Alternative financers work together to deliver clean and pressed deal for laundromat provider


ThinCats, the leading fintech lender to mid-market SMEs, has provided funding to support the successful acquisition of the laundry services provider Washstation Ltd, by the private equity group Solingen. Solingen acquired the business alongside Katy Mitchell, a former employee of Washstation.

As private and institutional investment continue to integrate within the lending market, new avenues for financing are being created. One such example is the new funding partnership between ThinCats and Solingen, both addressing gaps within the sub £10m lending market. While ThinCats aims to simplify the traditional bank-dominated commercial lending model, Solingen focuses on investment to back high quality SME’s with strong growth prospects .

So, when Paul Betts, director at Solingen was facilitating the deal for Katy Mitchell to acquire Washstation, ThinCats was a natural funding partner. Initially impressed by its announcement to ringfence £100m for Private Equity backed businesses, Paul contacted ThinCats regional business development director, Ben Kimball to see if he was interested in helping to fund this unique deal.

ThinCats quickly recognised the potential of not only this deal, but also in establishing a key relationship within the private equity industry. After working closely with Katy Mitchell and Solingen, Ben Kimball and his team at ThinCats offered a timely and bespoke debt facility that will enable not only Washstation’s growth plans but also secure Solingen’s investment. Ben Slack and Marie Pugh at Clarion Solicitors supported the deal.

This funding programme forms part of a wider strategy by ThinCats to establish itself as a key financing partner within the Private Equity market. Despite seeing a slowdown in 2018, due to political uncertainty, private equity investment in most sectors is continuing to achieve strong growth. Furthermore, the increased amount of unspent capital due to slowing exit activity has left the market well positioned to capitalise on further investment opportunities.

In February, ThinCats launched a £100m funding programme for private equity backed businesses.

Paul Betts, director, Solingen, said: “We relish the opportunity to work with like-minded funders like ThinCats. From the onset, we were impressed by Ben’s professional approach to business and also his ability to deliver a deal in a short timeframe. We look forward to working with ThinCats on some upcoming products and facilitate our homegrown entrepreneurs’ future successes.”

Ben Kimball, regional business director, ThinCats, said: “By combining our funding expertise, our mission to plug the funding gap is taking a definitive step forward. Our combined hands-on approach to business lending will enable more smart-minded entrepreneurs, like Katy, fulfil their business ambitions.”