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Francesca Hodgson is the co-founder and Managing Director of GoodBox. GoodBox a FinTech company dedicated to building new technologies (both software and hardware with contactless donation points) that better connect donors and charity causes.
In her role as Managing Director at GoodBox, Francesca runs the day to day business functions ensuring best practices across all teams and motivating all personnel to excel. Prior to founding GoodBox, Francesca worked at BGC Partners LP, a global broking firm where she headed the department responsible for CSR and the annual charity day. Francesca has worked with UK charities for over a decade with a prior role at World Cancer Research Fund. Francesca holds a BA degree in Graphic Design, Kingston University and is trained in conceptual thinking and problem-solving. She has a passion for philanthropy and is dedicated to making a difference.
Last year in mid-December, Francesca was in San Francisco as part of an initiative with the Lord Mayor of London and other VCs and fintech executives. Their goal is to raise awareness around London's growing fintech industry and bring together investors and tech communities from both tech hubs (London and Silicon Valley) to encourage global collaboration and cross-Atlantic investment.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
As a creative, ideas and problem solving are key passions, and I also thrive in a challenging environment. I would not say I ever consciously choose to be an entrepreneur, I just followed my heart and my passions and the opportunity presented itself when I met my business partner Andrew O’Brien. I feel grateful everyday to be doing something I am passionate about, that has a real mission and value add to our society and for the flexibility to work as I see fit.
What are your favorite startups?
FitBit is the one company I always champion, albeit beyond start up phase now, and Headspace, the mindfulness app. I have a passion for health and fitness and think it is vitally important that you look after yourself in order to be at your most productive and support those around you.
Why did you start your current company?
I have been fortunate to work alongside many wonderful UK charities in a prior corporate role and I started my career working in house for the World Cancer Research Fund. Non-Profit organisations are the backbone of our communities and touch all our lives. Yet in our increasingly cashless society it was evident that there was a clear need to provide the sector with innovation to ensure revenues and reach are sustainable in the digital age. I feel incredibly passionate about technology and the value it can bring to us all.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
Every day has its challenges but that is what makes life exciting. Overcoming challenges is a reward in its own right. It is incredibly fulfilling to work on something you are passionate about and to be able to build a diverse team united by the vision and mission of the company.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
We all make mistakes, many of them. As an entrepreneur you find yourself having to be a master of everything from HR to fundraising. Every journey is different and to get knocked down and not get back up, that would be the number one mistake. Mistakes to me are only an indication that you have to look at another way to achieve a desired outcome.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. There is a wealth of support networks out there that you can access, so network, network, network! Brand, vision and company culture are key in supporting your ambitions.
Tell us about a recent project you've been involved in and why. What excites you about it?
I am incredibly excited about the collaboration with the City of London Corporation and the Lord Mayor, William Russell. It’s phenomenal to be part of the UK FinTech community and better still to have the opportunity to unite with the US on common ground. The support received thus far from the City of London corporation has been invaluable for a company at our phase of growth and pivotal to our global aspirations. I am excited for the year ahead and to see GoodBox grow into a globally trusted brand synonymous with giving and growth philanthropy.
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GoodBox is a pioneering tech-for-good company, founded on the insight that an increasingly cashless society is having a detrimental effect on the charity sector. With charities lagging on average 5 years behind the corporate sector in terms of digital, we are dedicated to bringing the newest and best technology to the sector, from custom-built contactless devices, to analytics software. Since our foundation in 2016, GoodBox has processed millions of pounds of donations for UK based charities, raised over £5m from 700+ investors (including Wimbledon champ Andy Murray), and won a host of awards for our ground-breaking solutions.