James Swingos

Investment Team

New York
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At Harvard, I earned my degree in computer science with a minor in psychology. That may seem like an odd combination, but it enabled me to understand the technology our world depends on as well as the people who create it and use it. This turned out to be critical to my success in leading Harvard Student Agencies: 13 student-run businesses with $8 million in combined revenue and nearly 700 employees. We not only scaled up our full-stack app development shop, we leveraged those lessons to streamline and improve operations in the rest of the portfolio. Before leading HSA, I managed Campus Insights, a UX research firm focused on the technology experience of the millennial and Gen Z demographics.

That experience led me to General Catalyst, where my experience with both entrepreneurship and operations is a natural fit. I particularly love the XIR program, which gives founders access to incredible expertise in launching and scaling disruptive businesses. I am analytical by nature, so as an analyst I am looking forward to deep dives into specific companies, markets, and technologies and producing intelligence that sparks investments.

One of the greatest lessons I learned as CEO of Harvard Student Agencies was how to support passionate leaders who know their business more intimately than anyone else. I learned to lead with empathy, understand perspectives before offering my own, and find paths forward that balance personal ownership with strategic focus.

In my off hours, I tend to be spontaneous and adventurous – except for regular visits to the gym. I love film, especially documentaries, so that’s a great way to get together with friends. In terms of community, my experience with student employment inspired me to help other young people find the kinds of opportunities I had.