WIC alumnus takes off in the tech world

WIC graduate Navid Nathoo (Class of 2008) is a thought leader in developing innovation through disruptive technology. He is currently the Director of Alchemist X, an internationally recognized accelerator programdelivered within large enterprises to catalyze innovation internally. Previous to this, he was the founder and CEO of Airpost, which was acquired by Box (NYSE:BOX), the world’s leading enterprise platform for content collaboration. He is an alumnus of leading startup organizations including TechStars, The Alchemist Accelerator, AngelHack and The Accelerator Centre. We reconnected with Nav this spring.

WIC: What program did you pursue after graduation from WIC?

NN: I went to Western University and graduated from the Ivey School of Business (HBA program).

WIC: How did you come to start your own company?

NN: It was a combination of a couple things. I didn’t find satisfaction working for a large corporate entity, I was really interested in tech, and I still had no idea what I wanted to do in life. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I was passionate about, regardless of the risk. I had no idea what I was doing, but I ended up hiring a random team of engineers to build something that I thought should exist in the world. Turns out that failed. But, if I didn’t fail, I wouldn’t have learned what not to do. Most people don’t fail enough. After that first startup attempt, I got back up and started again.

WIC: Why do you believe you have achieved such success in such a short time in this endeavour?

NN: I think there are three reasons why I was able to get where I am now:

  1. I went all in. I didn’t hesitate or make back-up plans. It was go big or go home (literally back home to Calgary).
  2. I had the right team. I built my team with really smart people that I trusted. So during the bad times we were able to rebound back and keep pushing forward.
  3. I met the right people and surrounded myself with the best mentors and advisors.

WIC: Do you have any significant experiences that you would like to share?

NN: Being acquired by a billion-dollar public company (NYSE: BOX) was an awesome experience and a milestone in my life. It was eye opening to see how Silicon Valley companies structure deals, execute, and strategically grow through innovation and acquisition. I think the biggest impact of this experience was that it enabled me to think even bigger. When I was a student, I would have never thought I could build a billion dollar company. But I’ve learned that it’s all about attitude, and if you want something badly enough, you can get it.

WIC: What is your favourite memory of your time at WIC?

NN: I’m not sure this qualifies as a “favorite” memory, but … I still remember ALL the words to the Macbeth soliloquy that we had to memorize in English class. “The Raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal entrance of…” I don’t think I’ll ever get that out of my head!

WIC: What advice would you have for your 17 year old self?

NN: Take risks, and fail … because if you don’t fail, you’re not growing.

WIC: In what way did your time at WIC influence what you are doing or who you are today?

NN: I think WIC taught me to think globally. I remember learning about Burma and their political issues in an International Politics class I took at WIC. WIC classes that offered diversity, global thinking, and critical thinking contributed to my growth through Senior High. [Ed. note: Navid was very involved in various WIC clubs, including a heavy involvement in WICAA and in Model UN, Global Awareness and Speech & Debate.]

Thanks, Navid. And congratulations on your success so far. You have come a long way from Assistant House Captain of Davies House and Vice President of WICAA! We look forward to hearing more about your endeavours in the future.