Meet the team


As CEO of ClearlySo, the global hub for social business, Rod has helped to launch dozens of innovative startups in the sector. A pioneer in the emerging social business market, in 2003 he transformed Catalyst (a venture capital firm he founded in 1997) into a social business consultancy. Since then, the sector has blossomed, becoming one of the fastest growing areas of the UK economy.

He is now chair of The Green Thing and non-executive director of the South East European Research Centre. He is a past chair of Shelter, the homeless charity, and, the world's largest online donations platform. Prior to founding Catalyst, he spent 17 years working as a research analyst and senior manager with investments banks PaineWebber, Lehman and Paribas.

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Chris is the Founder and CEO of Spacehive, the world’s first crowdfunding platform for civic projects. He is a former Sunday Times staff journalist who covered architecture and planning, as well as leading the paper’s London coverage.

He launched Spacehive in 2012 as a social business to stimulate new sources funding and creativity for the civic environment. Since then the platform has helped to deliver a diverse mix of projects across the UK - from a new community centre in Wales to a giant waterslide in the middle of a Bristol high street.

He has won awards for Spacehive from the Big Venture Challenge, Nesta, UnLtd, Deloitte and Downing Street.

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Margaret was until 2012, Deputy Director, England of the UK's largest good cause Lottery Distributor, Big Lottery Fund. She developed some of their most ambitious and innovative programmes; including Local Trust, a groundbreaking £200m initiative providing social investment and support to 150 disadvantaged neighbourhoods in England and before that, the pioneering ten year Fair Share Trust programme. She also helped to develop programmes that engaged the public in making decisions about Lottery money such as People's Millions and worked collaboratively with Heritage Lottery Fund on the popular Parks for People programme..

Since 2012 she has worked with a range of social enterprises and successfully bid to Cabinet office for a social incubator programme that will run in Birmingham and London to support open venturing and public sector innovation.

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NIRAJ DATTANI NIRAJ DATTANI Senior Partnership Manager

Niraj has been at Spacehive since the beginning of time. During his stint he has worked in almost every part of Spacehive, and now establishes and develops our partnerships. He also has a keen eye for projects that push the boundaries or make a big impact in communities.

In his spare time, he is a local councillor in Harrow and also runs a football club. Pre-Spacehive, he studied Politics at university. He loves people and is always looking for ways to give them power and opportunities. He's one to talk about anything, so if you see him about feel free to harass him.

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ANDREW TEACHER ANDREW TEACHER Director of PR & Communication

Andrew is a former head of press for BAA and the British Property Federation where he led numerous successful lobbying campaigns around planning, housing and tax issues. During his stint at Heathrow, he won plaudits for his media handling of the snow crisis in 2010 and his work as a TV spokesman.

Previously, Andrew co-created and launched Oxjam, a festival of local music events in aid of Oxfam. Having started his career as a journalist with numerous newspapers and magazines including NME, he also worked as music editor on Fashion Music Style between 2008 and 2011. At Spacehive he is working with a team of four PRs to help raise the profile of community projects in the local and national media.

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Rodrigo focuses on policy and communications at Spacehive. He is a former journalist at Conde Nast, the BBC and Bloomberg, and was previously Online Editor of GQ in Mumbai, where he launched the magazine's web and mobile editions. Rodrigo currently advises the Mumbai-based social enterprise Tracksgiving and writes about how governments around the world are embracing technology for the online magazine Government in the Lab.

Later this year he will join the Center for Civic Media at MIT as a Research Assistant, working on projects that leverage technology to build communities and strengthen citizens' engagement with politics.

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Tom was the former European CEO of Competitor Group that organised marathons and half marathons for up to 40,000 people in big cities across Europe including the inaugural Liverpool Rock 'n Roll Marathon.

Tom has spent the majority of his career persuading companies across the globe to invest in sport, whether by backing major sporting events or community programmes that use sport as a tool for social change. He has always been interested in linking the public and the private sector to create partnerships that benefit people and communities, the most high profile of which was Facebook and the different sports funded by Sport England.

He is looking to create corporate partnerships with Spacehive to help accelerate the use of civic crowdfunding across the UK.

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Michelle has managed communications projects – including design, editorial and digital – for a range of campaigning organisations covering human rights, health, sustainability, homelessness and community arts. Prior to joining Spacehive in November 2014 Michelle was the Digital Campaigner at the Trades Union Congress, managing their social media strategy and delivering high profile national and international political campaigns online. Michelle is also a freelance graphic designer, trained animator and is passionate about producing fun and creative videos.

Michelle manages Spacehive’s brand and voice, produces compelling digital content that engages and grows the civic crowdfunding community and designs all of Spacehive’s visual materials.

