Sir Richard Branson names Edinburgh fintech as start-up of 2019

Sir Richard Branson has named Scottish fintech Sustainably as his start-up of the year.

Loral Quinn founded Edinburgh fintech Sustainably with her daughter Eishel. Picture: Contributed
Loral Quinn founded Edinburgh fintech Sustainably with her daughter Eishel. Picture: Contributed

The Edinburgh-based start-up encourages customers to have a positive social impact by rounding up their cashless transactions and donating “spare change” automatically every time they shop, distributing micro-donations to their chosen good causes.

Branson’s accolade continues the relationship between his Virgin empire and Sustainably, after his entrepreneurial support organisation Virgin Startup provided funding to the fledgling fintech in 2017.

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The announcement caps a significant year for Sustainably, with highlights including winning WeWork’s Creator Awards and being selected as one of 15 finalists to participate in Nesta Challenges’ Open Up 2020 Challenge.

Sir Richard Branson hailed 'real growth' by start-ups such as Sustainably as encouraging. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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.”

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Sustainbly has doubled from four to eight staff this year and now has two offices in Edinburgh and London, with plans to double in size again next year.

Since launching with a successful beta app for Monzo bank customers, Sustainably has now connected to 13 UK banks and is available to 95 per cent of the country’s population. The fintech also plans to connect to all high street banks and challenger banks.

Loral Quinn, who founded Sustainably with her daughter Eishel and is also chief executive, 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.”