Convene hires Blackstone’s Elliott Sparsis as Vice President of Real Estate and Gensler’s James Frankis as Director of Strategic Solutions for London, marking the company’s international expansion.
LONDON – November 6, 2018 – Convene, the leading partner for commercial landlords in building elevated, amenity-driven, flexible-term meeting and office space, announced today its first hires in London, bringing Elliott Sparsis and James Frankis aboard as London Vice President of Real Estate and London Director of Strategic Solutions, respectively.
As London Vice President of Real Estate, Sparsis will be tasked with identifying and effectuating real estate transactions within Convene’s first international expansion market. As London Director of Strategic Solutions, Frankis will partner with Convene’s Real Estate and Innovation team to create solutions for the next generation of flexible and experience-driven workplace strategies for landlords and enterprise.
“We are thrilled for Elliott and James to join the Convene team and help open an exciting new chapter in the company’s history,” said Ryan Simonetti, Co-Founder and CEO of Convene. “Bringing experience from two of the world’s top firms in their respective fields, we have the utmost confidence and faith in both Elliott and James to help lead Convene’s expansion into London and grow our global footprint.”
Sparsis and Frankis join Convene shortly after the company raised a $152 million Series D round of financing, which included investments from real estate, technology, and innovation leaders such as Revolution Growth, RXR Realty, ArrowMark Partners, Brookfield, and The Durst Organization, among others. Today’s announcement marks Convene’s latest hire of high-profile executives, following the appointment of Brad Kay as the company’s first Chief Brand Officer in July.
Sparsis joins Convene after six years at private equity firm Blackstone as a senior manager overseeing the firm’s portfolio of Central London offices. He was involved in several of Blackstone’s highest-profile investments in the office sector, including Chiswick Park, Broadgate Quarter, Adelphi, Lacon London, 20 Old Bailey, 125 Old Broad Street and Le Dome in Luxembourg. Sparsis spent 2 years at Savills based in their London office before joining Blackstone. In 2010, he co-founded Sociable Surveyors, the only all-expenses-paid global internship initiative in the real estate industry, and in 2017 founded Dog House Fitness, a boutique spin and boxing fitness studio in southwest London. Sparsis received first-class honors in real estate management from Kingston University and a master’s degree in real estate finance from London South Bank University.
Frankis has spent the last five years at the globally recognized design and strategy firm, Gensler, in New York and London as a senior strategist and a leader of the firm’s European consulting practice area. In this role, Frankis led the growth of Gensler’s local and European thought leadership in workplace strategy while working with enterprise clients and building owners to ensure their readiness for the future of the workplace. From change management and workplace strategy to building re-positioning and amenity programming James has worked with a range of clients including British Land, HSBC, Mitsubishi Estates, Blackstone, Hines, AXA, and Rockefeller Group. Frankis is a regular speaker on the future of work at events such as the ULI, BCO and Bisnow. Frankis holds a master’s degree in transdisciplinary design from the Parsons School of Design in New York, focusing on human-centered design practices, and a bachelor’s degree in information design from the University of Westminster.
Convene consulted with Deverell Smith, a recruitment firm specializing in placing real estate executives in the U.S. and the U.K., in hiring Frankis and Sparsis.
With its Series D round of funding completed, Convene is planning to grow its footprint globally, expand its service offerings, and launch a new workplace technology platform. By the end of 2018, Convene will have 23 locations in five cities totaling approximately 700,000 square feet and is projected to have 1,700,000 total square feet of space in 10 cities by the end of 2019.
Convene (www.convene.com) is the fastest-growing network of full-service, tech-enabled meeting, event, and flexible workspaces. Founded in 2009, Convene has locations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, with plans to expand globally. The company has been named one of America’s 100 Most Promising Companies by Forbes, one of LinkedIn’s Most In-Demand Startups, one of America’s fastest growing companies and Best Workplaces of 2018 by Inc. Magazine, and the #11 Best Workplace in New York by Fortune Magazine.
Jenna Wollemann, Convene