'We're in a grown-up sport and people often remind us of that,' admit Albatross founders



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Albatross Capital co-founders and principals Lewis Casserley and Jordan Fearnley Brown claim that age hasn’t been on their side after launching a bridging lender — but it hasn’t stopped them from securing institutional funding and building a multi-million-pound book in its first year of trading.

Bridging lender Albatross Capital launched in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis to offer a variety of solutions to the market.

As a new finance provider, Jordan explained that it has been hard to generate business from brokers — especially during multiple lockdowns.

“It has been challenging because you can’t meet them face to face; you have to rely on being relatively persistent.”   

In an exclusive interview with B&C, Jordan confirmed that, although the business officially launched in April 2020, it officially started lending in November and has now amassed a £10m loan book.  

In March, the bridging lender — which is backed by institutional funding lines and private investors — secured a multi-million-pound funding facility from Shawbrook Bank and launched its new ‘mini wings’ product, focusing on loans at the lower end of the market for residential and semi-commercial assets in England and Wales.

When discussing how they have been perceived so far, Lewis shared that age hasn’t been on their side and they can sometimes be wrongly observed as naive. “We’re in a grown-up sport and people often remind us of that,” Lewis stated.

“We’ve made mistakes," he admits. "We've been lending for four years and have had bad debts, cashflow problems and accounting errors — all sorts of things that any business goes through. But, we’ve learnt the hard way.”

The presence of its new group chairman, Kevin Cook — previously a senior audit partner with BDO for 25 years — has helped Albatross attract the likes of Shawbrook and other institutional backers.

When asked how they mitigate any negative opinions with regard to running a bridging lender at a young age, Jordan pointed to the fact that the pair had lent through Edgarley Finance previously — which gave them a foothold in the market — and the people around them that help and guide them in the right direction.  

He noted that the business’s funding lines are very supportive and wouldn’t supply the capital if they weren’t confident in their abilities.

“Bringing Shawbrook on was a big thing for us,” he added, explaining that passing the credit process of a bank provided the lender with credibility.  

“We started four years ago with £100,000 from one investor, and now we’ve got £80m. That hasn’t happened by accident,” Lewis said. 

The full interview can be watched below.

 

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