Financial edtech platform Blackbullion has raised £2.5m in an oversubscribed funding round shared exclusively with UKTN.
Founded in 2014, Blackbullion partners with universities to provide students with financial skills training and information on resources they might be eligible for, such as bursaries and grants.
Blackbullion founder and CEO Vivi Friedgut told UKTN that the current financial downturn in the UK and beyond has brought the company’s goals into sharper focus.
“The bank of mum and dad is now starting to be tapped out,” Friedgut said. “Helping people to understand money and manage it well is really important, but a lot of students don’t have enough. And so we’re spending quite a lot of our time and our effort on making sure that funding, whether from universities or externally, is easily available.”
Blackbullion’s tech platform is embedded into student support departments to help with fund distribution. Partners include Imperial College London, the University of the West of England, UA92 and Central Queensland University.
Blackbullion to boost headcount
Friedgut, a former wealth manager, told UKTN that Blackbullion will use the latest fundraise to scale product development and to fuel a new round of hiring. The team, which is currently made up of 15 people, is expecting to double in size over the next few months.
The new funding round was led by Calyx Venture Fund and featured participation from existing investors Lord Stanley Fink and MPA Education.
“This was an opportunity for us to invest in a fintech company truly committed to taking on a major global challenge, driving financial inclusion, through financial education,” said Chris Donegan from the Calyx Venture Fund.
“Blackbullion has a strong business model, great leadership and real business fundamentals which is why this is such a great proposition for us.”
It is Blackbullion’s third round of funding, with the edtech previously raising £400,000 in a funding round in May 2019.
Friedgut told UKTN that the latest funding round should give the company enough runway to get to a Series A round, which is currently planned to take place within 12 to 18 months.
She said that it has been “tough” raising funding amid a market downturn and that it took “months longer” than initially anticipated.
“It’s been a really tough environment, we see much larger companies than ours shedding jobs and dropping their projections,” Friedgut explained.
“We’ve never been a kind of ‘look at us, a million users and raise 10 million in order to get them’, we’ve always been about solid unit economics, sustainable growth.”