Iqbal Jumabhoy has always had a lot to live up to. Born into a family with significant financial and political clout, he grew up calling David Marshall a family friend and with the expectation that he would one day inherit Scotts Holdings, the family’s real estate business. When the latter fell through due to a high-profile family dispute more than 20 years ago, Jumabhoy was devastated.
“The break-up of my family business was my biggest career setback,” he recalls. “It forced me to rethink my entire career path and reset it. It also made me rethink my priorities. I didn’t just have to rebuild a career, but also my sense of self-worth.”
But if the mark of a man could be judged by how well he picks himself up after setbacks, then Jumabhoy has more than proven himself. Over the two decades that followed, he dove into a number of leadership roles in hospitality before striking out on his own.
“After a long corporate career spent running and restructuring businesses, I decided to do something that would allow me to apply my learnings in a more flexible environment. I also wanted to learn more about the technological changes that will shape the future and to find ways to participate in that.”
This led Jumabhoy to set up Edge Capital, which he describes as an investment company that also consults in the hospitality space. His pet project under the firm’s umbrella is BlackBook Travels, an app that aims to be a one-stop information centre for all things travel, from hotel bookings to sightseeing tips and itinerary planning. “I see the growth in mobile technology changing the way we travel. To be a part of this change requires not merely shifting the way we book and manage travel, but also the way we use information, make decisions, pay and so on,” he says.
From losing a family empire to building one of his own, Jumabhoy has clearly made good in business. But he’s far from satisfied, saying: “I am always striving and do not have a single perception of success.”