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Innovative first time buyer platform launches bid for extra cash

StepLadder is seeking £125,000 to help expand its new concept of first time buyer 'circles' within which people lend each other money.

Nigel Lewis

stepladder first time buyer mortgages

An innovative platform that could help thousands of financially frustrated first time buyer Millennials get on the property ladder has launched a bid for funds via crowdfunding site Seedrs.

StepLadder was launched in 2017 but is now seeking £125,000 from investors, valuing the company based on the equity on offer at £10 million.

It has recently reported a 40% growth in first time buyers applying to join as members this year and has already helped hundreds of people buy their first home.

StepLadder enables those first time buyers to join ‘circles’ whose other members put £400 to £500 into a pot of cash every month which is then awarded to its members via a random lottery system as a £10,000 lump sum.

The company recently launched its 100th circle, each one containing approximately 20 savers.

Founder Matt Addison (pictured above, right) says the system helps 90% of its members save up for a deposit quicker than if they squirrelled away the cash by themselves, apart from the 10% of those that do not.

Rotating savings

His start-up is based on the concept of a Rotating Savings and Credit Association model or (ROSCA).

This is a group of first time buyer individuals or couples who agree to meet for a defined period in order to save and borrow together and, in effect creating a peer-to-peer lending group.

StepLadder is FCA regulated as a P2P platform and generates fees by receiving referral fees from lenders, solicitors, surveyors and other home buyer service providers, as well as a membership fee payable by savers.

It has already raised £90,000 of its £125,000 target which is on top of its existing £1.5 million start-up cash including money from the government’s Future Fund.

Read more about help for first time buyers.

March 30, 2021


  1. I’m in favour of anything that helps first time buyers, but I’m not a gambler – I’d sooner save via a LISA but if I were to gamble I’d have bought some bitcoins ;o)

    There are smarter options like using something like District34 to find a property you can afford, I am genuinely in awe of what this team has done with property data and their “purpose led” approach to helping First Time Buyers… If I were investing I’d put my money with them…

  2. I can absolutely appreciate the frustration of many FTBs in that saving for a deposit is difficult, especially if they are paying rent at the same time, but with the return of government-backed 5% deposit products in the next few days, this will hopefully assist many to get on the ladder. That being the case, my question would be are platforms like this – and I’m aware of a few that are similar – now redundant?

    Aside from the questions that Andrew rightly raises in his comment here, from a practical perspective I’d suggest that if a borrower is having to rely on one of these schemes to raise a deposit, surely that must raise a flag in terms of suitability to borrow. I’m not a massive fan of low deposit products as there is hardly any buffer against negative equity (although many would say in the current market that’s not an issue, I’m sure!) although clearly they have their place and are necessary. However, if an applicant is relying on a ‘crowd funded’ deposit, to me that raises all sorts of red flags.

    No disrespect meant to the StepLadder team whatsoever, but from a consumer/borrower perspective, now we have the government backed 5% deposit products back on the table, surely that’s a better option for the borrower in terms of responsible lending?

  3. As many know I am not one to judge, but as the company has been around 6 years, what worries me is that if it was to fold people who invested are not covered, this is according to their website.

    ‘You’re not covered by the FSCS – although Stepladder have their own measures and protections in place, not being covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme means there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back if Stepladder closes down.

    If you drop out, you may not get your money back straight away – if your circumstances change and you have to drop out of your circle, you may have to wait until the planned end of the circle to get your money back. That you’ve dropped out and stopped making payments could also be included in your credit report and affect your credit score.

    There’s no doubt that putting your savings into Stepladder could speed up your house buying significantly, and even in the worst case scenario it doesn’t slow you down. But, like all investments, your money is at risk.’

    Given they have had well over a million of funding and all those years to get traction and now need another 125K, what does that say? Also a market capitalisation of £10M – what is that based on? I have dealt with dozens of tech start ups with a £10 mkt cap, mostly because they want say £400,000 and that works nicely at 4% as a share, but do the financials support the valuation, usually no. Where is the revenue, growth, and scale up?

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