Secret Leaders

Secret Leaders ∙ Tuesday June 30, 2020 ∙ duration: 55:13

GoCardless: Finding The Hockey Stick Growth Curve

If you’ve ever wondered how entrepreneurs without a specific idea go on to found a unicorn startup from their bedrooms, then this episode of Secret Leaders is for you. 

“One of the things that really strikes me that's changed over the course of the last 10 years is the level of awareness of what's possible. When we decided to start GoCardless, most of our friends just thought we were unemployed and couldn't get a job.”

Today’s guest is one third of the British equivalent of the PayPal mafia, Hiroki Takeuchi, co-founder and CEO of payment giant GoCardless. 

GoCardless is a global payment network taking the pain out of getting paid for more than 50,000 businesses worldwide from multinationals to SMB, processing over $15 billion of payments annually across more than 30 countries.

Hiroki and his fellow co-founders Matt Robinson (who now runs successful property tech startup Nested) and Tom Bloomfield (who has recently stepped aside as CEO of challenger bank giant Monzo) have raised over $120 million across 7 rounds of funding, securing $75 million in their latest series E.

But it’s not been an easy ride. 

“The first round of investment that we raised was definitely the hardest. I think we had something like 64 ‘no’s’ before we got our first ‘yes’.”

Hiroki has been on a real journey, not just professionally, but personally too, having to physically rebuild his body after a horrific cycling accident in 2016 that left him paralysed from the waist down, drastically altering how he manages himself and the business day to day.

We chat about:

  • The hardest part of starting a business
  • The hockey stick growth curve
  • How to mentally prepare to fundraise
  • When co-founders leave the business
  • Choosing a CEO and building a leadership team
  • The future vision for GoCardless


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Secret Leaders is the UK's top business podcast featuring the stories & struggles to success from founders of companies likes Slack, Deliveroo, Calm, Shazam, Jo Malone, & more. It also features some of the investors crazy enough to back them, and group interviews from sold out live events on managing mental health, equality, financing, managing in times of crisis and more. Our new show on Sundays, 'Represented' features Black & minority founders pitching for investment from an investment committee in the model of 'Dragon's Den/Shark Tank to do our part to support the #blacklivesmatter movement. [This description is from Secret Leaders.]

Secret Leaders promises a collection of contrasting, irreverent interviews with the high-flying CEOs and forward-thinking founders of some of the most successful businesses in the UK and the US right now, including Martha Lane Fox (, Anne Boden (Starling Bank), Jed McCaleb (Ripple, Mt.Gox and Stellar) and Jason Calacanis (first Uber investor).

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Latest episode: How Did We Get Here?

Friday July 03, 2020. Duration: 11:40.
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