Hiroki Takeuchi, co-founder, and CEO of GoCardless
In 2011, Hiroki Takeuchi launched his first business GoCardless with his co-founders. Just under one decade later, they are processing over $15b in payments every year!
Takeuchi’s first business began as a service to help streamline the messy process of collecting payments informally. Over the next several years, funding, scaling, and pivoting led him to create a simple service that helped collect recurring and one-off payments from customers.
Takeuchi’s approach to business is inspiring. Not only was he a first-time entrepreneur scaling a global business without experience, but he also knows the pains of imposter syndrome and anxiety over hiring overqualified experts. This interview with Nathan Chan serves to remind us all that greatness isn’t just past experience, it’s the willingness to learn that makes someone a great entrepreneur.
- How Takeuchi launched GoCardless in 2011 as his first business, and how he developed the idea
- Evolving the initial business idea from something that sought to solve the problem of collecting payments informally, to a global fintech empire
- The importance of having a complimentary co-founder, and how Takeuchi first began planning with his co-founders
- Why Takeuchi decided to leverage existing services in order to streamline launch
- Demo day, and overcoming getting 64 “no’s” before they got a “yes”
- The importance of focus on a singular product, especially in a global powerhouse like finances and payment
- How Takeuchi approached scaling, planning, and proactive growth in a high-demand industry
- The challenges faced by an international business and scaling
- How Takeuchi tackles imposter syndrome, and how he continues to focus on learnings
- The importance he places on his team and the people Takeuchi surrounds himself with
- What you need to ignore if you want to hire the best of the best for your business
- Why you should never underestimate the length of the journey ahead of you, and why you need to be ready for the challenge of being an entrepreneur
Full Transcript of Podcast with Hiroki Takeuchi
Nathan: The first question I ask everyone that comes on is how did you get your job?
Hiroki: I guess I don’t know. I don’t really think about it like a job. So, we started GoCardless back in 2011. This was my first startup and it was more driven by this desire to build something new, right? And build somewhere that I was really excited to be working. I never really thought about it like a job, to be honest. This was a business that we started and a journey that we began and that we’re still on at the moment.
Nathan: Yeah, I see. How did you come up with the idea? Because it’s a pretty bold idea.
Hiroki: Yeah, I mean, I always think of it as like a journey of discovery, right? We didn’t wake up one day and say, “Hey, this payment systems are broken.” I mean, we didn’t even know anything about payments before we started the business. We started with a slightly different idea in the early days, and initially the idea that we had was that we, in our own lives, had difficulty collecting payments in more informal situations.
Like being the captain of your local sports team, running a student society, going on holiday with your friends, that kind of thing, right? Where you’re chasing people for money, it’s awkward, if your friend doesn’t pay you, how often do you chase them and remind them? And so we wanted to build something to try and solve that problem, which is obviously a much smaller problem than what we focus on today.
As we were learning about how payment systems worked and how this whole world existed, we realised that there was a much bigger challenge, because what we found was that at the time, the only way to collect payment on the internet was via credit and debit cards, right? And that was never going to work for what we were trying to do for various reasons. And we realised that there was these other systems that existed around the world like direct debit, which were a much better fit for what we wanted to do, but were really hard to get access to, really hard to use.
We’ve been trying to get access to those systems to solve that initial idea. As we realised how hard it was, we realised, “Okay, well actually if we’re having this much difficulty, then maybe others are as well.” That was really where the idea came from, was this sense of, “Okay, well look, depending on what you’re trying to collect payment for, you need a different system,” right? There’s different problems. And we realised there was this class of use cases around recurring payments, subscriptions, collecting payments to your invoices, that kind of thing, where it was an ongoing relationship with your customer and these direct debit systems were an ideal fit for those use cases, but people weren’t using them as much as they could or should because of problems that existed in the market. Those are the problems that we solve.
Nathan: I see. So, did you start GoCardless with another co-founder or group of founders?
Hiroki: Yeah, there was three of us that started the company. Matt, Tom, and myself were the founders of the company.
