Name: Razor Suleman
Occupation: CEO, I Love Rewards
Razor (real name Kaizer) Suleman must have been born from the same gene pool as those he admires: Java juggernaut, Howard Shultz of Starbucks, and Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, otherwise known as the guys from Google.
Suleman is a Toronto entrepreneurial maverick, who went from selling sports cards at age 15 (he pitched his dad for a $15,000 loan to become an authorized dealer) to selling campus apparel from his Wilfred Laurier University dorm room to selling corporate-branded merchandise upon graduation.
Now at 33, Suleman heads a new business that employs 30-plus staff, which operates out of a 6,000 sq. ft. office loft in Liberty Village.
“Once we discovered that no one works any harder for a company mug,” Suleman says referring to his previous business, “we developed I Love Rewards.” Founded in 2002, ILR is an employee incentive and loyalty program created for companies looking for ways to motivate and reward their staff for exemplifying positive behaviours.
Things like punctuality or hitting sales targets are rewarded on a point system. Employees then redeem those points for a snazzy range of brand name products. “Canadians are pointaholics,” says Suleman. “People are motivated by instant gratification.” It’s rather Air Miles meets B.F. Skinner, but instead of swiping a blue card and getting dog treats for sitting when told, you get iPods, Nintendo Wiis and Bose sound systems.
“I honestly got the call at 2:10 and was asked if I wanted to meet Canada’s top venture capitalist at 3:00,” shares Suleman when asked about how he’s managed to grow his outfit so quickly. An office was set up in New York last year signaling ILR’s inevitable expansion into the States. If things go according to plan ILR will amass 50 million members by 2011.
Accolades so far include citations as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and one of the GTA’s Top 50 Employers; a No. 12 ranking as one of the country’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies by PROFIT Magazine; and a 2007 BDC Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Despite those successes, Suleman says he feels he’s “still at the base of the mountain with lots of challenges ahead.” And yes folks, he’s still hiring. Check out www.iloverewards.com. lawrence chau/metro toronto