Former ThinCats chief development officer Damon Walford has joined small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) finance marketplace Swoop as chief commercial officer.
He will be responsible for business strategy and overall commercial development at Swoop, which offers a variety of funding options for SMEs including debt, equity and grants.
Walford (pictured) joins from ThinCats, which was a peer-to-peer lender until it recently exited the retail investor market to focus purely on institutional funding.
“The aim is to extend our network and work with as many industry specialists and advisers as possible,” said Walford.
“The alternative finance market is huge and continually evolving, and Swoop has a vital role to play at the centre of it.
“We provide the direction and guidance that SMEs need when they are looking for financial advice and funds and to support their businesses.
“My focus as chief commercial officer will be to develop the human connections and business relationships that are vital for increasing financial awareness and opening up the marketplace for SMEs, while Swoop’s technical team focuses on the fintech platform that brings SMEs and funders together.
“It’s about successful matchmaking across a complex marketplace – the largest alternative finance marketplace outside the US – and that requires the right inside knowledge and financial chemistry.”
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During his three-and-a-half years with ThinCats, Damon helped develop the platform’s proposition, establisha nationwide origination team and relaunched the company’s brand, Swoop said.
The value of ThinCats’ loanbook quadrupled during his tenure, with annual loan origination averaging 80 per cent growth per annum over the past three years.
In his new role, Walford will report directly to Andrea Reynolds, Swoop’s chief executive and founder, and will be based in Birmingham.
“We have come a long way in a short time, and we are strengthening our senior team to build on this success,” Reynolds said.
“As Brexit unfolds, there will be both challenges and opportunities for SMEs, and we want to be the go-to platform when businesses are addressing cash flow and planning for the future.”
Walford brings with him more than 25 years’ experience in the financial sector, and has held senior roles in banks and fintechs.
Previous to ThinCats, he was managing director of Nufi, which worked closely with fintechs and helped finance professionals, entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop their businesses.