Principal Oliver Reece, based in Manchester, provides growth loans across the north and Scotland for innovative, fast-growing SMEs.
What do you do at BOOST&Co?
I’m a principal and my role is to find companies seeking funding for growth, assess their requirements and create a structure that provides the investment they need. I’m based in Manchester but I look at firms across the north of England and Scotland; there are a lot of strong businesses here, and that’s reflected in the size of our team. We have a strong track record of funding tech companies, but we consider all sectors and have recently funded a broad range of firms.
What was your first job?
For some bizarre reason, I always wanted to be an accountant, so that was my first real job: I trained at a firm in Preston and still interact regularly with the people there. I enjoyed working with local businesses and engaging with clients, rather than taking specific roles on larger transactions or audits. My first actual job was in a shoe shop, which wasn’t quite so much fun.
How did you end up at BOOST&Co?
I joined Deloitte in Manchester and enjoyed my time there, but it was a national role, so I moved to Barclays to return to working with local businesses. Since then, each of my roles has been different, from a corporate bank to a smaller ABL lender to a regional debt fund to BOOST&Co. Working at BOOST&Co builds on my previous experience by opening up a wider part of the SME market, and our range of products means that I see lots of different transactions.
What appealed to you about working here?
I was attracted by the fact that BOOST&Co is investing so much in the region: a recent fourfold increase in the number of principals in our team shows a real commitment to the north. I also wanted to work with management teams who really buy in to the success of their firms. The SMEs we’re funding aren’t international businesses with small pockets of people in our area: they’re northern businesses through and through, and that’s often the key to their success.
Which item can you not work without?
When I’m working from home, it’s Radio 2, though my go-to genres are 1990s indie and dance, so I’d like to think I’m not their chosen demographic. I couldn’t tell you which DJs I listen to; every now and again, I tune in and think “where has Vanessa Feltz popped up from?” But that’s exactly what I want from it – just background noise.
How do you spend your leisure time?
Anything that gets me outside. My wife and I have spent a lot of time cycling in the mountains in Canada and France over the past few years. The Tour de France routes are stunning: it’s difficult when you’re from the north of England and the temperature hits 35 degrees, but the scenery is amazing and you feel a real sense of achievement when you sit down with a beer at the end of the day.
Which football team do you support?
I’m not a big follower of football, but my wife is a massive Liverpool fan, so I support them through osmosis. Liverpool were a big team when I was growing up in the 1980s, and I did have one of their shirts, so there’s enough of a link for me to claim some allegiance.
What’s on your bucket list?
The dream would be to have a chalet in the French Alps, or any similar mountain range, so that we could cycle in the summer and ski in the winter. Have we tried a tandem bike? No – it strikes me that there’s a lot of potential for disaster there.
Given £100m to spend or invest, what’s the first thing you would do?
The first and most obvious thing would be to make sure that my family were secure, but then I’d rent a chalet in the mountains while I thought about how to spend my £100m. A lot of people say they’d have to carry on working because they’d be bored, but I could definitely find ways to keep myself busy during the day.