London startup Ahauz is helping millennials buy a home with an innovative new Help to Buy-style scheme

Lynsey Barber
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Saving for a house deposit has become unachievable for many (Source: Getty)

Forget ditching coffee and avocados, a new startup which describes itself as the “bank of mum and dad for everyone” is aiming to help more young people get on the property ladder with an innovative take on the Help to Buy scheme.

Ahauz is set to start offering first-time buyers help by offering a loan of up to 15 per cent of the value of a home.

The government Help to Buy scheme, launched in 2013, provides an equity loan with the buyer providing a deposit and a mortgage making up the rest.

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The London-based startup is offering a similar scheme but for any home, not just new builds and with no cap on value, meaning first-time buyers need only a five per cent deposit.

Founders Karthik Srivats and Joao Rocha, have already raised nearly £3m from a dozen high net worth individuals for a fund from which the loans will be made, with the goal of raising up to £10m by March. Investors will get a return on the loan after five years when the repayment is due.

“It will be tracking the property market while also helping first time buyers get on the property ladder,” Rocha told City A.M..

The pair originally from Portugal and India met in Berlin, and came up with the idea after Rocha found himself struggling to get a deposit together.

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“Living in London I was facing the struggle of getting on the property ladder,” said Rocha who worked in management consultancy and private equity in the Capital before starting Ahauz. “We started looking around, not just our peers, but a whole generation of people that can't rely on the bank of mum and dad.”

They quit their jobs (Srivats was at tech firm turned public company in April 2017 to create what they call the “bank of mum and dad for everyone”, landing seed money from venture capital firm Forward Partners and angel investor Robert Swirling. The startup also boasts an unnamed ex-Bank of England executive as an adviser.

Initially Ahauz will start offering the loans in partnership with mortgages from a building society, but talks with several more lenders are at an “advanced stage”. The initial fund will support several hundred loans and the founders expect to be able to back more first-time buyers with a second larger fund soon after.

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