Nathan: And how did you guys meet?
Hiroki: So, Matt and myself, we met on our first jobs out of university. We met on the first day of the first job, and we … I remember actually the first conversation I ever had with him was actually about building companies and startups and we had this argument where I was really of the strongly …… that you had to have a co-founder, right? Like, it’s super important. I think that came from the experience that I’d had interning at startups in Silicon Valley before I finished university.
I was exposed to that whole Y Combinator ethos, I guess. And they really drilled home the importance of the co-founder, and Matt was like, “No, no, no, I don’t need a co-founder. I’ll just start something on my own.” Obviously I ended up winning that argument because we ended up starting a company together, but we’ve spent the two years that we were in that job together, we spent a lot of time just talking about ideas and I think it became quite obvious to us that we were going to start something together through that period.
And then Tom was someone that I knew at university, and he’d actually co-founded one of the businesses that I ended up interning at before I finished university. And he actually ended up leaving that business because the company moved to Silicon Valley, and he was still doing his degree, right? He was like, “I’m not going to quit my degree to do this.” I met him through that and then as we were thinking of starting a business, we got reconnected with Tom and the timing worked out quite well because he’d just quit his job, and he had this kind of [inaudible 00:09:09], “Why don’t we just do something and see what happens?” And then yeah, he never went to the second job.
Nathan: Yeah, look, FinTech is an expensive business to get into, and usually requires VCs. So, to create the MVP, trying to solve the original problem that you spoke about, did you guys raise any capital to build that MVP?
Hiroki: No. I mean, the first product that we built was very, very slimline, right? Obviously the initial idea was around helping informal groups to collect payments. What we did was we built this UI layer on top of my own personal PayPal account. I mean, it wasn’t the most legal setup in the world because people were paying me and then I was transferring the money into my bank account and sending it on to the end receiver.
That got shutdown pretty quickly by PayPal. Their fraud algorithms are better than you’d think. We just built this really simple version on top of my PayPal account and got a few friends using it, right? We wanted to build something really quickly, right? We didn’t want to spend months and months trying to get regulatory approvals and banking licences, and all this kind of stuff. We just wanted to be able to see, “Okay, how does this payment work?” It took like two weeks to build this UI, and then once PayPal obviously said, “Well look, you can’t do this” but then they gave us access to their partner APIs and we were able to build something on top of them.
We were able to leverage what already existed to start enabling people to collect payments, and we initially were very much just focused on that software layer where obviously you can move a lot faster. And then once we got going with that, that was when we started looking at, “Okay, well how do we get access to the payment infrastructure ourselves?” And we started learning more about the different ways you can collect payments and the different systems that exist out of there. We started looking at all the regulatory approvals that you need to actually handle the money yourself and all of that kind of stuff.
That was when we started to look at raising money, as well, because obviously that does cost money. But actually the initial money that we raised was through the Y Combinator programme where we went out to Silicon Valley for about three or four months and went through that programme, and there’s a small amount of capital associated with that. And I think what we realised is that you can go a long way without all that much money, right? Even things like getting regulated, I mean, we just applied ourselves. We literally filled in the forms ourselves, we talked to the regulators ourselves, and we ended up in a position, and I think the UK have done a good job on this from a regulatory point of view.
They basically said, “Look, yeah, we’re happy to regulate you. You’re going to need some cash, so we’re not going to be able to give you the approval until you’ve got that cash, but as soon as you do, you can get going,” right? That helped us a lot, and I think that you need to be I guess a bit creative in how you get going, when it comes to FinTech. Because as you said, there are a lot of just hurdles that you need to jump over to get started.
Nathan: Yeah. No, for sure. Okay, interesting. So, you went through Y Combinator, what was that experience like? How much did you raise on demo day?
Hiroki: Yeah, I mean, it was an amazing experience. I’d obviously experienced it not directly, but indirectly when I interned at a company that was going through the programme back in 2007. I was always super excited about that programme, and when we did it, it was an amazing experience. Because especially compared to Europe and London, where we were from, when we first started the business there was no real startup ecosystem, right?
