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Start-ups 25 Oct 2019

BBVA and Anthemis support StepLadder’s collaborative deposit raising scheme for home buying

The BBVA and Anthemis Venture Studio has announced its second partnership, with innovative homebuying fintech StepLadder.

StepLadder – the U.K.’s first collaborative deposit raising platform – is set to use the partnership to significantly ramp up its support to help tens of thousands of people who are struggling to buy their first homes.

While currently the business is focused on the U.K. market, StepLadder also has long term ambitions to bring its solutions to markets across Europe, including Spain.

As well as receiving seed investment from BBVA, as part of the BBVA & Anthemis Venture Studio, StepLadder will also be able to call upon the huge amount of resource and experience within BBVA to accelerate its growth.

This could include advice around areas ranging from digital sales to marketing and technology to compliance as the business expands its operations.

StepLadder is also getting further investment from Seedcamp and other angel investors. The £1.5 million (€1.74m)  total investment will go towards the development of StepLadder’s next-generation collaborative finance platform, as well as driving its UK and international expansion.

StepLadder is on a mission to help struggling renters make the leap to homeownership. By drawing on the power of collaborative deposit raising, StepLadder helps 87 per cent of its members save for their deposit faster than if they were doing it alone.

Using a financial model known as a ‘Rotating Credit and Savings Association’ (ROSCA) – popular in many nations worldwide – StepLadder works by placing its members into small groups called ‘circles’. Here, each individual member will contribute an identical amount of money – ranging from £25 to £1,000 (€29 – €1,163) – each month. The contributions will then be collected into a central pot, before being awarded to one of the circle’s members by random draw, with this being handled by a computer algorithm to ensure absolute impartiality. The process is repeated on a monthly basis until all the circle’s members have received their deposit money.

Beyond its peer-to-peer deposit raising alternative, StepLadder also guides its users through the home-buying process by providing access to specialist knowledge and exclusive discounts. Further – with the new StepLadder app – users can engage with a like-minded community, supporting each other on the journey to their respective financial goals.

“Our combined efforts will dramatically change the landscape for savings and homeownership in a major way in a short amount of time.”

StepLadder will work with BBVA and Anthemis inside their joint London-based venture studio on an innovative approach to bringing a trusted model of collaborative finance into a digital platform.

The fintech’s collaborative approach to help individuals and families get on the home ownership ladder will complement the Anthemis portfolio and support BBVA’s global aspirations to drive innovation and disruption in the banking sector, focused on supporting customers to achieve their ambitions with technology as an enabler.

With £50,000 (€58,000) being awarded to members each month, and over £500,000 (580,000) in subscriptions from StepLadder members in total – StepLadder is on the way to making ‘Generation Rent’ a thing of the past.

Speaking on the investment, Matthew Addison, StepLadder’s founder and CEO, said: “The property market is imbalanced. There are millions of hardworking people out there, who through no fault of their own find themselves trapped in a cycle of renting. We want to change that, and this funding will help us turn the dream of homeownership into a reality.”

Similarly, Farhan Lalji, principal of the BBVA & Anthemis Venture Creation Partnership, said: “The teams at BBVA and Anthemis are really excited to work with the founders of StepLadder.  We’ve seen their commitment to solving this problem up close and we know that our combined efforts will dramatically change the landscape for savings and homeownership in a major way in a short amount of time.”

The BBVA & Anthemis Venture Creation Partnership is a London based venture studio that identifies early stage fintech companies that are looking for both financial and strategic support to accelerate the growth of their business.

Through a combination of capital and expertise, Anthemis and BBVA work closely with founders in a venture studio environment to help them build their businesses.

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