BOOST&Co’s national expansion is continuing, with the lender establishing a presence in Birmingham, Reading and Leeds. There are new roles for Joanna Scott, as head of London and the east, and Kim Martin, now head of the south and Midlands, and both have appointed three experienced principals to their teams.

Scott, who has been with BOOST&Co since 2017, and Martin, who joined in 2018, believe that innovative businesses in these regions need a wider range of funding options. Having built strong relationships with local companies and advisors, they are now keen to support more of the many fast-growing firms to be found across London, the Midlands, the east and the south.

“We’re seeing an increasing need for alternative debt, so we’re expanding to serve the businesses that need funding to help them grow,” Scott says. “The vast majority of venture debt and private equity funds don’t have regional offices, but it’s undeniable that a lot of business owners – as well as accountants, lawyers and advisors – appreciate speaking to someone who’s in their patch.”

Martin is keen to note that BOOST&Co is “not a London-centric lender”, but one that is looking to help high-growth companies wherever they are based. “As our team grows, this structure will ensure that we provide genuinely national coverage, embedding ourselves in – and committing to – regions outside the capital. We have expanded to Manchester, Bristol and Cambridge in the past three years; we now want to deepen our local networks and become an important part of the infrastructure in other key cities,” she says.

More regional offices give SMEs more choice

Historically, different areas of the country have been home to different types of business, and Scott believes that BOOST&Co has improved its ability to serve the UK’s SMEs by taking into account these patterns when building its regional teams. “In London, for example, we see more high-growth, tech-sector, venture capital-backed firms, alongside tech or healthcare companies in Cambridge, and our principals in these regions have a lot of experience of these types of deals,” she says.

The Office of National Statistics lists all the businesses in the country, and Scott notes that “if you filter these by size, the geographical spread of companies with a turnover of £1m to £10m is actually quite wide” – a fact that highlights the need to provide a range of funding options across the UK.

“We want companies to know that there’s an alternative to high-street banks and private equity,” Martin says. “This has always been one of my key motivations for working in the SME market. It’s hard for small businesses to access finance at the best of times, so if you add in what has happened with Covid-19, expanding our coverage and increasing companies’ options can only be a good thing.”

Meanwhile, BOOST&Co’s Manchester office recently tripled in size, when three principals were appointed by Ryan Sorby, head of the north and Scotland. Every dealmaker can offer all three of the lender’s products: term loans tailored to support the needs of innovative, fast-growing firms, venture debt aimed at high-growth scale-ups and growth loans that may be used to support any growth-type need.

Local dealmakers to fund local firms

Both Scott and Martin have appointed three experienced principals to their teams. With high-street banks “increasingly shying away” from lending to SMEs, BOOST&Co is “offering an opportunity for people who want to bring their relationships to a lender that is fully focused on these firms”, Scott says.

Her team comprises Cambridge-based Faye McDonough, who has been with BOOST&Co since 2019; Barry Septoe, who joined from Shawbrook in March and works in London; and Adam Brinn, who is based in Essex and moved from OakNorth Bank in April. Their diverse networks “fit well with our desire to offer each client something bespoke. Appointing people with different backgrounds means we can cover the whole of the market,” Scott says.

Martin’s team will cover “everything outside the M25”, including the Thames Valley, Bristol, the Solent area and the Midlands. She has recently recruited Chris Mears, who moved from OakNorth Bank and works in Bristol, plus Reading-based Martin King and Birmingham-based Matt Vincent, who both joined from Lloyds Bank. “We can’t serve the Midlands from London: we’re committed to having someone in the area to build a network and be part of the local ecosystem,” Martin says.

BOOST&Co’s team of investment managers and portfolio analysts, which supports offices in London, Manchester, Bristol and Cambridge, is also expanding, under the leadership of senior portfolio manager Celeste Dowie and senior investment managers Kerry Barron and Cea van Wyk.

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