When we quit our jobs to start something, most of our friends just thought we were unemployed. And so it was quite a big difference between that and going over to Silicon Valley, going and learning from all of these amazing people that had got some, just these experiences that were so far removed from anything that existed in Europe. We learned a lot about the fundamentals of how to start a business and how to think about technology startups.
And then when it came to demo day, I mean, I think nowadays maybe it’s a bit different but when we were going through the programme, I think there’s this misconception that you go to demo day, you go and give your pitch and then all of a sudden everyone gives you money. Some companies that’s definitely true for, right? But that was certainly not our experience and after demo day, I mean, that was definitely the hardest fundraise that we did, where I think we had something like 64 nos before we go out first yes for investment. A lot of rejection and a lot of pitching, but it was a great place to build those connections and get those opportunities to go and have follow-on conversations with investors.
It ended up working out quite well because we ended up raising about one and a half million dollars in the end, after demo day. It was a hard slog, but we got there in the end.
Nathan: That’s awesome. And then you come back to the UK with your co-founders?
Hiroki: Yeah, exactly. Yep. For us, it was always given what we wanted to build, we always felt that Europe was going to be the place that it made sense to start. We came back to London, yeah.
Nathan: Gotcha. And that’s when like I was going to say, the real hard work started.
Hiroki: Well, I mean, I think … I don’t think it really changed much. Because we were building a product before YC, and whilst we were at YC. I mean, the think that maybe sometimes, there’s a confusion between investment and success, or [inaudible 00:15:51]. The reality is that the investment, if anything, it’s an enabler, right? We will have money in the bank so we could go hire people and so in some senses that’s where it started, but actually the hard work starts way before the investment.
Nathan: Yeah, no, that makes sense. So, I’m curious what happened next? At what stage did you guys begin to pivot into looking at the recurring side of things and handling subscriptions, more a B2B play instead of the direct-to-consumer … Well, the consumer type play.
Hiroki: Well, that happened whilst we were at YC, right? While we were going through YC, we realised that the problem we were trying to solve in order to enable the more consumer oriented group payments product that we started with was a much bigger problem than the group payments problem, right? And so that’s when we I guess pivoted to say, “Okay look, rather than trying to just help these sort of small subset of the world to collect payments in these informal groups or situations, what if we just make it a more general layer that enables anyone that wants to get access to it to collect payments this way?”
That was the pivot that we made, and when we made that pivot, we got quite lucky be we were introduced to a guy called Dwayne who ran a company called Cash Flow, and Cash Flow was like … It was an accounting software package in the UK, kind of like Xero, but not as big and successful as Xero. But successful in its own way. We’ve had like 25,000 small businesses using it in the UK, and we got introduced to him. The lucky thing was he was looking for exactly what we were building when we got introduced to him, right?
And so he was like … And this is before we’d actually even built the product, right? He took a bet on us and said, “Look, I’m going to work with you guys. I’m not going to bother with any of these other meetings [inaudible 00:18:11] that I’ve got lined up. I believe in you. Let’s do this together.” That’s where we first started this fresh idea which is the genesis of GoCardless, and this is where we seeded the initial volume. In the early days, we found what was interesting was that we started with the problem, not with the customer, right?
What happened was that as we were launching we were just getting more and more customers to use our platform to collect payments, and it always felt like there was … We couldn’t keep up with who was using it. I mean, the first payment we ever collected was for a skip hire company. It was like a really random thing. We’d never thought about that. And as we were growing, we were just seeing all these different types of businesses using our platform. It was only after maybe 2-3 years after we launched where we took a step back and said, “Okay, well what’s everyone got in common here? What are we doing?”
I think what we realised was that the thing that everyone had in common was that they had this ongoing relationship with their customers and they were struggling to get paid, right? They were spending a lot of time and effort to try and get paid via their customers, and that was time and effort that was taking away from their ability to focus on what they were actually excited about, which was building great products, offering great services. No one gets into business because they’re excited about chasing the customers for payment, right?
