Mother-and-daughter team Loral and Eshel Quinn have created a new way of living and giving, thanks to funding and support from Virgin StartUp.
Loral and Eshel Quinn, 47 and 23 respectively, run Edinburgh-based company Sustainably – an app that allows people to donate their spare change to charity automatically, by rounding up to the nearest pound each time they shop.
The mother-and-daughter team received funding from Virgin StartUp to get up and running back in 2015, and went on to be finalists in the Virgin StartUp: Scotland 10 Awards – an event that recognises the 10 most exciting early-stage start-ups in Scotland.
The pair even had a surprise visit at one of their mentoring sessions with Virgin StartUp. Loral was amazed at who it was: “There were lots of people buzzing around, and we thought it was a bit odd that we’d been asked to a hotel for a meeting with a mentor who we were already scheduled to meet later that day – so when Richard Branson turned up, it all made sense.
“Richard had clearly done some research, asked good questions and gave us some great feedback on our product. It was excellent to get access to the mentors in the Virgin StartUp network who helped support from the outset and had skills that aligned with what we needed, and are still keen to help whenever they can today.”
But it didn’t end there. In the summer of 2019, Loral and Eshel were part of the Virgin Atlantic trade mission to LA. On the flight there, Loral met with Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, and now Change Please is one of the approved charities on the Sustainably app. How cool is that? Start-ups helping start-ups!
On the funding received from Virgin StartUp, Loral said: “Receiving Virgin StartUp loans at an early stage in our business enabled us to build and release the first version of our product, which was transformational. The product we created went on to win Best of Show at Finovate in New York, and become a top 10 Virgin StartUp.
with lots of expert advice from the amazing Virgin StartUp team and talented mentors who’ve already created and scaled their own businesses. And obviously, a chance to meet Richard Branson himself is such an amazing opportunity for any entrepreneur to learn fast.”
HOW DOES THE SUSTAINABLY APP WORK?
You simply connect your card to the app, then every time you shop with your card, the app rounds up to nearest pound, giving the change to causes you care about. It launched for Monzo bank customers last year and is going to market soon, connected to 17 UK banks, supporting more good causes.