The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM), which counts Ed Sheeran, Newton Faulkner and Kate Nash among its alumni, has secured a £2.4m loan from peer-to-peer lender ThinCats.
Following Sheeran's success, ACM has seen a surge in interest from potential students. The academy will use the funding to expand and double its student numbers, as discussions are already underway to secure a third site.
Kainne Clements, the sole shareholder of ACM, also owns independent recording studio Metropolis which has recorded and mixed albums for artists including Queen, Michael Jackson, U2, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Rihanna.
“We are pleased to be supporting such an ambitious and successful entrepreneur as Kainne Clements and look forward to supporting his future plans for the business,” said ThinCats' head of business origination Dave Sherrington.
Founded in the aftermath of the financial crisis, ThinCats aims to offer loans to businesses which might struggle to access capital through traditional sources by listening to a company's story and assessing its merits rather than relying on algorithms.
"This was a cash flow lend the high street bands typically don’t have the appetite to support. We were impressed with the credentials of Kainne and the attractiveness of his business model to students," said a ThinCats spokesperson.
The lender also said that it was able to structure the loan in such a way that repayments "supported the business’ cashflow". An interest only period was followed by a period with a fixed repayment schedule, an a lump sum repayment at the end of four years.
"This suited our risk appetite and the ability of the business to repay, which is novel in today’s environment," said the ThinCats spokesperson.
Small business lender ESF Capital, an institutional fund manager, bought a majority stake in ThinCats in 2015 and its chief executive John Mould now also heads up ThinCats. The peer-to-peer lender's founder, Kevin Caley, is chairman.
ThinCats was granted full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last week. The business has currently lent almost £246m from retail and institutional investors to established businesses, having launched its platform in 2011.