Behind the Idea Ethical Banking

Behind the Idea: ekko

Sustainability has an ever evolving role to play in the future of fintech. No longer a ‘nice to have’, proving your companies commitment to sustainability within the digital economy has never been more important. 

One company committed to helping people and businesses with their sustainability goals and driving positive change is ekko. ekko’s award-winning technology ensures that every transaction and interaction creates a positive impact on the world around us. ekko has received numerous accolades for its innovative approach to sustainability, including being named the Winner of Best Achievement in Sustainability 2023.

In this instalment of Behind the Idea, co-founder Manish Vara discusses how has worked to build the company from the ground up to created a service which promotes a better future for our planet.

Tell us more about your company and its offering
Manish Vara
Manish Vara, co-founder, ekko

ekko is an award winning fintech platform that offers embedded sustainability for the digital economy. Using our platform, any employer, consumer, or bank in the world can empower their people to become more sustainable with real-time data tracking, which can show an individual which habits are having the most significant impact on the planet.

Users are able to customise their own tangible positive solutions to help them live more sustainable lives, such as preventing plastic bottles from entering our oceans, supporting blue carbon projects or carbon offsetting their spend through planting trees.

What problem was your company set up to solve?

Put simply, we wanted to help people and businesses with their sustainability goals. We want to give millions of businesses and individuals the opportunity to change their habits, or make more sustainable choices, in a quick and simple way. One tap at a time.

Now, we’re empowering businesses to give back the benefit of sustainable living too, because saving the planet is everyone’s business.

Since launch, how has your company evolved?

Our first product to market back in 2021 was our consumer debit card, which uses our technology and positive reinforcement to help motivate people to make small changes with big impacts. This was a huge success, and the feedback we received pushed us to venture into the realms of business services and banking APIs too. In 2023, we’ve accelerated our product set so that every employer, bank, payment provider, or customer can use our technology to make an impact.

What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?

We built ekko during the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst holding down other permanent jobs. As a team, we’re focused on capital efficiency so doing this meant we could build the product without material overheads. Upon reflection, I think it was a great decision but balancing multiple high pressure jobs alongside having a family is tough. Fortunately, we have a team of four experienced founding members with different skill sets, which balanced everything out.

What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?

Winning industry awards, such as the Card and Payments Award for Best Achievement in Sustainability, are always proud moments for us, but of course the first revenue flows were great achievements too. On a human level, I was especially proud when my family and friends started using our technology themselves. This was when it all started to feel very real.

How would you describe the culture of your company?

Collaborative and positive. As a member of the ekko team, everyone has a voice and can contribute towards the next phase for the business. Working together is a culture I’ve always strived to achieve when working within different organisations, but this particularly resonates with ekko as we built the team remotely during the pandemic. Collaborative working is deeply embedded into our culture, and this is extremely beneficial amongst the variety of skill sets within our team.

What’s in store for the future?

With our platform opened up to employers, business, banks, and card issuers, the next 6-12 months are looking exciting. We hope to scale our business, continue to balance commercial revenue with growth, and get closer to our ambition of helping millions of consumers and businesses around the world take on climate change. 


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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