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/

Evolution Funding Retains Best Broker Title at Car Finance Awards 2023

Evolution Funding has been awarded ‘Best Broker’ and ‘Best Service for Dealers’ at the Car Finance Awards 2023.

This marks the eighth consecutive year that Evolution has been named ‘Best Broker’, with an entry that focused on the company’s £1 billion in advances milestone, its automation achievements, operational excellence programme, and market-leading platform.

Photo shows (l to r): Darren Selig, JBR Capital chief commercial officer; Kevin Kaye, Evolution Funding finance director; Zoe Lyons, Car Finance Awards host and comedian

The ‘Best Service for Dealers’ entry focused on Evolution’s 2022 operational excellence programme and covered its continuous process improvement, implementation of a ‘right first time’ approach, RPA and automation, credit score-based pricing, and pre-pay.

Photo shows (l to r): Simon Kington, Stellantis Financial Services UK chief executive officer; Adam Small, Evolution Funding head of operations; Zoe Lyons, Car Finance Awards host and comedian

The awards, which were held on 22nd June at The Point, Lancashire Cricket Ground in Manchester, celebrated the achievements and successes of the motor finance industry. Judged by an independent panel of judges, a Car Finance Award represents an outstanding achievement of best practice in the industry.

Click here to view the full list of winners.

Evolution Funding is Car Finance Provider of the Year 2023

Evolution Funding wins at the Credit Strategy Credit Awards 2023

Evolution Funding has been awarded the coveted accolade of Car Finance Provider of the Year – Independent lender (non-bank owned) at the Credit Strategy Credit Awards 2023.

These flagship awards for the credit and financial services industry are judged by an independent panel of experts and industry leaders. Regarded as the ‘Oscars of the industry’, they recognise and celebrate innovation, best practice, and achievements across the entire industry.

Evolution faced tough competition when they were shortlisted alongside Oodle and Zuto in a category that requires entrants to showcase a range of achievements that place the firm ahead of its competitors in its sector.

With an entry focused on Evolution’s financial, technology, customer experience, and operational excellence achievements, the win is testament to the significant work going on behind the scenes by every team in the business.

Congratulations to all finalists and the winners, the full list of which can be found here: https://www.creditstrategy.co.uk/creditawards/credit-awards-winners

LDC-backed Evolution Funding acquires Motion Finance to drive continued growth

Evolution Funding Motion Finance

Transaction marks second bolt-on acquisition for the business, which boasts market-leading proprietary technology

Evolution Funding Group Limited (‘Evolution’), the UK’s largest independent motor finance and technology provider has acquired Motion Finance to accelerate its growth strategy, with the support of private equity investor LDC.

Evolution’s proprietary platform Evolve is one of the industry’s most sophisticated technologies, automating and streamlining the traditional and complex UK auto finance ecosystem and facilitating over £1.2 billion in used car finance transactions in 2022. The platform enables automated end-to-end used car financing journeys for independent and franchised dealers, car supermarkets, and digital dealers such as Cazoo and Cinch. Evolution’s technology also powers real rate finance on the UK’s largest price comparison and eligibility websites, including Experian and Confused.com.

Warrington-headquartered broker Motion Finance focuses on sourcing finance for small-to-medium-sized used car dealerships throughout the UK. The company focuses on providing a ‘hands-on’ service and taking the leg work out of finance for its dealer partners. Motion Finance employs 64 staff, and was founded in 2007 by Ian and Wendy Kennah, with the addition of sales director Ian Kay in 2017. The business will continue to operate under its own brand, with Motion Finance’s existing management team at the helm.

The acquisition aligns with Evolution’s growth objectives and marks the business’ second bolt-on following the acquisition of automotive software and digital services provider Click Dealer in 2021.

Since LDC’s investment in 2019, Evolution has also significantly expanded its management team – led by CEO Lee Streets – and picked up a number of awards in recognition of its digital and SaaS proposition. Alongside the continued investment in its technology and digital capabilities, Evolution has increased its market share by winning several large national accounts and building out its core regional dealer base, which the addition of Motion Finance will further enhance.

