Backing the round is Spanish banking giant BBVA and fintech VC Anthemis via the London-based venture studio on which the pair have partnered. Early investor Seedcamp also followed on, in addition to unnamed angel investors.
StepLadder says it will use the new capital and support provided by BBVA/Anthemis to further develop its “collaborative finance platform.” The startup is also eyeing international expansion.
Founded in 2015 by Matthew Addison and joined by Lucy Mullins and Mihir Bhushan, StepLadder’s collaborative deposit saving platform is designed to motivate renters to save for a deposit so they can purchase their first home.
Using a financial model known as a “Rotating Credit and Savings Association” (ROSCA), StepLadder puts its members into “Circles,” whereby each individual member contributes an identical amount on a monthly basis — ranging from £25 to £1,000. A random draw then takes place each month and the winner is provided with that month’s full pot to use toward their deposit.
“For most first-time buyers, it’s really difficult to get on the property ladder,” says Addison. “Home ownership rates amongst 25 to 34-years-olds have collapsed… [with around] 250,000 fewer first-time buyers every year, for over a decade, in the U.K. alone. Raising the deposit is the biggest hurdle. At StepLadder we’re using something called a ROSCA, a form of collaborative finance where people work together in groups to help our members raise their property deposits, on average, 45% faster.”
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