A student loan firm, Future Finance, is set to enter the Irish market following the publication of a government report that proposes students secure loans to cover the cost of third level fees. The company hopes to have clearance by the Central Bank to begin offering the loans by 2017.
Future Finance CEO Brian Norton said on the company’s decision to enter the Irish market that: “the cost of higher education in Ireland is rising. Getting an MBA could cost north of €20,000. And while undergraduate education here is still technically free, there are a whole raft of fees that are associated with that. There is a big chunk of the population in Europe- including Ireland- where you’ve got deserving students who are offered good spots at great universities, but are unable to take advantage because of the cost.”
“We have a lot of room to grow. We’ve had great success with what we’ve been doing. Raising money is almost the easy part. The work for us is making sure we’re extending the right sort of help to the right sort of people.”
Future Finance, which has loaned about £50 million to UK students over the past couple of years, has a number of high profile backers. In two main funding rounds, the company secured €47m in equity and it has the financial facilities to bankroll lending totalling over €11 million. Half of this sum is provided by investment bank, Goldman Sachs.
Mark Stevens, a US venture capital heavyweight, also has a stake in the company. Stevens was a partner in the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital when it invested in companies including Google, Paypal, Youtube and Linkedin. Sequoia’s original investment in Google of $12.5m gave it a stake that was later worth billions.