40. GoCardless

An innovative, low-cost way for small businesses to accept direct payments

Founders: Hiroki Takeuchi, Tom Blomfield and Matt Robinson
Founded: January 2011
Website: www.gocardless.com

The GoCardless founders overcame significant regulatory hurdles in order to launch their new type of payment system. Aimed at small businesses – typically excluded from accepting Direct Debits – the co-founders (three Oxford grads) have devised a compelling offering. ‘PayLinks’, a secure link which small firms can e-mail, tweet or add to their website, directs customers to the GoCardless payment system, and for each transaction there is a transparent 1% fee. Growing quickly since launch, more than 1,000 merchants are already on board.

The company, a progeny of Silicon Valley’s famous Y-Combinator accelerator, has also landed $1.5m (aprox. £1m), in a funding round led by Accel Partners (early backers of Facebook). With its simple solution to a very real problem, this is a start-up worth banking on.