60 Second Interview with James Codling


Professional and Financial Services

James Codling, Co-Founder & Managing Director of VentureFounders

60 Second Interview with James Codling

What is VentureFounders?

VentureFounders is a new type of equity investment platform. Unlike crowdfunding, we undertake extensive due diligence to qualify and interrogate the true investment opportunity. The result is a curated range of opportunities in early stage, scalable and high growth businesses (which are mainly EIS qualifying).

What do you like most about your job?

I love that the nature of my job means I get to meet fascinating people every day. Listening to entrepreneurs talk about their new, interesting businesses and how they plan to grow them is really motivating. It’s great to be working in an industry where no two days are the same. As an entrepreneur, I always keen to learn new things and having the opportunity to network with some of the most exciting minds in UK business certainly enables that. I also have a great team of inspired, motivated, driven people who really want to be here and make VentureFounders work.

Which event in your career has taught you the most?

Setting up VentureFounders has been a true learning curve. It’s exciting to start up a company, but inevitably not everything will go to plan. I am constantly learning new skills with which to strengthen the business.

James Codling (1)

Which previous job would you say is most responsible for where you are now?

My experience in Private Equity gave me the skillset and confidence to branch out on my own. I was fortunate enough to work with a large number of businesses across a wide variety of sectors, which definitely gave me a solid grounding to start up VentureFounders.

If you weren’t the Managing Director of VentureFounders, what would you be doing?

I actually have another business called Carmelita, where I sell wine from my family-owned Argentinian vineyard. So if I wasn’t working at VentureFounders, I’d be selling even more wine!

What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?

That’s quite a tough one, I studied engineering at university and have an interest in science so there are a few topics in that field, but I think my specialist subject would be wine related.

What career advice can you offer?

To someone setting up a business, I’d say that it’s a very difficult thing to do. You need to have certain characteristics to make it work. From my own experience, the most successful entrepreneurs are driven, motivated, have a clear goal that they truly believe in and are adaptable, picking things up when they don’t go to plan. It’s important to remember that you don’t know it all, but there is no shame in leaning on your network to get outside influences to help you fulfil your business’ vision.

What one thing can you not live without?

That’s an easy one: my family.

What job did you want to do when you were growing up?

When I was younger, I wanted to be an architect. I have a keen interest in architecture, especially the way modern buildings are pushing the barriers of design. I’ve always loved art and drawing, and I trained as an engineer: being an architect would have been a perfect job!

Do you have any hobbies?

I’m a bit of a sports fan and have lots of hobbies, but tennis is the main one.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

I think it would have to be dinner with Stephen Hawking.

What's the skill you'd most like to have?

I would love to be able to play a musical instrument, but unfortunately I have no talent for it at all!

And finally… what keeps you awake at night?

Nothing keeps me awake, I’m quite happy with life at the minute!

James Codling has 14 years of private equity, investment banking and startup experience. He started his career at J.P. Morgan and was then approached to join Montagu Private Equity. He held directorships in a number of Montagu's portfolio investments and was responsible for all their financing activities. He has also launched a number of successful startups.