Two Cornell Students Interview Panorama Founder and CEO, Jane Wu, for Insightful Article.
Updated: Feb 10
"Bringing Luxury and Quality to Everyday Life: Jane Wu’s Strategic Vision and Professional Journey"
"The current President and CEO of Panorama Holdings LLC, Jane Wu’s exemplary
leadership, passion, and expertise within the real estate industry has helped Panorama become a true visionary developer deeply connected to the local community. Over the past years, Jane’s beliefs in building meaningful relationships with investors, clients, and partners, along with Panorama’s unrelenting pursuit to go above and beyond, have played foundational roles in Panorama’s success. Shifting our focus today, we aim to explore Jane’s professional journey, vision, and commitment that drove Panorama’s measurably impressive results.
2005: An American Odyssey
When Jane first moved to the US in 2005 to pursuit her masters degree, life was entirely
different from what she was used to. Although vibrant and growing, Charlotte represented life in the American suburbia much more than it did a bustling, sleepless metropolis. Without a car, the tiny radius accessible by foot delineated life’s confines, and Jane’s daily routine became, at times, linear: school and home; day in and day out.
Despite these initial differences that decorated the details of daily life, Jane kept an open mind. Charlotte, too, with its magical charm, quietly grew on Jane. Dynamic, fast-paced, and analytical, Jane’s summer on the trading floors of Bank of American landed her a return offer, and, without second thought, Jane transferred over to UNCC and decided to stay in Charlotte post- graduation.
Jane’s earliest learning experiences within finance and banking, although seemingly distinct from real estate, forever cemented Charlotte as her hometown and set the foundations for her future enterprises with entrepreneurship and real estate.
The Crisis and the Opportunity
The years 2005 to 2007 were the last of the golden days for the S&T branches of investment banks. In the pre-Dodd-Frank world, trading floors were still, in Michael Lewis’ words, the “rough-and-tumble centers of risk taking and money making”. Having learned and experienced the hype surrounding fixed income in those years preceding the financial crises, Jane lateralled from Bank of America to Wells Fargo Securities, moving over to the banking side of the business in July of 2007.
Less than a month later, in August of 2007, the world witnessed its first subprime mortgage default of the recession, discretely heralding the incoming storm and chaos. Within a quarter, the financial crisis of such a historic scale took over every single news headline and plunged Wall Street into a whirlpool of uncertainties. As banks looked towards the cost side to cover their bottom lines, even managing directors got swallowed up in the bloodbath and joined the ranks of the casualties.
Work that would have enjoyed the attention of multiple analysts now fell on Jane’s shoulders alone, but with that responsibility came the luxury of experience and exposure. A few years after graduation, Jane already began covering a $3 billion portfolio almost independently. Through these substantial deals ranging any where from $150 to $600 million, Jane gathered truly incredible experiences studying countless real estate projects.
Where did the bankers go wrong? How did they screw up? “Before I learned what to do, I learned what not to do,” Jane remarked, reflecting on her time in finance during the crisis and how it helped her with her real estate career.
Panorama: A Team and a Vision
Come late 2011, Jane’s father asked during a casual conversation if she ever thought about quitting her job and building something on her own.
“Do you have any idea how amazing this opportunity is?” Jane asked, referring to her
position at Wells Fargo. Indeed, the opportunity cost seemed high: as a Chinese immigrant in the early 2000s, she commanded a respectable and highly sought after front office career in finance. This is not to mention that entrepreneurship is far from a walk in the park. To start a successful enterprise, passion and determination constitute the bare minimum. Entrepreneurship demanded that you give it your all. Scared, excited, or reluctant, all must take that leap of faith.
With her vision, passion, and $1 million of funding, Jane started Panorama. Panorama’s first ever project? It required $53 million. “Of course I am incredibly fortunate to be able to start off with a million dollars,” Jane commented, “but that gap still seemed insurmountable.”
Passion. Patience. Perseverance. These qualities helped her through countless trials and
tribulations. In the earliest days, Jane and her team fought daily to ensure Panorama’s survival, pouring everything into developing products they believed in, products that clients, investors, and partners could believe in.
As Panorama grew and more people gravitated towards Jane’s team, they became united by a shared purpose, a vision that crystalized from their experiences – to raise the standards of real estate with bold ingenuity, to invest in communities with committed expertise, and to bring luxury and quality into every single day for their clients.
COVID and Beyond – What’s Next for Panorama?
Through time, Panorama has grown to become a much more experienced and mature team. Jane, too, constantly improved to better lead in a dynamic and ever-changing landscape.
When COVID first began wreaking havoc and redefining the new normal for the entire
world, it also opened up a small window of opportunity for Jane and her team. Seasoned and hungry, Jane acted fast to raise new funds, knowing that much like the 2008 financial crisis, this period of uncertainty and change also meant an abundance of investment opportunities.
Targeting value-added commercial real estate projects that faced short-term challenges
brought on by the pandemic, Panorama made some incredible snap decisions, investing in long term growth opportunities that delivered impressive returns. Survival, scaling and expansion, and eventually a pandemic – Panorama emerged a well-oiled machine that overcame countless obstacles.
Looking towards the future, Jane also shared some of her strategic visions and expectations for the future: “My team is an absolute A-team when I’m around, but I want to ensure that they can carry on as an absolute A-team with or without me.”
Jane and Panorama are now working to build infrastructures that will catalyze Panorama’s continuous growth and ensure its long term success in every aspect. With an impeccable track record, Panorama begins to attract institutional attention. With the next five years, Jane hopes to help Panorama transition from being primarily retail-funded and high-net-worth individuals focused to being more institutionally funded, partnering with larger institutional investors to truly affect change in the real estate industry.
Endless possibilities await for Jane and Panorama, and we can only imagine the direction towards which they will continuously grow. Regardless of where Panorama is in five or ten years, however, one thing is certain: at its core, the Panorama vision to bring luxury and quality to everyday life will become its legacy."