rapid social change with the help of technologies like AI as well as robotics. This is why a variety of student-funded platforms backed by VCs have emerged from the same vein as StudentFinance and include the San Francisco-based YC alumni Blair Leif, the New York-based Leif which is backed by Arlington’s Vemo Education.
StudentFinance plans to follow suit, however, with a particular concentration specifically on Europe. European market. The platform and finance are currently accessible to customers in Spain, Portugal, and the U.K., though it has also joined forces with educational institutions within Germany in Germany, and Finland to offer its platform as the SaaS basis and the institutions themselves managing the financing. In the coming season, StudentFinance intends to extend its services to Germany and has already obtained regulatory approval through Bafin, the German Financial regulator (Bafin).
“The demand for workforce upskilling has never been greater,” Kostelec declared. “We’re working to fill that gap throughout Europe. We’re aiming to expand our scope to help build the workforce of the future, specifically with regards to technologies, AI, and climate change.”
Before this, StudentFinance had raised a $5.3 million seed round of funding two years ago. now with a fresh cash injection of $41 million, the Spanish startup has enough capital to cover both its capital investment and operational expenses, and also to boost its recruitment goals.
In addition, the Madrid-based company is also preparing to introduce alternatives to repayment, including fixed installments which are monthly payments that are not directly tied to the student’s earnings.
The Series A funding round is the mix of debt and equity, but the company did not reveal the division. It did announce 70 percent of the “funding capacity” would be allotted to Spain and Germany and the rest of the amount destined for Europe and the U.K. where it soft-launched in the past.
The equity portion was managed by Iberis Capital, with participation from Armilar Venture Partners, Mustard Seed Maze, Giant Ventures, Seedcamp, Monzo founder Tom Blomfield, and former U.K. MP Ed Vaizey. The debt component was provided through the French Asset management company SmartLenders Asset Management.