Scots sunglasses brand Tens gets backing from Branson

Three friends who founded a sunglasses brand after a Highlands holiday have received a cash injection from Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard Branson models his Tens sunglasses. Picture: Contributed

The tycoon, who discovered the Tens brand when a friend lent him a pair on his Necker Island retreat, said the company – set up in 2014 by Marty Bell, Kris Reid and Tom Welsh – has “disrupted the sunglasses market” with its lenses that mimic the effects of Instagram-style photo filters.

Branson added: “Kris, Marty and Tom have shown tremendous entrepreneurial spirit to get where they are today; they’ve done an amazing job bringing their ambition to life.

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“I love the product – no matter where I am in the world I can stick on a pair of Tens and feel like I’m right back on Necker Island.”

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The undisclosed investment from the Virgin Group founder will be channelled towards driving Tens’ global sales and strengthening its international profile. The Glasgow-based firm currently ships to more than 100 countries.

Tens was launched after a crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo platform, which achieved almost £400,000 in pre-orders.

Bell said: “It’s fantastic Richard has invested in Tens. His spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship is completely aligned with the brand and we are thoroughly delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Reid added: “Richard’s investment will help significantly to elevate Tens to the next level. Currently our strongest market is here in the UK, but we see huge potential globally and look forward to this next chapter of growth.

“To think that just two years ago we were hatching a plan in a bedroom in the Scottish Highlands, where – quite frankly – the sun rarely shines, it’s almost too far fetched to believe. But here we are.”