Investments

UniZest Opens £300K Seed Round For Int’l Student Banking In UK

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UniZest, which provides banking services for international students, revealed it has opened a £300,000 public seed round on cross-border fundraising and trading platform Funderbeam.

The company will use these new funds to develop and improve the online experience for existing customers via the launch of a new version of UniZest’s product. Funderbeam is a cross-border fundraising and trading platform for private companies.

In addition, UniZest has opened the public fundraise round, which will give investors an opportunity to access this fast-growing sector.

“In the U.K., there are over 500,000 international students, each spending £25k per annum, totalling £12.5bn in contributions to the economy,” Peter Miles, co-founder and CEO, said. “One in five prospective international students said they would be discouraged from studying in Britain if we leave the EU. Products such as ours are crucial in ensuring that the country remains an attractive and welcoming place to study, whether we leave the EU this year or not.”

Founded in 2015 by Miles and Chris Donnachie, the company has partnered with major global brands including Contis Group, Visa and FedEx.

“I’ve known Peter for some time now, so I knew he and Chris were truly onto something. UniZest has the potential to dominate this niche, yet sizeable market of approximately 5 million students globally. The target audience for UniZest is young, and the exciting thing about that is that it means they’re the leaders of tomorrow,” said Guy Cohen, lead investor.

And Declan Blackwood, investment manager at Funderbeam, added, “We are delighted that UniZest has chosen to use our cross-border fundraising and trading platform for this seed round. While banks and large financial institutions are still constrained by geographic boundaries, FinTechs like UniZest are uniquely positioned to service demographic groups that have historically been overlooked. International undergraduate and post-graduate students are one such group.”

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