James Alexander

James Alexander

Co-founder, Zopa, Disruptive Entrepreneur & Futures Expert

Synopsis

As Zopa co-Founder and CEO, James was a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending. Putting those with a small amount to invest in front of reliable borrowers has proved a successful business model, creating what is now globally £100bn sector. James is now helping organisation make more informed strategic choices as part of FutureAgenda.org, the world’s largest open foresight programme. In presentations he examines disruption across a range of industries and considers how long-established organisations can drive innovation and be better prepared for the future.

Biography

It’s all very well to have a bright idea, but it takes someone with James Alexander’s vision to turn it into a reality. As co-founder of ZOPA (‘zone of possible agreement’), James developed not just a profitable online business, but also a new way of borrowing and lending money. He has now taken those lessons in disruption, growth and strategy to a broad range of sectors.

Zopa facilitates those with money to invest and lend to small borrowers. Interest rates, for both lenders and borrowers, are better than those of the high street banks and agreed in advance. Lenders can see who is borrowing their money and what it is being used for. Zopa was the disruptive pioneer in what has become Fintech. Its approach paved the way for other collaborative and crowdfunding concepts from AirBnB and Uber to Funding Circle. James continues to advise a number of Fintech players including Seedrs, Loot, giffgaff money and LandBay.

James was also involved in the development of Smile, the Co-operative Bank’s online division, when he worked for LEK Consulting. He went on to become Strategy Director for EGG, launching their pioneering digital TV and mobile services. He steered EGG through a period of rapid growth in the UK and laid the foundations for its entry into the US market.

Having served as CEO and board director of Zopa, James moved away from the business to become a Partner at The Foundation, a company that helps businesses develop growth and customer-focused strategies. He is now a Director of FutureAgenda.org, the world’s largest open foresight programme, which provides insight to help individuals and organisations make more informed decisions and place more intelligent bets over the medium term.

In presentations James considers disruption in a range of industries and explores what it takes for established organisations to improve their innovation strategy and be better prepared for the future.

James is also a committed environmental campaigner and has been a trustee of the RSPB, and of Green Thing, an online social movement to mobilise the masses and pit creativity against the threat of climate change. He is also Chair of GEN Community Ventures, a leader in community
owned renewable energy investment.

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