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As one of our community managers Toby is a first point of contact for our project partners. His main area of interest and expertise lies in projects that focus on youth outreach in schools, universities, and clubs. As a recent graduate of Oxford Brookes, where he received a BSc Hons in Politics and Sociology, he is enthusiastic about the innovation and ingenuity in students and the education sector as a whole and hopes to tap into its potential. He is also a keen sportsman and musician, and wants to further develop a culture of inclusion and community engagement in these areas. As a fan of fun and imaginative projects he supports the Spacehive community to bring more creativity into our civic spaces.

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Johan brings to Spacehive 2 decades of experience in software design and development and covers multiple disciplines in building website projects.

He has formerly worked in banking delivering credit card applications, store card applications and internet banking systems for large retailers such Debenhams, House of Fraser, Laura Ashley and many others. He has also worked in the ecommerce industry looking after the Jack Wills and Aubin and Wills websites which took online orders from the UK, the United States and the Middle East.

As the senior developer at Spacehive, he oversees the software architecture and quality and takes responsibility for maintaining the existing website and developing new features. He's vision is that the efforts in quality should ultimately reflect into seamless user experiences.

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Advisory Board


    LIZ PEACE CBE Show detail

    Chief Executive of the British Property Federation

    As Chief Executive of the BPF, Liz acts as the advocate to Government for the commercial property industry. She was previously a civil servant in the Ministry of Defence and so has first-hand knowledge of how best to engage with Government. She is currently working closely with Government on the "localism" agenda and is working with Mary Portas to regenerate high streets. She has played a leading role in the BPF's campaign for greater institutional investment in the private rented sector as a way of combating the UK's chronic housing shortage.

    She is trustee of the Institute for Sustainability and LandAid, and a former Commissioner at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.


    CHARLES MILLS Show detail

    Head of Planning at Daniel Watney

    Passionate about unlocking the potential of community-led planning, Charles brings insight into how developers can work with the community to create exciting projects on Spacehive.

    As head of planning at Daniel Watney, Charles has extensive experience of delivering strategic development schemes, master planning and providing specialist town planning advice. He has worked with a wide range of private and public sector clients such as UBS and Westminster City Council, as well as a number of charities, historic livery companies and investment funds.

    He formerly headed the planning team for Knight Frank where he oversaw developments ranging from large-scale urban regeneration projects to sensitive community schemes. He is a member of RICS, the RTPI and is a RICS Accredited Mediator.



    CEO of Chime Communications

    As Chief Executive of Chime Communications, Chris brings insight into how corporates can connect with their customer and stakeholder base through community projects. Chime works with major companies who demonstrate commitment to community involvement including Unilever, Barclays, 02 and Deloitte.

    From a personal perspective he has been involved with corporate social responsibility campaigns from Texaco's mould-breaking road safety campaign in the 1980s which ran under the call to action "Children should be seen and not hurt", to more recent work with Business in the Community setting up Mayday, a business network committed to addressing climate change.

    He is also chairman of the Roundhouse, London's exciting performance space, which is committed to improving the lives of young people through participation in the Arts.



    Director of Open City

    Victoria Thornton is founding director of Open City, a charity that champions the value of well designed places in making a successful city. Open City's initiatives encourage dialogue and debate, and enable people to understand how they can influence change in the built environment.

    She founded the Open House festival 20 years ago, as a way of showcasing the capital's best architecture to the public. Since then the festival has surged in popularity, with nearly a quarter of a million visitors last year, and has spread to cities around the world, from New York to Tel Aviv.

    Victoria has a particular interest in ensuring the planning system responds to the needs of young and disadvantaged groups in society. Her ongoing My City Too! campaign aims at ensuring young people's voices are heard by decision-makers. In 2003 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by RIBA in recognition of her contribution to architecture.


    SUNAND PRASAD Show detail

    Co-Founder of Penoyre & Prasad and President of the Royal Institute of British Architects 2007-09

    Passionate about improving the quality of the places we build, Sunand has used his career to push for higher standards of architectural design and environmental awareness in the industry.

    As president of RIBA, he regularly campaigned on issues relating to climate change and the built environment and was listed 26th in the Independent's 2008 Green List. A Design Adviser to the Mayor of London, he has extensive experience shaping community regeneration projects and public spaces; and as a Commissioner for the 4th Plinth project, helped choose striking artworks for Trafalgar Square.

    Sunand was one of the founding Commissioners of CABE, the UK Government's adviser on architecture and urban design, and played a key role in driving up standards of design. He is a Trustee of the think tank Centre for Cities, the disaster relief charity Article 25 and the arts charity Cape Farewell.



    Until December 2008, Elizabeth was Private Secretary to TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. She had worked for The Prince of Wales since 1998 and before that she worked with Tim Bell at Bell Pottinger Communications and was the press secretary to Lady Thatcher. She was previously a Special Adviser in the Department of Transport working for two Cabinet Ministers.

