A start-up is using the support from Virgin StartUp to properly scale their business so they can help other organisations track their outcomes better.

Photo of Ailsa Cook and Sarah Morton

Matter of Focus, led by Dr Sarah Morton and Dr Ailsa Cook, is on a mission to transform the way organisations with a social vision use their data and information to learn, drive change and improve.

The Edinburgh-based firm applied for a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to help build their venture to its full potential – and have since been successful in developing innovative software and achieving a prestigious certified status.

Sarah said: “Our Business Gateway advisor suggested we get a business Start Up Loan. We decided to go with Virgin StartUp as they offered a business mentor who helped us with the application, which was really valuable in getting clear about how we would use the money and why. 

“We used the loan to pay for a new member of staff to help us build a proper scalable business infrastructure. Eighteen months on, we are in our own office, we have good finance and HR systems, our intellectual property is properly protected, all of which took time to get in place.”

An intellectual property audit resulted in the company changing its name from Outcome Focus to Matter of Focus. Communications Manager Charlie Mills explains why: “We realised quite early on in our own start-up journey that we needed a new, protectable company name because the term outcome focus is already in use.

“We worked with digital design firm More Yum to come up with a new name and brand identity. They took us through an intense but enjoyable process to really understand what kind of company we are, what we want to communicate and to whom, and what that would mean for our name and branding. At the end we had a greater understanding of ourselves and quite a long list of words that mattered to us. From this, our new name Matter of Focus emerged.

“Matter of Focus feels distinctive. We love the multiple meanings of ‘matter’ – we spend a lot of time asking the organisations we work with to think about what matters to them and the people they care about. Clearly Matter of Focus plays on the words matter of fact - in the complex, relational world we work with you can’t always have facts, but you can always have focus.”

The company’s new software, OutNav, provides organisations with a single secure digital platform for planning, implementation, analysis and reporting on their progress towards outcomes. And recognition has arrived after being one of only 215 UK businesses to be assessed and certified as a registered B Corporation – meaning it meets rigorous and social environmental standards, balancing purpose with profit.

Sarah added: “We are proud and delighted to announce that we have been assessed and certified as a registered B Corporation!

“In Scotland, the concept of outcomes is interwoven with the ongoing drive to reform public services through a focus on efficiency, accountability, partnership, personalisation and co-production.

“Focusing on outcomes helps organisations, projects, funded programmes, services and even governments achieve three things: communicate what is important, learn and improve; and be accountable.”

Find out more about how a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp could help launch and scale your business today.