Co-founder and COO
James is focussed on product, strategy and marketing alongside the operational side of the business.
He is an Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge where he read mechanical engineering.
James is a member of the UKGBC's Social Value task force.
Having jumped in the deep end right out of university to join the Collective as COO and one of its early employees, I spent the next nearly 3 and a half years pioneering co-living as an alternative way to live, trying to work out this development thing and managing a rapidly growing startup.
With the successful delivery of the world's largest co-living scheme at Old Oak Common done and dusted in the autumn of 2016, a rockstar team of 45, pipeline and funding it was time for the next perspective-granting challenge.
With some sketchy Duolingo Spanish I took a one-way flight to Santiago, Chile, where I set off to find a car that wouldn't break down and would be my home for the next year as I road-tripped north from the bottom of Patagonia, across Andean mountains, active volcanoes, raging flood water, deserts and salt flats.
35,458km, two continents and 367 days later I waved goodbye to my noble steed and set up camp in San Francisco because I was fascinated by the innovation coming out of the valley (and also I'd watched a lot of Californication somewhere near the Bolivian border).
I'd spent and continue to spend a lot of time reading (I'll start a reading list in the blog). At times I was 300 miles from the nearest person yet I was still able to download any book imaginable - thanks Amazon Kindle. I went on a pretty wild journey - the spiritual teaching of Eckhart Tolle one day, Agatha Christie the next. Perhaps it was the majesty of nature but reading Sapiens and Homo Deus by Harari had me thoroughly questioning what this crazy thing called life is. I learnt a lot about what a home is. I experienced the warmth of new cultures and the mundanity of long hours on nondescript highways. I became a vegetarian. Fundamentally, I started to question the systems I'd taken for granted and that we base many of our decisions on and it exposed me to some of their shortcomings. It gave me a reason to think differently.
I tried to create a TV show. I learnt to code (badly). I tried starting a tech company.
Really, though, I had this niggling desire to try and fix much of what had frustrated me about property. I realised this just as Richard reached out to tell me he'd left Argent. We found rich common ground in our frustration at the misunderstanding of value in the context of development, but also a passion to re-find the magic of our places for people who experience them. Enter stage left, Paul and a few months later we’re the proud co-fo’s of a new startup.
I moved back to London full time in August 2019 after some expert level remote working to get the business going.