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26/02/2019

Team Spotlight: Simon Kelsall, Investment Director - Growth Capital

26/02/2019

Team Spotlight: Simon Kelsall, Investment Director - Growth Capital


FDC believes in a personal approach to funding, so over the coming months we’ll be sharing a series of “Team Spotlight” articles on our news page. This month we spoke with Simon Kelsall about SME challenges, avoiding jargon, and finding time to stay active.


Tell us about your background?
I studied Economics at Durham university, and became ACA qualified at KPMG. I then worked 10 years in leveraged finance for various banks, and another 10 years in private equity for Barclays Ventures. Before joining FDC in January 2019 I spent 3 years in industry as a Finance Director of a training business in Derby, so I've experienced the funding process from most sides.


What do you do at FDC?

As an Investment Director in the Growth Capital Team, I’m in the privileged position of meeting a vast number of businesses across a wide range of sectors, to discuss their plans and funding requirements. I then work out how we can put together a funding package that will work for the business to help it fulfill its aspirations.


What do you like about working at FDC?

FDC is a very flexible funder with a can-do approach. This means that when we see a business that we like there will be a way to fund them.


What are the values that drive you in your career?

Be straightforward – don’t talk in code or jargon. Tell people what you can do for them and then do it. Likewise if you can’t do it, don’t be embarrassed to say so – it saves everyone a lot of time.


What do you think is the biggest challenge SMEs seeking funding face?

Most funders seek their debt to be repaid over a relatively short time period. This can lead to significant and certain cash commitments, at a time when businesses are facing a world that is anything but certain. FDC recognises this and our flexible approach to structuring repayments affords the borrower with greater flexibility in uncertain times.


What's the best piece of advice you've been given in your working life?

Lending and investing are all about management – if you back a good management team then the rest is easy.


What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I used to sail every week, but being dad’s taxi at the weekend makes this more challenging.  As a result, I have become a “middle aged man in lycra” as grabbing a couple of hours on the bike fits much better with family life than trying to grab a day on the boat – albeit I still do sail whenever I get the chance!


What's your favourite book?

"Taking on the World" by Ellen MacArthur. It offers great insight from someone with a passion, following their dreams despite all the odds being stacked against them and succeeding, proving that when the desire is strong enough, anything is achievable.


To find out more about Simon or get in touch with him click here.