Lee Streets, CEO at Evolution, said:

“Motion Finance prides itself on providing its customer base with the best possible service and setting the standards for UK vehicle finance brokerage, an ethos that fits perfectly with our own. We look forward to welcoming the team and working together to explore opportunities for further growth.”

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

“This acquisition represents another landmark step for Evolution’s growth journey and the best-in-class service it offers. We’re excited to see what’s next for Lee and the team and will continue to be a trusted partner and help them identify other complementary acquisitions to support the business’ growth.”

Ian Kennah, Managing Director of Motion Finance, said:

“We’ve worked extremely hard over the last 17 years to build the reputation that Motion Finance has today, and it’s been a journey I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of. Since our rebrand in 2017, we have seen incredible growth and as shareholders we realised maintaining such growth on our own would become more and more difficult. Finding the right position for Motion to continue to progress was imperative to us.

The opportunity to become part of the Evolution Funding Group has come at a great time, and we are looking forward to seeing what opportunities this will bring. We believe combining our tailored approach with Evolution’s technology and enhanced products will allow us to improve our offering to dealers and in turn, increase our market share.

I am incredibly excited to be leading Motion into the next phase in its journey and beyond. All our staff are dedicated to offering our dealer partners an exceptional service whilst supporting them with all their finance needs, and we’re committed to ensuring that this continues.”

Evolution Funding was advised by Si Heath of Heligan Corporate Finance, Gowlings and BDO.

Motion Finance was advised by Gareth Hughes & Co, Bennett Brooks, and Taylor Rose.

Evolution Funding Webinar to Deliver Practical Insights on Consumer Duty

Consumer Duty Webinar

Evolution Funding is running a free webinar for dealers and the motor industry. The hour-long session from 2.00 pm on Thursday 18th May will explore what the FCA wants to achieve with consumer duty and how fulfilling the requirements can create opportunities for dealers.

The webinar ‘Consumer Duty for Dealers: Burden or Blessing?’ will be hosted by Evolution’s sales director Keith Bell and head of risk and compliance, Sam Osborn and will feature an expert panel discussion.

Taking part is Jo Davis, partner at Auxillias, a specialist motor and consumer finance law firm. Representing dealers will be Karen Wagstaffe, head of group F&I compliance at Sytner Group, Richard Hubbard, group F&I director at Cambria Autos, and Tom Barcroft, sales director at Auto100.

Sam Osborn, Evolution’s head of risk and compliance, said:

“We are excited to be hosting this event, which will provide practical insight into consumer duty and should give dealers reassurance of the benefits and opportunities.

“We are lucky to have such an experienced panel joining us and we’re looking forward to having a really useful discussion with them. This webinar isn’t intended to provide a ‘how to’ but we are aware that dealers are still trying to get their heads around consumer duty and what it means for them and their customers. We’re aiming to shed some light on that.”

For more information and to register for the event, please visit:

Evolution Funding Completes Strategic Sales Restructure

Ian Smith and Paul HIbbert
l to r – Ian Smith, Head of Sales (Major) and Paul Hibbert, Customer Engagement Director

Evolution Funding has completed a strategic restructure of its sales function in a move that will support the company’s ambitious growth plans.

Paul Hibbert, who has successfully led the major accounts division for over eleven years, will be bringing his extensive experience to his new role as Customer Engagement Director. Paul will oversee the team that provides support for Evolution’s brand partnerships consumer channel and will be responsible for leveraging the significant opportunities in that area.

In his role as Strategic Relationships Director, Paul successfully built and delivered Evolution’s major accounts proposition over the course of eleven and a half years. Introduced to focus on the UK’s Top 100 dealer groups, Paul established the strategy, structure and team and over that period, took yearly major advances from £0 to £576m in 2022. In addition, Major have supported the largest dealerships and car supermarkets in the digitisation of their car finance proposition.

Paul has over 30 years’ experience in the motor industry and held various senior positions in finance and insurance before joining Evolution in 2011. He brings a wealth of sales and leadership experience to his new role in Customer Engagement.

Taking up the mantle from Paul, responsibility for Evolution’s key dealer relationships has passed to Ian Smith. In his role as Head of Sales, Ian will oversee Major, Signature (Evolution’s bespoke vehicle finance solution), and Leisure.

