An innovative start-up that could help solve the UK’s ‘generation rent’ crisis has made two senior hires to support its growth.

London FinTech StepLadder fully launched its unique collaborative deposit-saving platform earlier this year following a successful pilot last year.

Now the company, which was founded by former Silicon Valley entrepreneur Matthew Addison, has appointed Alex Corley Smith as head of partnerships and Osei Downes as head of growth.

Corley Smith has held a number of key investment banking positions at international firms, including managing director at BNP Paribas in London and New York, Merrill Lynch and UBS.

Most recently she was a strategic advisor and head of network at the angel investment fund Adelpha Group.

Downes has extensive experience in the world of PropTech and FinTech start-ups, having co-founded Huuti, the UK’s first PropTech personal finance assistant, designed to help people build their mortgage deposits and improve their financial circumstances.

“Following the success of the last 12 months, we are thrilled to expand our team with Alex and Osei,” said Addison.
“Their combined experience will allow us to create an even stronger offering for our members and reach the thousands of individuals who are struggling to get on the property ladder.”

StepLadder claims to help first-time buyers raise deposits 87 per cent faster than saving alone. It groups members in ‘circles’ in which each individual contributes, through a peer-to-peer platform, an identical amount of money – ranging from £25 to £1,000 – each month.

The contributions of each member of the circle in that particular month are then allocated to one of the circle’s members by random draw.

The process is repeated on a monthly basis until all of the circle’s members have received their deposit money. All members enter into a peer-to-peer loan agreement and borrow a percentage of funds, apart from last member to draw their funds.

Corley Smith said: “StepLadder is offering first-time buyers an innovative product and access to high-quality financial tips; tips which many miss out because they may not know where to find them.

“Employers are keen to offer their teams smart in-house programmes that encourage both financial wellness and resilience.  A Stepladder Employer circle could empower their employees to achieve their property dreams.

“I really look forward to growing StepLadder’s network of strategic partnerships to help them do just that.”

Downes commented: “I’ve always been passionate about helping first-time buyers reach their deposit goals, and I’m excited to do so on a larger scale at StepLadder.

“With house prices continuing to rise, more and more millennials are becoming discouraged, so it is fantastic to be part of a business helping to empower them.”