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In 2011, the founders of GoCardless, Hiroki Takeuchi, Tom Blomfield and Matt Robinson, noticed that small businesses were having problems managing cash flow, largely due to late-paying clients. GoCardless saw an opportunity to solve this problem with an automated payment solution that would allow business owners to get paid on time, every time via Direct Debit.

GoCardless used technology to simplify the previously complicated Direct Debit system, providing easy online setup, customer and payments management, a simple fee structure and integrations into major accounting and billing software packages. In addition, the GoCardless API is a core feature of the company’s offering, allowing businesses to integrate the technology into their own applications.

“Many of the traditional Direct Debit providers in the UK can be inflexible, slow, clunky and difficult to use,” explains Nicola Anderson, VP Marketing at London-based GoCardless.

“Our focus has been to simplify Direct Debit and open it up to companies who couldn’t previously use it. Our technology is used by a huge range of organisations, from small and fast-growing business to larger institutions that want to reduce admin and overheads while improving customer retention and experience. The technology has been rapidly adopted by companies ranging from bookkeepers and freelance web designers to larger organisations such as Thomas Cook, the Financial Times, and the UK Government.”

GoCardless currently serves more than 20,000 businesses across Europe, with further international expansion planned in coming years. In 2015, GoCardless expanded to take payments across the Eurozone (via SEPA), so that businesses can easily collect payments across Europe. This represents another step closer to the GoCardless vision of creating a new global payments network.

Reflecting in the wake of the Brexit vote, Nicola is hopeful that, given the importance of the financial services sector to the UK, an agreement will be reached with the EU so that companies such as GoCardless can still passport into Europe. Although this is the outcome that GoCardless will be lobbying for, the company is also looking at possible ways to continue serving its customers in case that does not happen. One such alternative could see GoCardless becoming a regulated entity in another EU member state. GoCardless remains committed to expansion in Europe, and sees this outcome as an opportunity to turn further towards European markets.

Another central part of GoCardless’ success has been down to its hugely talented workforce and its trusting, collaborative and open culture.

“As soon as you start working here you’re given the freedom to work flexibly, and the trust to do it well,” Nicola explains. “We care immensely about enabling people to produce work that they’re proud of, rather than checking what time they walk into the office. We want to do exceptional work, and to enable this, we need to give people the environment to achieve it. That doesn't just mean sorting out the office aesthetics, but also having a culture that lets people learn and develop in the best way for them, giving them autonomy, ownership and a sense of purpose.”

GoCardless is excited about continuing to expand both domestically and internationally over the next few years. Their vision is to make payments one less barrier to doing business, with anyone, anywhere in the world.