Kevin Caley

Kevin began his career as an engineer in the Midlands car industry and used his MBA to get into early-stage venture capital. Over 35 years he set up several funds and has been responsible for over 400 small venture capital investments, always seeking to address the ‘equity gap’ faced by SMEs. He has written several books and interactive guides on the subject of SME finance including the first guide to financing a small business (in 1986) and the DTI handbook on how to set up and manage an early-stage equity and loan fund.

In 1992 Kevin established East Midlands Venture Fund Managers (now MidVen) and managed the Birmingham Enterprise Fund and the Creative Advantage Fund). Between 2003 and 2015 he established and managed the Advantage Early Growth Fund which pioneered the concept of a co-investment fund which actively encouraged business angel investment in the West Midlands and made smaller equity investments (between £50k and £250k) available to SMEs in the region. In 5 years AEGF invested £10m in 61 businesses, alongside 507 co-investors who contributed £38m.  For 3 years running AEGF made more investments than any other fund in England and Wales. 

In 2009, at the height of the banking crisis, Kevin identified two market failures; SMEs could not get bank loans and investors could not earn interest on their savings. He created ThinCats.com, the first peer-to-peer platform making secured business loans, and addressed both problems at once. Established with equity investments from local business angels, ThinCats arranged £1bn of loans in 5 years of which £200m was from 2,000 private investors. 

In November 2009 Kevin established the world’s first peer to peer platform specialising in making secured business loans “ThinCats” which allowed private investors to lend directly to businesses. 

He is founder of the Ark Hub which is seeking to encourage business support and investment organisations to work together and address the poor performance of the West Midlands as a region in funding SMEs with growth potential. He is also chairman of an early-stage software business and a mentor to two charities, helping them develop ways to generate commercial income.

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