    Elizabeth is now a special adviser to Waitrose, to Dairy Crest and to the Bell Pottinger Group, and remains a consultant to The Prince of Wales. She also co-manages the family's organic livestock farm in East Sussex.

    Elizabeth sits on the BBC's Rural Affairs Advisory Committee, the Experts Panel of Natural England and is a senior associate of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. She is a trustee of The Prince's Countryside Fund, of The Horse Trust and the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University. She is a member of the Goldsmiths Company.


    RORY CURRAN Show detail

    Chairman of Ecodesk

    Rory is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor who specialises in helping early stage businesses to develop and become successful. Having built and sold 1st Software, a financial services technology company, he has extensive strategic and practical experience of how to navigate the choppy waters of business development. Rory is a passionate supporter of Spacehive's mission and is helping to develop the service.

    As Chairman of Ecodesk and adviser to Ice Organisation and Beetle Capital, Rory is involved deeply in the low carbon world. He is a believer that an effective corporate sustainability strategy should lead to greater efficiency, so every business should do it.

    Rory is also the founder of Tildy's Trust which raises money to fight childhood leukaemia.


    JOBY HOWARD Show detail

    Head of project management and building at Drivas Jonas Deloitte

    Joby Howard is a Director at Drivas Jonas Deloitte, the real estate consultancy firm, with responsibility for project management and construction. He played a key role in designing Spacehive's model under a new initiative by Deloitte to support the social business sector.

    Joby is a Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Project Manager and previously worked for Cluttons in London. He has excellent experience in the project management of construction projects and major refurbishment works, servicing a variety of clients across the public and private sectors.


    STEVE CLARE Show detail

    Deputy Chief Executive, Locality

    Steve worked in the voluntary sector throughout the 1980s and then moved to a pan-London funding agency (London Boroughs Grants – now part of London Councils) in the 1990s. Back in the voluntary sector in 2000 as Assistant Chief Executive with East London training provider NEWTEC, Steve led on the development of the £4.5million East London Childcare Institute and several associated social enterprises.

    Steve joined the Development Trusts Association as Assistant Director of Regional Development (South) in 2005 and became Director of Campaigns with its successor body, Locality, in 2011.

    Originally from a mining community in the North East, Steve is a graduate of Cambridge University, has Masters Degrees from Middlesex and Kingston upon Thames universities, is a Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming, a SFEDI-accredited Business Advisor and a member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs.


    ERIC REYNOLDS Show detail

    Founding Director, Urban Space Management

    If you've been to London, chances are you've enjoyed one of the places Eric helped to revitalise. Responsible for a host of imaginative urban regeneration schemes since the early 1970s, Eric specialises in bringing drab bits of city to life, on a budget.

    In 1974 he started Camden Lock Market with two partners, which subsequently became one of London's top tourist attractions. He repeated his success at Spitalfields Market, Gabriels Wharf and more recently Trinity Buoy Wharf, where he built a hub for the arts and Container City - cheap and cheerful "pod" accommodation made from shipping containers. The pods are now used by communities across the country as everything from classrooms to music studios.

    Eric acts as a regeneration advisor across the country and is former Chairman of the London Safer Cities Initiative. He has led schemes in the Olympic Park, including the View Tube visitor centre, and is working with Spacehive to develop several exciting community projects.


    LEON BENJAMIN Show detail

    Website programme manager and social media expert

    Leon has over 20 years experience designing and building complex IT projects for large organisations. He has a particular interest in harnessing social networks to deliver value for companies - both by connecting workers in ways which boost productivity and by outsourcing jobs to "the crowd", ranging from video-editing to accountancy.

    Leon has overseen multi-million pound projects for clients including BT, British Airways, Aviva and the UK Government. He is currently building an "office Facebook" platform for Virgin Media, which aims to encourage collaboration amongst its workforce.

    An advocate of the power of social media long before it became an essential tool for brands, he is the author of Winning by Sharing, a book about how the phenomenon will eventually transform the way companies are organised - by replacing staffed HQs with loose networks of remotely connected workers.


    JAMES ALEXANDER Show detail

    Partner of The Foundation

    James is a highly innovative and practical business creator, builder and strategist, bringing a wealth of experience in all things green. He is currently a Partner of The Foundation, a leading growth and innovation consultancy, a Trustee for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and a Trustee and former CEO of Green Thing, a public service that inspires people to lead a greener life. James is also an Advisor to Seedrs, the world’s first online platform for investing seed capital, and Chair of GEN Community, an industrial provident society that delivers low carbon investments as well as social impact.

    He loves spending time with his family and bird watching – and in 1990, during an expedition to Sao Tome & Principe, helped re-discover 3 species of bird that had been considered by many extinct!