We realised that was the thing that strung it all together, and we started to become clearer in our focus around this recurring payments market, and the type of businesses that we work with. It was definitely a journey.
Nathan: More and more now we are seeing the rise of FinTech, like massive, massive, massive rise of FinTech. There’s a lot of FinTech startups out there, and I was thinking about it myself, when COVID hit, for me personally the first thing that we did was we looked at all of our expenses, and we’re just like, “Okay, what are all the costs?” And we spend a lot of money on SaaS tools every single month, and there was one that I realised was our most expensive, a SaaS tool that we’re paying for every single month but I didn’t realise it because the money was being collected before it even hit our bank account, and that was Stripe. Like, the amount of money we spend on Stripe is insane, and the penny dropped for me because like, “Wow, that’s insane. To be able to facilitate and help a business survive like that, it’s a really strong way to provide value.”
So, I’d love to hear from you and your take around I guess the FinTech industry. Because it is ripe for disruption right now, with everything that’s going on.
Hiroki: I mean, it’s a trend, right? That’s been going on for a while and ……. Obviously when we started the business, FinTech wasn’t really a term that anyone used, right? It wasn’t like we thought, “Oh, we’ll start a FinTech company.” I think what is common amongst all FinTech companies, though, is that financial services is a really big industry. The movement of money, everything to do with money. They’re just absolutely massive, massive industries and they power so much of the economy. I think the interesting thing about it is that so much of that was consolidated amongst the banks, right? Initially, and over the past 50 years.
But when you think about each of those services within financial services, they’re very different, right? Lending, payments, insurance, all of these things, there’s not really that much that ties them together other than the fact that they’re related to money. I think that what’s interesting is that with FinTech as an industry, you’ve got a really fundamental different way of thinking about it, which is less about one business that then just offers everything, but more focused, right?
It’s like, okay, we’re going to do payments, and we’re going to do recurring payments. Or, you’ll have another business that’s just doing insurance, and all they do is insurance, or like TransferWise doing FX and all they do is FX. I think it’s that focus that enables us to create much better products, right? I mean, if you’re a bank and you’re offering 50 different financial services, how can you expect any of them to be really great? It’s impossible to create that many products really, really well.
And so I think it’s that focus that’s interesting, and I think that’s come at the same time, consumers and businesses becoming increasingly comfortable operating more and more on the internet, right? I just think about my own mom. My mom would have never bought anything online 5-10 years ago. She thought it was the devil or something and people would just rob her blind. But now everyone feels comfortable. People are feeling more and more comfortable, and I think that we’re seeing this acceleration with COVID, as well, right?
Where online spending is becoming a much bigger proportion of the overall spend of the economy, and so as people feel more comfortable conducting their lives online, they’re also more comfortable consuming their financial services online. These two things have happened at the same time and I think that’s what’s really creating this trend around FinTech.
Nathan: I’m curious, you come back to the UK and you raised I think you said over a million dollars, and yeah, what was next?
Hiroki: Building the product. We were just building it as we were raising that money, and we just launched the first version of it just before we raised the initial capital after YC. And so then it’s super simple, right? It’s like how do we grow? How do we get customers to use our product? We were quite lucky in that we had obviously struck onto this demand that existed that we weren’t actually fully aware of at the time, right?
We didn’t realise just how big the market was and we didn’t realise how strong the demand was. We were in a lucky position in those early days where it was less about how do we grow proactively, and more how do you keep up with the growth? When you’re getting more and more customers using the platform every month, and those early days we were growing like 30-40% every month and we weren’t doing any sales, we weren’t doing any marketing. It was all just basically through word of mouth and through partnerships with companies like Cash Flow.
It was more about, “Okay, well how do we make sure that the product that we’ve built serves the needs of all of these customers?” And learning from them and listening to them, and then obviously as we continued to grow and get bigger, then it started to become a bit more, “Okay, well how do you proactively grow?” You can’t just grow by surprise every month, right? You have to start doing sales, you have to start doing marketing in order to maintain that growth rate and keep it up.
