James Beacher graduated from Strathclyde University with a BSc. and joined a local materials research company which had been spun-out from Glasgow University.
He then moved to the thin film coating industry and for many years supplied optical filters for commercial, military and medical applications. He had his own business during the Telecoms boom providing thin film deposition equipment which was used in electron microscopy. He moved into light microscopy when he joined CoolLED to develop their business pioneering LED illumination for the fluorescence technique now prevalent in the life sciences.