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10 Things You Didn't Know about Sonder CEO Francis Davidson

Francis Davidson

Sometimes moving away from home or a familiar place of residence brings about homesickness. This is quite common among people who are moving away to college, new cities or taking vacations. Sonder is there to ease that feeling. The company provides Sonders ( apartments, villas, and condos) that are not only serviced to the levels of hotels, but also located within your preferable environment and location. The sonders are customized with suitable furniture and essentials to give them a homely feeling. Depending on your needs or preference you can select one at any location you deem fit. Sonders are considered an answered prayer to people who would like to feel at home, away from home. The man behind them is Francis Davidson, founder and current CEO of Sonder. If curious to know more about him, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know.

1. His Education

He undertook a Bachelor of Arts degree course in Economics, philosophy at the MC Grill university based in Montreal. However, he wasn’t able to graduate as the entrepreneur spirit got the better part of him. Before he dropped out, Francis had to only 6 remaining credits to his graduation.

2. He Founded Sonder Based on Personal Experience

Francis was only 19 and still a student at the McGill University in Montreal when he founded now know as Sonder. During one summer, he took a job away from the University, and decided to sublet his apartment. To his surprise, he earned a profit from it. He was then motivated to test the waters more by renting various apartments then sub-letting them. In that year alone he ended up making $53,000 on a $23,000 rent. Seeing that the idea worked, he introduced it to his college friend Lucas Pellan and together they built a website to match vacant student apartments with travelers. The business turned out so well such that they dropped out of university and fully ventured into it. They have since hired new employees and turned the company into what it is today.

3. He is Loved by His Employees

‘Everyone can Lead, but not everyone can be a leader’. – King Golo According to comparably, Francis’ 108 employees think very highly of him and have scored him a performance rate score of 93%. He is especially liked by employees in the finance department and those who’ve worked in the company longer. However, new entrants think that there a few areas where he is lacking and should work on. In comparison to other CEO’s of companies nearby and also those running similar-sized companies, Francis emerged in the top 5%. Compared to close Sonder’s competitors, Francis scored 93%, Mark Hoplomazian of Hyatt scored 85%, Brian Chesky of Airbnb scored 78%, Arne Sorenson of Marriott scored 76% and Christopher Nassetta of Hilton scored 74%.

4. He is a Motivational Business Speaker

Apart from Sonder, Francis also dedicates his time to speaking in conferences among other platforms where he conveys his experience and knowledge in the business world. Francis believes that mentorship plays an important role in shaping business leaders. Back in his campus days, he had entered Flatbook.Io into the McGill Dobson Cup Startup Competition. Though it did not win, the company caught the attention of Tim Tokarsky, BSc ’99, a Dobson Cup judge and co-founder of the McGill X-1 Accelerator, a program aimed at discovering and empowering start-ups. Tim took it upon himself to guide him and mentor him towards growing Flatook.IO into Sonder. Just like he was mentored, he also aims to give back to society by doing the same for budding entrepreneurs. In case you have a forum where you look like him to be a speaker, AAE enables you to do that.

5. His Awards

Forbes is a renowned magazine that focuses on finance, marketing, industry and investing and occasionally it does list worldwide top performers in each of these niches. Francis Davidson has been lucky enough to appear in Forbes 30 under 30 2017’s list, in the Consumer technology sector. Another coveted award he’s taken home was from Entrepreneur of the year, where he was named the best Emerging entrepreneur of 2015. He was also listed by INC. in the 30 under 30 categories, 2019.

6. He is Multi-Lingual

According to his Linkedin Profile Francis can fluently converse in English, French, Italian and German. This skill is considered vital and advantageous in the hospitality industry- where his company is based.

7. His Passions

According to his Twitter page, Francis claims to have a special interest in art, creativity, prediction, culture, hospitality, cities and education - We see sonders embrace most of these concepts. For instance, their designs and furnishing are usually inspired by the culture of the people in the sonders’ location. Francis is also fascinated by philosophy and science.

8. Relationship & Family

Francis is quite a private individual and does not let the media in on his family and private affairs. For this reason, his family is not known. We are also in the dark about his romantic relationships.

9. His Age

As of now, Francis Davidson is 27 years of age.

10. Social Media

The social media is an invaluable tool which helps public figures keep in touch with their followers. Most business-oriented public figures prefer using platforms such as Linked-in and Twitter as they are considered more professional. Francis seems to be of the same mindset, as he likes keeping his followers updated on the latest business trends mostly using his Twitter and Linked-in accounts.


Francis is a remarkable business person. The fact that he grew Sonder from scratch to where it is today is truly commendable. Also, his leadership style and vigor is enviable. Looking at the plans Sonder intends to accomplish in the years to come and considering that he is still young, even greater things are in store for him! You can keep up with him on his social media pages to find out what he is up to.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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