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GearedApp, an app development company, had a full order book when the coronavirus crisis hit. But as the days of lockdown turned into weeks, the founders decided to plan ahead for a potential drop in work. "We’ve got a lot of work on now, booked back in January or February, but we could see a really big impact on our business from September onwards. People are scared to spend and some projects are falling through," says Lara, one of three co-founders.

The team decided to apply for a loan with Starling through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), to act as a safety net for their business in the coming months. "The loan application was a really smooth process for us and another example of why we’re happy that we switched to Starling."

Business beginnings

GearedApp began when three post-graduate students pulled together for a group project. "We built a mobile app for the Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team. When we showed it to them, they managed to find funding so that we could continue building it," says Lara, 30.

The Edinburgh Capitals app became the first of many that Lara, Andrzej and Josh (pictured above) developed together. Between them, they covered all the bases: Lara on business and project management, Andrzej on technology and Josh on design and marketing. They now employ ten others, all based in Edinburgh. "We called ourselves GearedApp because we geared each other up."

GearedApp is part of Tech for Good, a community that uses technology to make positive change. "We built an app for Good Food Talks that helps people who are visually impaired - it uses audio to read menus and has different colours and fonts to make it easier." The team has also worked with the NHS on an app to help medical staff to assess how successful a liver transplant would be for their patients.

Running a business remotely in lockdown

When lockdown started, the team came up with ways to support each other and stay motivated. "We’ve got a #PatOnTheBack channel in Slack to give a bit of praise, we have daily catch-ups and regular one-to-ones to make sure that there aren’t issues with wellbeing," she says.

Even though GearedApp has always had flexible working hours and an option to work from home, Lara feels that remote working could become an embedded part of the company. "It falls into the general flexibility of wanting people to have a good work-life balance. I can’t imagine that we’ll go back to the standard 9am-5pm in the office even when we’re able to."

Managing cash flow as a technology company

GearedApp has used Starling to manage its business finances since January 2020. "We really liked the look of Starling with its app, online dashboard and overdraft facility," she says.

"As an app development company, we rely on payments from clients for our cash flow and business continuity. We always try to build up our own buffer of savings but we wanted that extra resilience from accessible credit." Their Starling overdraft was secured within ten days of applying for a business account and their CBILS loan was processed within a week.

Lara smiles in a headshot
Lara Findlay, co-founder of GearedApp

Promoting Women in Tech

Within the UK tech sector, women account for 16.8% of workers, according to the Office for National Statistics. "We’re big advocates of more women getting into tech," says Lara.

Technology has never been more important for keeping people connected and providing solutions. For Lara, examples include the symptom tracker app for the coronavirus, and stay at home festivals. "I play the fiddle and people have set up live slots to see different musicians play," she says. "People are using tools in a very different way right now. Women can be at the heart of this change."

To find out more, have a look at the GearedApp website.

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