28 SME NEWS / September 2017 , Loan provider ThinCats, which specialises in SME funding, looks North to fund Scottish business ambitions. ThinCats-Hot-tailing it to the Highlands ThinCats, the alternative business funding provider, has recruited an Origination Manager for Scotland, having identified the need for a dedicated presence in the area. As one of the pioneers of the alternative lending industry, ThinCats was founded in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The aim has always been to offer loans to UK businesses struggling to access funding through traditional channels, and link them directly with investors via an online platform, offering attractive rates of interest unavailable through many conventional investment portfolios. Starting from the belief that funding applications deserve more than just harsh number crunching, ThinCats uses innovative data analysis combined with a human touch to candidly assess each loan, listening to the story behind each case; providing real opportunity for SMEs, encouraging growth, development and advancement in UK business. In December 2015, ESF Capital, the London-based institutional fund manager, acquired at 73.4% stake in ThinCats; providing investment, working capital and significant management and operational resource, along with underwriting capitals for loans on its platform. John Mould became CEO of ThinCats, while ThinCats founder Kevin Caley became Chairman. Geoff O’Brien will be the key contact for Scotland, leading all new business origination across the region. He will be looking to develop relationships with growth businesses, commercial finance professionals and funding advisers, giving them access to a true alternative to traditional lenders. Geoff has significant, relevant experience for the position, through his Director level roles at the likes of Santander and Clydesdale Bank, specialising in Business Development, supporting the SME market. Geoff also has experience of working with scale-up entrepreneurial businesses via his involvement with the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School and their innovative, award-winning Growth Advantage Programme. Discussing this latest development, Damon Walford, CDO at ThinCats, was keen to emphasise the firm’s focus on working with SMEs across the region. “We have a number of strong relationships in Scotland, and it has become clear that there is a particularly high proportion of underserved SMEs, who are struggling to find the funding they need to develop, grow and realise their potential. We are very happy now to be in an even better position to help them out; Geoff is the ideal person to provide expert, local support and guidance.” As Scotland becomes an increasingly important region in the UK, this latest appointment offers many exciting opportunities for SMEs in the country.