Recently listed as one of the Evening Standard’s most influential people in London and as one of Property Week’s Forty under 40, life for young entrepreneur Reza Merchant seems destined to be one of great success. Only seven years since graduating from University and Merchant heads up the Collective as CEO of the multi-million-pound property empire.
For Merchant, life in the upper echelons of business seemed inevitable: a £20,000 per year education at Middlesex’s Merchant Taylors private school prepared him for a life of responsibility. The young entrepreneur made the bold call to borrow £1.8 million against his parents’ home to get The Collective lifted off the ground. Behind the success of the Collective is the massive need for such a business: London is faced with a housing problem which seems to show no signs of improving.
With a 150% increase in house prices in the United Kingdom’s capital over the last decade, many residents and businesses have been forced to abandon the city in search of a cheaper location. Merchant’s micro-apartment development company was founded in 2010 after his graduation from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences after he grew increasingly frustrated by the city’s lack of high quality, yet affordable housing.
With the collective, Merchant has offered a solution to this problem with his own letting agency, which focuses on small-scale schemes across the city. In May 2016 The Collective launched the world’s largest ever co-living building, The Collective Old Oak, which won the Creative Spaces Award in 2016 from Estates Gazette and British GQ listed it as the second best thing in the world in 2016.