20/20 Vision: the future of residential real estate
Harry Hill, former Chairman & CEO of Countrywide, co-founder of Rightmove

Harry Hill, former Chairman & CEO of Countrywide, co-founder of Rightmove

May 4, 2021

Harry Hill, former Chairman and CEO of Countrywide and co-founder of Rightmove, shares his journey in real estate with Guy Westlake.

Harry is one of the legends of UK estate agency, considered by many to be the original proptech pioneer. Over his 20 year tenure as CEO of Countrywide, Harry built the company into the world’s largest group of estate agents offering integrated property services, eventually selling the business to US private equity firm Apollo Global Management for £1bn in 2007.  In 2000, whilst at the helm of Countrywide, he led the formation of Rightmove and served as the company’s Chairman until 2008.  Today Rightmove is the UK’s leading property listings portal with a market capitalization of £5.3bn.

Harry has held numerous non-executive roles at both public and private companies, including Hunters, Learning Technologies Group and Lavanda.

In this episode Harry shares:

  • How failing to get into the army led to auctioning cattle in Yorkshire, which in turn proved to be a springboard to a stellar career in property!
  • How building an estate agency business of scale was a vehicle to cross-selling high margin products like insurance and property services.
  • Why digital adoption in real estate has been historically slow, but why that is now set to change fast.
  • Why 90-95% of proptech businesses are destined to fail due to lack of product market fit.
  • How he believes the next seismic innovation in real estate will be making the process of buying a home as simple and straightforward as buying a car.
  • His admiration for Alex Chesterman (founder of LoveFilm and Zoopla)  whose most recent start-up Cazoo is now mooted to be going public at a valuation of $7bn.
John Hitchcox, Founder of Yoo Group

John Hitchcox, Founder of Yoo Group

April 14, 2021

John Hitchcox, founder and chairman of YOO Group, shares his journey in real estate with Guy Westlake.

John is one of the residential industry's most influential and respected entrepreneurs. He founded YOO in 1999, and along with business partner Philippe Starck, the celebrated designer, built the company into one of the world’s leading placemaking and design brands. Today, YOO operates across 36 countries globally. By combining design, architecture, development, investment, marketing and branding, John Hitchcox and YOO are the driving force behind some of the world's most innovative and creative residential and hotel developments.


In this episode John shares:

  • How he stumbled into property despite his mother wanting him to pursue a career as a musician or conductor.
  • The serendipity of meeting Philippe Starck in Paris and together developing YOO both as a concept and proposition.
  • Regenerating swathes of London over the years, culminating in YOO's £1.3bn regeneration of Olympia into a world-leading cultural destination.
  • How he expects the way we work will change post-pandemic, and the likely impact upon businesses.
  • How YOO is adapting to capitalise on opportunities coming out of the pandemic.
  • Some of the technologies and innovations he believes are driving the industry forward.
  • The important role that music plays in his life outside of work.
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