It then starts to become more about, “Okay, how do we understand all of these customers that are using us and what have they got in common? How do we get more of them? How do we find them?” But that was probably a little bit later on. In those early days, it was really about understanding who it was that we were serving, and making sure that we were creating a really great product that they loved.
Nathan: From reading online, it says that GoCardless now processes, I assume a lot more, this was in autumn, 2019, processes 13 billion in transactions a year, has brands like DocuSign, TripAdvisor, The Guardian, and you have over 50,000 customers.
Nathan: Would you be able to give us an idea of just post-COVID, around scale, or?
Hiroki: Yeah, look, we’ve continued to grow. I don’t know what the currency is that you’re talking about there, but …… about … Hang on. Close to $20 billion in volume a year, and working with somewhere just over 55,000 businesses a month. Probably getting close to 60,000 now. Obviously COVID has been an interesting period because a lot of the businesses that we serve. They’ve had to stop trading. We work with a lot of gyms, we work with a lot of membership organisations, a lot of physical world businesses which have been affected by COVID.
But at the same time we also work with a lot of digital businesses and we’ve seen more and more demand from them, and so it’s been definitely a challenging period but one where overall we’ve still managed to be able to grow through it.
Nathan: That’s awesome. I’m curious, do you guys just have offices in the UK or you guys have offices at other places, as well?
Hiroki: Yeah, yeah. We have an office in Melbourne. We have an office in a couple of the European markets and France and in Germany, and then we’ve also got an office in San Francisco, as well. That’s something that over the last couple of years, we’ve been investing in quite a bit more, is growing internationally.
Nathan: So what are your biggest challenges right now in terms of scale?
Hiroki: I think it’s for us, the big challenge is going from a company that has been based in the UK and having one office in London where everyone sits together, to becoming an increasingly international business, with offices around the world. How do we maintain that connectivity and community in the organisation as we do that, right? There’s lots of things that you start having to change the way that you work and that’s definitely being accelerated due to COVID where in the past you could just really on the fact that you all work in the same office and you see each other every day to make things happen.
All of a sudden when you’ve got colleagues in Melbourne who are literally on the other side of the world from you, how do you make sure that you’re communicating effectively? How do you make sure that everyone can make decisions quickly? How can you empower your people that are in offices in different places to really do amazing work? So, I think it’s that transition that we’ve been going through over the last couple of years. I think we’ve got a little better at it, but there’s definitely still things that we could do better still.
Nathan: Yeah, look, I think it’s been a challenge for all companies. I’m curious, when you set up these offices, what are some of the things that you’re doing to make sure culture spreads?
Hiroki: Yeah. I mean, there’s a few things. As much as possible, we try and encourage people from London to move to those offices, right? We take our best people and people that we feel really embody the culture of the organisation and we give them the opportunity to move. And either temporarily, but in the case of Australia, no one ever seems to want to come back, so giving the people opportunity to go and move over and embed themselves in the culture. And that’s super valuable.
Not just in giving people the opportunity to take on new challenges, but also when you’re starting to build the team locally, then they have this connection with people that really understand the business and have all of these contacts within the business, and help them to navigate things. That’s one thing that we definitely do. The other thing is that whoever we hire, and obviously this isn’t something that we have been able to do because of COVID, but can’t wait until we can again, is we make sure that everyone comes and spends time in London, in our headquarters.
They onboard here, and they get a sense of the culture and are able to meet their colleagues. I think that’s the second thing is making sure that everyone has that chance, and the third is obviously the leaders that you hire into those countries. They have to spend a lot of time making sure that you hire people to you believe really are a good fit for the company. Not just from the perspective of their ability to do a good job, but also in terms of the values of the organisation and the culture and that’s super, super critical.
And then finally, and again one that we’ve not been able to do as much because of COVID is travelling to those offices, as well. I came over to Australia last year, spent a couple of weeks with the team over there and it was fantastic. I’m really disappointed I can’t do that again this year, but hopefully next year I can again.
