Shaper: Mark Smith

Show aired on 27th February 2016


Executive Chairman & Founder, The Car Finance Company

Mark Smith was born in 1969 and lived in The New Forest throughout his childhood. Mark joined the Royal Navy in 1985 at the age of 16 as a junior mechanic, later transferring to the Royal Navy Police.  After 14 years of service he then spent ten years in specialist consumer finance.

Mark founded ‘The Car Finance Company’ from the spare bedroom of his Portsmouth home in 2007. Its annualized lending now stands at £150m, with £80m revenues.

The company currently employs 450 staff and was ranked second in ‘The Sunday Times Fast Track 100’ in 2014”,  10th in the same publication in 2015,  whilst simultaneously ranked 74th in “The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to work for” in the UK.

Follow Mark on Twitter @tcfcmark.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

I joined the Royal Navy in 1985, two days after my sixteenth birthday…it was a really really great career

I’ve always been a bit of a petrol head. I’ve been fascinated with cars, the noises, the colours, the shapes, the sizes… throughout my military career

…it was about eight years, eight or nine years of actually working in the real world before I set up my own business.

…2008 and 2009 made me think really long and hard about actually was I going to …end up on the scrap heap of life

I think I had always fancied having a go at working for myself.

So I set The Car Finance Company up as a brokerage and we ran it from the spare bedroom of my house.

I decided to change the trajectory of the business altogether and move from becoming a broker introducer to becoming a direct lender…

…just about everything we did and the way we operated was extremely different to everybody else in the market place at the time.

I think part of the secret – if it is a secret – is not trying to do it yourself.

I probably did something which a lot of people do but most people don’t, and brought some very intelligent and capable people on board to do the stuff that I couldn’t do or I knew they could do better.