Principal Kim Martin is based in BOOST&Co’s London office, which provides growth capital to fast-growing, innovative SMEs across the UK.
What do you do at BOOST&Co?
I’m a principal, and I’m responsible for sourcing new opportunities for our funds to provide loans. I evaluate these opportunities with my colleague Cea van Wyk, an investment manager in our Cape Town office. If a company is the right fit for BOOST&Co, we take it through the underwriting and credit approval process – and, all being well, right through to funding.
What makes BOOST&Co a leader in this space?
Our type of funding – term loans with equity kickers, or working capital facilities – suits innovative, high-growth, often high-tech businesses, but with our new regional offices in Manchester, Bristol and Cambridge, we’re reaching a wide audience in all sectors. That’s great, because we want to support SMEs across the UK.
How do you continue to find new leads?
Networking, networking, networking! I enjoy meeting new people, and although you can do it at official events, you can also get talking to someone you’re sitting next to on a train. I have a lot of traditional networks, through my experience of working with AIM-listed companies and in private equity, but taking part in panel discussions and using platforms like LinkedIn are great ways of meeting people, too.
What was your first job?
I did work experience at an investment bank while I was at university, and then entered Shell’s graduate scheme. Before I’d completed it, a contact from my work experience called me with an offer to work at Aberdeen Asset Management on the Venture Capital Trusts that later became Maven Capital Partners. You don’t get those sorts of calls very often, so I accepted. After seven years, I left to work in asset-based lending with Puma Investments.
Why did you join BOOST&Co?
When the role came up, it ticked so many boxes for me. At BOOST&Co, I’m on a journey with each company’s management team; working with them really does feel like a partnership. They invest so much, whether it’s personal or financial, and it’s rewarding to be able to help them achieve their aims.
What appealed to you about working here?
Our partners, Lance Mysyrowicz and Sonia Powar, want us to be happy, rounded individuals; their management style brings out the best in us. It’s refreshing to work somewhere that isn’t afraid to be different. It’s also great that BOOST&Co is growing quickly. We face some of the same challenges as the businesses we want to fund, so their owners know that we understand their concerns.
Which item can you not work without?
A pink highlighter. I even have pink highlighters decorated with animal print. First, I feel better when I use them, and second, I know when someone’s taken them from my desk.
How do you spend your leisure time?
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and my fiancé, Nick, and I love walking my dog, Purdy. I also have two rabbits – Mrs Rabbit and Robin – but Mrs Rabbit has a bit of an attitude, I’m afraid. Visitors tend to be nervous about the rottweiler, but if Purdy’s asleep on the sofa, she can’t be bothered to get up to meet the postman, whereas I’m worried Mrs Rabbit is going to bite him.
What’s on your bucket list?
More travelling. We’re getting married in Majorca and the honeymoon will include some exotic destinations. I’d love to visit Alaska and do a tour of the Amalfi coast, and I’d like to see the cherry blossom in Japan, having watched the country host the Rugby World Cup over the past few weeks.
Given £100m to spend or invest, what’s the first thing you would do?
I’d buy a smallholding in the countryside and take in more waifs and strays, like Mrs Rabbit and Purdy. I’d go travelling for a year, but I don’t think I could give up work. I’d love to continue to help people by investing in businesses off my own back.