Nathan: Yeah, no, awesome. That makes sense. I think that’s really smart. Especially the first one around getting people to relocate that are from the London office. I’m curious, when you do do the onboarding, how much time do you spend with … Like, how much time do you have that person in your office, like a new employee for the onboarding?
Hiroki: Yeah, for people that have come from another office, or that are based in another office, we usually do two weeks.
Nathan: All right, awesome. I’d love to ask you as a founder, I was reading an article, just some research, that still even with all the success that you guys have had, sometimes you feel impostor syndrome. I’d love to, I don’t know, do you remember writing that article?
Hiroki: No, I have no recollection. But it sounds familiar. No, I mean, I think obviously for me this is like the first startup that I’ve started. This is my first run around, right? And also we started the business quite early, right? In our careers. So, I think I was 23 or maybe 24 when we first started the business. It’s not like we had long careers before we started, right? So, me, the thing I always tell everyone is I’m the least experienced person in the business, right?
Every point in our journey and of our scale, I’ve never managed a team of that size. I’ve never even managed anyone before I started GoCardless. So, there’s definitely a lot of learning on the job and I think that sort of lack of experience always makes you feel a little bit on edge, because you’re like, “Okay, do I know what I’m doing here? Am I the right person to be leading this?” You have to have that confidence, I guess, but you also have to have that hunger to learn and adapt. Because every year I look back and I think, “Okay, wow. Me a year ago didn’t really know much,” you know? But I see that as a good thing. It means that I’m learning.
I mean, I’m not sure impostor syndrome is the right word for it. I think it’s more just this being honest with yourself about not knowing all the answers and not having the experience, and making sure that you find the people that do have the experiences and you can learn from. And then I think also having a sense of even though I’m not that experienced, what can I bring to the table? How can I contribute? Having the confidence that those things that you bring are going to be valuable and help the business to grow.
You do a lot of soul searching through that journey. There’s definitely been moments where I’ve felt like an impostor.
Nathan: Thank you for being honest. Because I think yeah, it is tricky. I’m criteria, you talked about finding the right people to get the experiences from that you can learn from. I think that’s a really key thing. As a founder, as a CEO, as your company grows, you need to be able to constantly be skilling up, because that is the reflection, it is a big part of the reflection of the growth of the company, right? So, where do you go to learn from others and gain those experiences? Do you have an advisory board?
Hiroki: I mean, I think for me the number one, the most important, especially as you scale, is the people that you hire. That’s where I learn the most, is from the people that we hire. I mean, obviously having advisors, external advisors and coaches and that kind of … They’re super valuable, right? I’m not taking anything away from that, but at the end of the day it’s the people that you hire and the people that work for your business that you’re going to spend 90% of your time with, and they’re going to be the people that are critical to the success of your business. It’s about finding those people and persuading them to join, even though they’ve got far more experience and are far more capable than you. That to me is the biggest and most important priority.
Nathan: When it comes to finding great people, because yeah, I agree, it is critical if you want to scale, you need to find the best possible people and the better the people it easier it is to continue growth, and there’s certain levels that people come on certain levels of the journey. Is there anything that you could share around that idea of finding great people to help you scale?
Hiroki: Yeah, I mean I think it’s like you said, at different points of the journey, there’s different skillsets and different experiences that are really important and valuable. It’s about identifying those at different stages, right? If you go and bring in someone that’s got this amazing experience of scaling businesses, at the very early days, they’re probably not going to be the right people, right?
Because these are people that are really good at taking something that’s small and growing it really big, right? But in the early days, it’s not so much about growing it really big, it’s about finding what’s that product that your customers are going to really love? That’s a different skill, a different challenge, and so I think you have to be conscious of what kind of experience and what kind of skills are needed for this stage of the journey and the next 18 months? And that definitely changes over time.
And so that kind of changes, but I think the thing that doesn’t change, and the pattern I’ve definitely noticed, is that when you find people that are going to really change the trajectory of your business, the pattern I’ve noticed at least is you always feel quite uncomfortable about hiring them, right? It’s kind of scary. You’re like, “Okay.”