Ian has over 35 years’ experience in the finance industry across multiple sectors such as retail credit, home improvement, motor, motorcycles, and marine. He has been with Evolution for eight years and during that time, in his role as Regional Sales Director, he looked after several Top 200 dealership groups, including Norton Way Group, JCB Group, Wilmoths, and Jemca. In 2022, Ian led the South-East region team to deliver £100M advances and win Team of the Year.

Ian said:

“I’m very excited about coming into this role as I’ve had experience across all of the various sectors at some point or another in my career. The sheer variety of the sectors I will be looking after, plus managing some great talent within the business, really gets my motor running! With this experience and a track record of success, I hope to be able to continue on from the great work that Paul has done since the Major Accounts Team was formed a number of years ago.”

Evolution Funding boosts technology proposition with offshore partnership

Evolution offices in Chennai India

Evolution Funding has established an Indian offshore technology centre in partnership with ClearVue Solutions.

The new hub, located in Chennai, gives Evolution access to a pool of highly skilled individuals, complementing their established UK-based business technology centre. The offshore team further strengthens Evolution’s position as a technical leader in motor finance whilst also supporting its growth plans.

Paul Saggar, Evolution Funding’s Chief Innovation Officer, said:

“This is another major milestone in the Evolution Funding journey and one that will further strengthen our product offering by giving us access to a wider pool of technology-focused resources. Establishing this offshore capability has been a key initiative, so I’m extremely pleased to see this up and running. I look forward to working with our India-based team.”

Evolution will continue to grow both their UK and Indian business technology teams over the coming months to accelerate their product roadmap as the business pursues opportunities to lead digital innovation in motor finance.

Evolution Funding partners with Motiv Finance to deliver advanced credit pre-screening solution

piece of the puzzle

Evolution Funding (‘Evolution’) and Motiv Finance (‘Motiv’) have announced a partnership in which the two will join forces to build new technology products for the motor finance market.

The joint collaboration agreement will see the companies share elements of their existing credit pre-screening technologies with each other, with plans to co-build an advanced solution. Both will commit significant R&D investment into the project which will underpin components of Evolution’s new CreditScanner product. Evolution and Motiv will also cooperate on other projects including consumer self-serve automation and data intelligence.

Lee Streets, Evolution’s chief executive, said:

“This is an exciting and innovative new partnership for us. We have built a relationship with Motiv for several years, and it became clear that there are significant synergies between the two businesses. We have the same aspirations for the motor finance consumer journey and so it made perfect sense to partner up. We look forward to exploring the opportunities this alliance will reveal.”

Commenting on the partnership, Motiv founder Stuart Davey said:

“We are delighted to have partnered with Evolution and are keen to identify ways to leverage our combined strengths to progress motor finance technology. There is a huge opportunity to help retailers, lenders, and consumers through this initiative.”

Due to launch in 2023, Evolution’s CreditScanner is a personalised payment search for consumers. Delivering instant credit pre-approval with real rate offers, the customer will be served a personalised monthly payment quote on-screen and in real-time against the retailer’s online stock.

Evolution Funding Achieves £1 Billion Advances Milestone

Evolution Staff celebrate 1 billion

Evolution Funding has celebrated a key motor finance milestone of transacting £1 billion in advances in the calendar year so far, with total platform transactions of more than £1.5 billion.

The achievement comes seven months after the business posted a record month in March of £117.4 million in advances.

Lee Streets, chief executive of Evolution Funding, said:

“Reaching this £1 billion milestone is a proud moment for everyone in the business. This target was set when we launched our new vision, mission, and values in December 2019.

“Part of our mission was to intermediate £1 billion in consumer advances via our platform. To have delivered this less than three years later is an incredible achievement. Considering we still have two more months to go, we will far exceed that goal in 2022.

“The last few years have seen us grow exponentially, and we successfully emerged from the pandemic in a strong market position. We have focused heavily on building out our technology proposition, as well as strengthening our internal teams right up to board level.

“My thanks go out to our amazing staff for their continued commitment and focus, along with those dealers and partners who have supported us over the years. We are about to head into our twentieth year of trading and this milestone gives us a great springboard for the next stage of our growth.”