UCL Innovation and Enterprise


Jo Goodson: Unstoppable

16 October 2012

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Entrepreneurship Guest Lectures
Jo Goodson never wanted to become an entrepreneur- until she discovered she was one. After studying French and German at Bristol University, she became a dancer, did marketing for Broadway musicals, worked in TV companies and multimedia for a few years and found the best business partner, in her words, she could have ever asked for, Andy.

She became CEO of Ariadne group, she was an Angel investor and, recently, the founder of Any Friend Of Ours. This is Jo’s story in a nutshell: “I’ve always been an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know it”.

Jo took her first steps following the corporate route. It was like “setting up a start-up, but with lots of background”. She benefited from the networking opportunities and market knowledge she gained, the incredible travels which made her career a dream-like experience. And a dream it was, one which lasted twelve months: it was time for Jo “to set up my own thing”. With her partner, now the Head of Entrepreneurship at Munich University, Jo built her first start ups, amongst them MediaGold. Jo felt, for the first time, the “best feeling ever”: the control of her own destiny, the freedom of decision involved.

It was hard work and less glamour, but constant buzz. With regards to funding methods, Jo mentions an interesting and often under-estimated way of making money when entering the entrepreneurial field: via the “technology strategy board”, which allows equity not to be given away. Jo-Entrepreneur led to Jo-Angel Investor. At this point, unstoppable, she became a Non-Executive Director of Six to Start, which recently released the iPhone app “Zombies, Run!”.

Any Friend Of Ours is an online private membership community. It targets second home owners wishing to rent their properties within a trusted network of people- family, friends, friends of friends and family, for instance. It is Jo’s most recent project, which has the potential to enter a very niche market. At present, Any Friend Of Ours aims to secure partnerships with bigger companies and communities, such as Home House, offering –for example- free memberships to members of such communities. This nes business is slow growing: a “moment of calm” Jo seems to be taking, after her past roller-coaster years. Jo goes surely, even when she decides, for once, to go slowly.

Written by Carolina Mostert

The UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lectures are organised by UCL Advances which is affiliated to UCL Enterprise