Tani Dulay

Helping to shape future places

HOF Entrepreneurs Tani Dulay 1920X1080

Published: 29/09/2023

Tani Dulay is founder and chief executive of Woodbourne Group plc, a Birmingham-based real estate group formed in 2019. He took on the legacy blueprint of his family business to become one of the UK’s most important regional developers, with a £450m pipeline of development. He is building skyscrapers and now has his eye on venture capital, life sciences and care facilities.

By the time he arrived at university, Tani Dulay was already an entrepreneur. He paid his way through a computer science and artificial intelligence degree with a furniture import/export business which was netting him six figures. When he got into his second year of university he was doing anything from fashion to application development - but then his family business came calling.

His father who had been in business with Tani’s grandfather since the early age of 9, had built up a successful property and retail business. He now looked to Tani to take it on. “You want to leave an imprint on the world. When property is done purposefully, you do that. As Churchill said, we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.”

Woodbourne Group was then formed. Tani subsequently carried out several “cradle-to grave” developments over the years, taking part in major schemes with institutional partners, doing deals with large multi conglomerate tenants to now becoming a leading player in his home city’s regeneration. He says: “We’re an experienced business with a start-up mentality”.

How it’s going

The group now has £450m of developments in progress and is behind some of Birmingham’s major developments. For example, it is the owner of Curzon Wharf, a mixed-use net zero carbon ready development in a key quarter of Birmingham city centre. It has been developed in collaboration with Birmingham City Council and comprises almost one million square feet. It has received support from the globe all over for its sustainability and design feats and is expected to boost the Birmingham economy by at least £151 million.

Woodbourne Group continues to compete with much larger and listed property entities because of their agility and ability to move at pace. He says: “If we’re shaking hands on a deal, we’ll commit to doing it quicker than anyone. We’re hands-on and will get things done.” To-date they have not raised external capital.

Future plans?

He remains passionate about driving change and employment prospects in his hometown of Birmingham but has much bigger plans further afield. He says: “Our slogan is shaping future places. We stand by that.”

We’ve hedged our bets correctly and have always read the market well. Our continued robust financial position, underpinned by our integrity and strong track record, has now given us a good reputation within the market and with lenders. This ensures that we are well-placed to withstand the current economic turbulence and take opportunities as and when they arise.”
Tani Dulay

Over the next five years, he is also hoping to expand the venture capital part of the business - Woodbourne Ventures. More recently he has been expanding this into life sciences. Curzon Wharf has 130,000 square feet dedicated to life sciences and Woodbourne Ventures is also making selective investments into life science companies themselves.

Valuable advice?

Throughout his journey, Tani has come to appreciate the wisdom that experience bestows. He says: "Accumulating wealth in your youth can sometimes breed overconfidence. We arrive with nothing and depart with nothing. Don’t take anything for granted. Stay grounded and always remain humble."

He tries to be guided by traditional Sikh values including hard-work, integrity and humility. He says: “I try to live and breathe these values every day
Tani Dulay