A Slice on Taleeb Noormohamed, CEO of Jane
What do Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard all have in common? Well, maybe more than one thing, but in our case, all three of these prestigious universities happen to be alma maters of Taleeb Noormohamed. Noormohamed boasts titles of Founder, Investor and CEO, a role he serves in currently at Jane, an online boutique marketplace that empowers small and medium-sized businesses to sell their products to customers all over. In its series A round that took place in 2020, they raised $40 million.
Noormohamed is originally from Vancouver, Canada, and post-education has spent the last few years doing a number of things. He’s spent time in government, served as Vice President of the Olympics in Vancouver, and has had a hand in growing some notable tech companies. As Vice President of Global Partnerships, he developed Home Away, now known as VRBO which was acquired by Expedia. Later, he served as Chief Officer of Fartech, a luxury marketplace valued at $20 billion. Now, Noormohamed leads Jane.
In an effort to add value to companies, Noormohamed enjoys investing in startups as well as founding them. Noting that he has been “very lucky” to have invested in a few fantastic companies, he describes two key things he believes have brought him that success.
“One is investing in people: invest in really good, really smart people who have great ideas, and they’ll make it happen. The other is: be willing to take risks. If something has already been tried and tested that’s great but, if you really want to make those crazy, swing for the fences moonshots, you’ve got to go for people that have crazy, wacky ideas.” For Noormohamed, being a part of these wacky ideas, and supporting the entrepreneurs behind them is incredibly meaningful, though he cautioned there is a difference between risk and stupidity. Risk involves a level of calculation, an assessment of options and opportunities while acknowledging there may be a low probability of success.
So let’s say you find yourself experiencing this “low probability” scenario, how do you overcome it? For Noormohamed, it’s to never give up. “If you pitch 100 times, and you get rejected 100 times, and then you stop, you’re still at the same place, you’re at zero. But if you pitch that 101st time, you push out that one extra pitch, that can be the one that ends up making the difference.”
Noormohamed recalled a time not that long ago he chose not to give up, and instead, take a risk with Jane. Back in early 2020 when COVID-19 hit, he was receiving advice from everyone telling him to “hunker down” and save cash, essentially to pump the brakes and put everything on hold. His response? “No. Warren Buffett said this, ‘Take a risk when people are fearful, when everyone else is fearful that’s when you need to make your move.’” Noormohamed executed on Buffet’s adage and kept pushing, which ended up working in his and Jane’s favor resulting in a positive outcome for the company.
Noormohamed realized early on in his life that he did not like being told what to do.
“I think that we spend a lot of time telling people what they can’t do. We spend a lot of time judging people on the basis of whatever it is, whether it’s their background, their gender, their education, whatever, people are told they can or cannot do certain things, or you should or should not do certain things. I take great pride and great joy in basically trying to blow those things out of the water. My parents, my grandparents were all about, you go out there and do whatever it is that you want to do. I think that makes a huge difference because that empowers you as a young person knowing that you can take risks.” Today, Noormohamed still believes in himself even when others don’t.
Taleeb Noormohamed attended Princeton University for his Bachelor’s, the University of Oxford for his Graduate/Doctoral studies and Harvard University for his Master’s. Noormohamed has held multiple leadership positions, including Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and HomeAway. He is currently the CEO of Jane. Connect with Noormohamed on LinkedIn.