Car finance FinTech Zuto is undoubtedly a North West tech success story.

The company, which is achieving over 50% revenue growth year on year, saw record growth and financial performance in 2022. CEO James Wilkinson says 2023 shows no sign of slowing amid “record levels of interest for car finance”.

The growing business now employs more than 400 staff – known as ‘Zutonites’ – across a wide range of teams including contact centre, technology, finance, legal, HR, data & analytics, partnerships and marketing.

“2022 was a fantastic year for us,” Wilkinson, who co-founded the business with Ryan Dignan as Car Loan 4U in 2006, tells BusinessCloud. “We saw an uplift in market share of 7%, with the amount of customers driving cars financed through Zuto up by 14%. This growth outperformed the used car market as a whole.”

The period also saw Zuto achieve B Corp certification, while Wilkinson was invited into the Automotive 30% Club, which recognises companies that commit to having a strong gender balance within leadership positions. 

‘Very different’ working environments

Key to its success has been creating an environment allowing those Zutonites to flourish. Alongside its Macclesfield base, it last summer secured an additional floor in the Acresfield building in Manchester city centre, taking its presence there to 24,100 sq ft.

Zuto’s offices in St Ann’s Square were designed by OBI, which secured Zuto’s original move there in 2015 as well as helping it take the extra floor. 


“It’s been really important to create working environments that suit the different needs of our teams,” says Wilkinson. “For our contact centre teams based across our Manchester city centre and Macclesfield offices we want a lively environment where people can enjoy themselves, perform well and work hard whilst having fun. 

“For our non-customer facing teams, we need a collaborative space where people can come together and interact to gain that personal experience, so we have created two very different working environments.”


OBI works with a dazzling array of Manchester’s fastest-growing technology businesses to deliver their property needs in all areas – from identifying their requirements to securing space, designing the fit-out and project-managing the transition from existing offices.

OBI works closely with clients – known as ‘occupiers’ in the industry – to research their needs, conducting surveys and workshops, before it begins to look around for potential sites.

OBI boss: Scaling tech firms now need sophisticated workspaces

OBI has many clients in financial and professional services, but has cornered the market for scaling tech firms in the Manchester area: it also counts , The Hut Group, musicMagpie, Peak and Connex One among its clients, working with some of them almost since inception.

Working with OBI

CEO Wilkinson, a former winner of EY Entrepreneur of the Year, continues: “We have worked with OBI for several years – they have allowed us to create these different working environments. The refurbishment of Acresfield included the addition of new gender neutral facilities and upgraded communal spaces.  These improvements have really enhanced the building and suits the needs of our team.

“Our people-first approach runs throughout the organisation. It’s vital we create an environment where everyone can flourish and deliver great work, while being able to fail and learn and have fun along the way.”

Hybrid working

The company has also embraced hybrid working where appropriate. “We’ve created different ways of working and different working environments to suit the teams we have: we’ve adopted new approaches for managing teams, motivating performance, supporting wellbeing and amplifying every employee’s voice,” says Wilkinson. 

“We have found that clear and regular communication is key in a hybrid working environment, so this is a priority for us. We host an ‘open house’ with all staff, for example, where the senior management team talk about company performance in an open way. 

“This transparency helps to build trust. There’s also a focus on multiple communication channels to appeal across all working environments to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be part of the conversation.”

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Despite the economic downturn, Zuto is continuing to hire for roles across the business including contact centre, software engineering and analytics.

“Our focus on staff wellbeing has seen a range of initiatives introduced; from creating market leading family friendly policies and rewarding continued commitment to cost of living salary increases for everyone in the business,” says Wilkinson. 

“We had a great year last year, and our growth ambitions remain as strong as ever, so expect to see another very strong year for Zuto.

“Our strong performance has been driven by improving the customer experience, nurturing our partnerships and integrating more lenders and products into the platform, to deliver even more choice to our customers.”

Modern workspaces can’t afford to be boring