Evolution Funding Secures Carlyle Investment to Support its Growth Journey

Lee Streets

London, United Kingdom, Tuesday 25th July 2023 – Global investment firm Carlyle (NASDAQ: CG) announced today that it has agreed to acquire Evolution Funding (“Evolution”), the UK’s largest used auto finance platform, investing alongside Evolution’s founders and existing investor LDC. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Chesterfield, UK, Evolution is a technology-led motor finance platform that connects car dealers and auto finance providers with multiple lenders. Since it was founded in 2002, the business has grown to become the largest used car finance marketplace in the UK with its funding platform widely embedded across UK automotive dealerships. It has c. 500 employees and supports over 4,000 dealer forecourts, including national car dealerships such as Marshall, Sytner Group and Trust Ford, and major online-only used car dealers such as Cinch and Cazoo. It also has brand partnerships with the AA and fintech services like Experian and ClearScore, which offer access to direct-to-consumer channels. In the last twelve months, Evolution has enabled nearly 150,000 financing transactions with a total platform volume in excess of GBP 2 billion. Over the last four years, the business has almost quadrupled the total volume of advances it enables along with doubling its employee headcount.

Evolution has made two key strategic acquisitions in recent years: Click Dealer in July 2021 and Motion Finance in May 2023. Click Dealer is highly complementary to Evolution’s existing services and supports its growth strategy to enhance its technology, digital capabilities, and SaaS proposition. Motion Finance has allowed Evolution to further grow its core market share in independent motor dealers.

Equity for the investment will be provided by Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (“CETP”) V, a €3 billion fund which invests in technology companies across Europe. CETP will work with management to support Evolution’s growth in the used car finance market by working to expand the range of dealers’ product offerings on its interface and in doing so becoming an enablement platform for additional sales, developing a digital lead-generation capability, and exploring consolidation of the fragmented motor finance market through further M&A.

Fernando Chueca, Managing Director in the CETP investment advisory team, said:

“In Evolution, we identified the opportunity to partner with an advanced technology platform in the UK’s fragmented market for used car finance, which we believe is an attractive and growing segment. In addition to its market leading position and high barriers to entry, we believe the continued development and expansion of Evolution’s digital platform, as well as exploring M&A opportunities, can unlock significant value. We look forward to working with Lee and the entire team at Evolution.”

Lee Streets, founder and CEO of Evolution Funding, said:

“We believe Evolution holds a unique position in the UK’s motor finance market, built upon capturing opportunity to provide a differentiated, technology-based platform which helps both lender and dealer partners navigate change from digitisation and regulation. In Carlyle, we have found the ideal partner to continue our growth journey, given their experience growing and scaling entrepreneurial technology businesses like ours.

We would like to thank the team at LDC for their support over the last four years, investment in the development of our technology platform, and for helping us to position Evolution at the leading edge of the market. We are excited for this next stage of Evolution’s journey as we continue to transform the motor finance market.”

Lawrence Dean, Partner and Head of South at LDC, added:

“Lee and his team have almost quadrupled the total volume of advances Evolution’s platform enables in the last four years; a significant achievement given the uncertainty in the market. In addition, Evolution has continued to invest in its technology, playing a leading role in the digitisation of the motor finance market and developing innovative digital finance solutions that are shaping the industry and customer experience. We look forward to continuing to work together to support Evolution’s future growth plans.”

CETP was advised by Houlihan Lokey, DLA, Alvarez & Marsal, LEK and Seedcloud.

Evolution Funding and LDC were advised by Arma Partners, Gowling WLG, KPMG, OC&C and Crosslake.

The transaction is subject to FCA approval.

Evolution Funding Celebrates 20 Years of Trading, Marking a Milestone in Excellence

Evolution Funding proudly announces its 20th anniversary in business, a remarkable achievement in an ever-evolving market.

This significant milestone highlights the company’s dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to excellence in serving its dealers and partners.

Since its establishment, Evolution Funding has emerged as a leader in the motor finance industry by consistently delivering innovative solutions and exceptional services. Over the past two decades, the company has grown from strength to strength, evolving its business model, expanding its market presence, and nurturing long-lasting partnerships.

As part of the 20th-anniversary celebrations, Evolution held a Summer Party at Ringwood Hall, Chesterfield to thank staff for their unwavering contributions to the company’s success and recognise long-serving staff members, including Evolution’s original three: Lucy Hannant, James Burke, and Emma Barley.

Lucy James Emma long service awards

What Evolution’s Founding Directors Had to Say

Jeremy Levine, Lee Streets, Chris Coverdale
Lee Streets

Lee Streets, CEO

“Words fail me to describe my feelings on reaching our 20-year milestone. Would I have believed we would build the market-leading motor finance platform, smash through £1 billion in advances, acquire other great businesses in Click and Motion and have so many amazing people join us for the journey – no way! Thank you to everybody for your hard work, passion, and belief in team Evo!”

Jeremy Levine

Jeremy Levine, Group Executive Director

“Those early years were hard, hard yards, but such great memories. Of fax proposals, pods spreadsheets, BCT searches and flat rates, NHM, GE and Fortis, of urgent payouts, 50, 100, 200 deals a month – how could you ever do 300 deals in a month? I love being part of Evolution Funding, building a business, our people, teams, and culture. We’ve worked miracles and overcome so many challenges. We’ve had some great laughs and a few tears, and I’m just so proud of everyone – thank you.”

Chris Coverdale

Chris Coverdale, Group Sales Director

“Reaching our 20th anniversary makes me feel like a proud parent! The first four or five years were mainly about survival – creating a compelling broker proposition, generating income, cultivating relationships with dealers and funders, managing costs, and staying solvent. Then came the 2008 credit crunch and a recession! That taught us to be resilient, adaptive, and creative. 2012-2019 were our teenage years – rapid growth in people and volume, whilst developing and refining our proposition to be more tech-focused. Then came COVID and lockdowns and once again our resilience was tested, but our adaptability and creativity helped us emerge stronger than ever. Now Evolution is a mature company, with incredibly dedicated and talented people who espouse our core values and create an Evolution culture we can all be proud to say we are part of.”

20th Anniversary Photos

Looking ahead, Evolution remains committed to its vision ‘To lead change, digital innovation, and excellence in motor finance’. The milestone comes in a year when the company was named Car Finance Awards ‘Best Broker’ for the eighth consecutive year, along with ‘Best Service for Dealers’.

Photography credited to: https://matthewjonesphotography.co.uk/