Reza Merchant


The Collective

3:10pm – 3:40pm

A Collective Good

Frustrated by a lack of quality, affordable housing for students when he was studying at the London School of Economics, Reza Merchant decided to tackle this problem head on. He formed his own property rental agency, Share in the City, which quickly evolved into The Collective, a disruptive start-up that focuses on developing and operating living space for young professionals. In May 2016, The Collective opened the world’s largest and UK’s first co-living building, The Collective Old Oak, which features 546 units. Now, at the age of just 29, Merchant has his sights set on rapid global expansion, beginning with three cities in the U.S. and two in Germany. The Collective’s second building is opening imminently in the London district of Canary Wharf and brings another first to the co-living industry: It incorporates a hybrid model that merges both short and long stays, meaning that members can choose to stay from 1 night to 12 months, while always enjoying the same Collective experience.


With cities evolving quickly and a lack of affordable housing remaining an ongoing problem, governments and philanthropic entities are still utilizing old ways to tackle new challenges. Merchant, however, is using his platform as the Founder and CEO of The Collective to help people better themselves and in turn the world around them. Merchant believes that collectively, ordinary citizens can do extraordinary things.

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