ThinCats helps fund unique marine training facilities

By Martin White, CEO at SMT

ThinCats, pioneers of the alternative lending industry, have joined forces with Edinburgh-based finance expert Alderburn Finance, and specialist marine training and consultancy provider Stream Marine Training (SMT), to provide them with funds to bring a unique offering to Scotland.

The first of its kind outside of the South of England, SMT is housed in the grounds of Glasgow International Airport, where the proximity of the sea provides a wealth of opportunities for local training for marine sector staff.

The funding has simultaneously helped SMT cut both time and overall costs while also allowing them to offer consultancy services to the global maritime, oil and gas, renewables and construction sectors.

Comprising a helicopter shell and life boat, ten new classrooms, a technical training suite, a mock helicopter pad for fire training, suite of offices and a canteen, the 18,000ft facility now rivals any European marine training provider.

Damon Walford, chief development officer at ThinCats, said: “It was a delight to be able to help SMT finance their ambitious plans for growth. Due to the nature of marine training, finding the perfect facility can be tricky, especially when it comes to looking at the cost implications of such a large-scale facility.

“Initially, business funding was largely provided through equity and mezzanine debt but when that was no longer able to help them grow further, alternative lending was the perfect solution for them. I am confident that it won’t be long before they have plans for even further expansion.”

Martin White, CEO at SMT, said: “At SMT, we were in a position to grow very rapidly, and provide services that are desperately needed by a range of industry sectors. However, we needed the right funding to enable us to take advantage of the opportunities. Alderburn and ThinCats fulfilled that role extremely well and now we can focus on cementing ourselves as one of the centres of training in Europe. Many thanks to the ThinCats team for their help in taking SMT to the next level and we look forward to a very bright future for SMT.”

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 and encouraging growth, development and advancement in UK business.

In December 2015, ESF Capital, the London-based institutional fund manager, acquired a 73.4% stake in ThinCats, providing investment, working capital and significant management and operational resource, along with underwriting capital for the loans on its platform. John Mould became CEO of ThinCats, while ThinCats founder Kevin Caley became chairman.