Sir Richard Branson has named Edinburgh fintech business Sustainably as his start-up of 2019.
The business for social good allows people to donate their spare change automatically every time they shop. Donors can give on their own terms, privately and anonymously and with complete control over their donations so they never receive unwanted direct mail, phone calls or texts.
The award marks a notable 12 months for the business which was selected as one of 15 finalists participating in the Nesta Challenges Open Up 2020 Challenge and winning WeWork’s Creator Awards. Insider chose chief executive Loral Quinn as one of its Twenty Women to Watch in 2018.
Quinn, who founded the company with her daughter Eishel, said “We’ve had incredible support from Richard and the team at Virgin, having received funding from Virgin Startup that enabled us to create our successful beta product in 2017. We’d also like to thank our team. We would not be here without them and receiving this recognition is testament to their amazing work.”
Branson said: “It’s encouraging to see businesses we’ve supported through Virgin StartUp achieving real growth and scale, whilst having a strong purpose at their core.
“Many of the best ideas are ones that solve a problem and make things easier for people.” The business was launched in response to increasing demand for people wanting to give in easier ways.
Sustainably works by connecting an individual’s bank card, and automatically rounds up on their behalf whenever they use their card or connected devices, distributing micro-donations to their chosen good causes.
They can also give monthly donations with privacy, transparency and control. Sustainably was named Best in Show at Finovate, made Virgin Startup’s top 10.
Their team has doubled from four people to eight, has two offices in Edinburgh and London and has plans to double in size again in 2020. Sustainably started off with a successful beta app for Monzo bank customers, and has now connected to 13 UK banks This will mean Sustainably is available to 95% of the UK population.
The company also plans to connect to all high street banks and challenger banks, and launch RealTimeCSR so retailers and employers can match donate with their customers and employers in real time, in the year ahead.