Hiroki: Because it’s intimidating, right? If you’re hiring someone that’s truly better than you, then you’re going to realise it, right? You’re going to know it, deep down. Or at least I’ve found that quite … There’s an aspect of that that’s a little bit scary, but you have to face up to your own inadequacies, right? You have to realise, “Okay, well this person’s way better than me at this.” Which is kind of also saying, “I’m not very good at this,” right?
There’s an element of, “Okay, well, if this person joins, are they going to realise that I’m not that good at this, and are they going to freak out and leave? Will I be able to keep up with the demands as we go through this next phase of the journey?” All these kind of questions that come to your mind, right? That can make you feel quite uncomfortable I think, or at least it has made me feel uncomfortable in the past. That I use as definitely almost like a spidey sense now where I’m like, okay, if I’m feeling really uncomfortable about the idea of hiring someone, because of how it makes me feel internally, then that’s usually quite a good sign that this is someone that’s going to be really, really good.
Because they’re pushing me beyond my comfort zone and that I think is the thing that has always been quite common in the people that we’ve hired that have made the biggest impact.
Nathan: Yeah. That’s a really good distinction. I was thinking I’ve had that before, where we’ve hired people where they’re just incredible. We have a really strong team, but yeah, there definitely are some people where it’s kind of intimidating and you’re kind of like-
Hiroki: Yeah, exactly.
Nathan: … “Oh, will we be able to give everything enough to keep that person challenged?” Or, “They’re probably not as big-
Nathan: “We’re probably not as big as they think.” Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Hiroki: That’s kind of what I mean. You hire people and they’re like, they’re talking about all these things and you’re like, “We’re nowhere near that yet.” But they’re the people that are going to take you from where you are today to that reality. They’re going to make those dreams a reality, and those might be things that you think are impossible, right? Things that you don’t think are achievable, and that stuff’s scary, right? But then also if you don’t take that gamble and that leap, then you’ll never get there, right? I’ve learned to try and embrace that discomfort.
Nathan: That’s a cool insight. Thank you for sharing, Hiroki. So, well look, we have to work towards wrapping up, I’m mindful of your time. Is there anything that you would like to share about your journey with GoCardless that I haven’t asked you about, or any valuable advice, or anything that you would like to share?
Hiroki: No, I mean, obviously like you said, the audience is about, are people that are early on in their journeys, or maybe considering getting into startups. I mean, the one thing I would say is that the journey is long, right? Don’t underestimate the length of the journey. We’re nearly 10 years in and it doesn’t even feel close to the end. I think for me, glad that I’ve done it. I wouldn’t have done anything else in the world, but just be cognizant of that, right? Be conscious of what you’re getting into, and be ready for it.
If you’re up for the challenge and the journey of how long it’s going to be, then it can be the most rewarding thing that you do, but it’s also going to be one of the hardest and the most emotionally draining things that you can do, as well. I think that’s probably the main other thing that I would just emphasise.
Nathan: Yeah. Look, that’s definitely a recurring theme that we do here. Thank you for sharing, and what’s next for you guys?
Hiroki: Continuing to grow the business. Obviously we’re still relatively early on in our journeys into new markets and those are ones that I’m really enjoying and really excited about. I’m looking forward to coming and spending more time in Australia with the team over in Melbourne. We’re working with lots and lots of new customers in Australia and around the world, and that for me is the big focus, is continuing on that path to a more global business.
Nathan: Awesome. That’s exciting. So, last question is where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself and GoCardless?
Hiroki: You can go to our website, GoCardless.com, and then we’re also quite active on Twitter.
Nathan: All right. Awesome. Well, yeah, we can wrap there. Thank you so much for your time. That was an awesome interview and-
Hiroki: Good stuff.
Nathan: … I appreciate your honesty.
Hiroki: That’s cool. No, it’s great to chat, Nathan, and look forward to seeing the episode.