StepLadder, a collaborative deposit saving platform for first-time buyers who lack savings on their deposit, has raised £1.5 million in funding.
Led by True Impact Ventures and existing VC investors Zouk Ventures and Wisnevet, the round takes StepLadder’s total funding to £2.5 million.
In a nutshell, StepLadder offers an alternative to current accounts, with a simple online-only service that allows first-time buyers with tiny deposits to get a loan from their “friend”. The platform then helps cover the rental deposit for the property, as well as fees, if applied for and paid out beforehand. Essentially, it’s like a peer-to-peer lender, with funds being raised, invested and loaned out, at the buyer’s request.
Originally launched in Germany in December 2017 and launched in the UK later that year, StepLadder has now grown to over 100,000 users across 15 European markets, with 47 percent of users in Germany and 38 percent in the UK.
In a phone call, a StepLadder spokesperson confirmed that the company is now targeting a new and larger UK market, and is seeking to grow its user base there by reaching out to those who already have a small deposit, or under £10,000, although the pre-order “collaborative” aspect of the product means different tiers of the savings program cater to different pockets of funding.
Meanwhile, the company says it will use the new funding to accelerate growth in the UK and the company’s other European markets. One interesting area of growth relates to StepLadder working with major UK banks as well as broker-dealers in order to bring its funding product to their channels.
“We’re seeing strong increases in the number of bank accounts and broker agreements, enabling non-savings customers to access StepLadder as we increase demand for affordable and flexible home-buying solutions”, says StepLadder founder and CEO Björna Roettgers.