JAMES CLIFT

The 30 Un­der 30 may cel­e­brate young en­trepreneurs, but it keeps get­ting bet­ter with age. This year, our win­ners—in­clud­ing one dou­ble act with the same com­pany—rep­re­sent B.C. from Van­cou­ver to Prince Ru­pert to Port Al­berni. Some hold grad­u­ate de­grees, whil

BC Business Magazine - - Office Space -

Co-founder and CEO WORKSTORY INC. CEO VISUALCV INC. AGE: 29 com­pany Workstory, which also makes a tool to help peo­ple track and share their ca­reer ac­com­plish­ments.

Clift's own ca­reer path is a se­ries of en­tre­pre­neur­ial ven­tures be­gin­ning in high school, with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess. He im­ported and flipped cars; ran a win­dow-clean­ing fran­chise, then started his own busi­ness in the same field; and cre­ated web­sites for com­pa­nies rang­ing from law firms to dog day­cares. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Sauder School of Busi­ness with a Bcomm in ac­count­ing in 2011, he tried and failed to build sev­eral soft­ware star­tups be­fore found­ing Workstory with Jade Bourelle, Ken Miller and Thomas Zhou in 2014, the same year the com­pany ac­quired Visualcv from a group of in­vestors. LIFE STORY: Hu­sein Ra­hem­tulla and Dhruv Sood have been friends since they met in Grade 6 at Buckingham El­e­men­tary School in Burn­aby. While Ra­hem­tulla had lived in the area all his life, Sood's fam­ily had just moved there from Ban­ga­lore, India, where his fa­ther was a sci­en­tist work­ing on flight dy­nam­ics for the In­dian Space Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion and his mother was a trans­la­tor.

Af­ter the two grad­u­ated from Burn­aby Cen­tral High School in 2008, they both went to Mcgill Univer­sity to study busi­ness. Liv­ing in res­i­dence and yearn­ing for a home-cooked meal, they made red Thai curry but had to buy too much of some in­gre­di­ents and forgo oth­ers—which would pro­vide the germ of a busi­ness idea down the road. In 2010, they trans­ferred to UBC, where Ra­hem­tulla ob­tained a BA in phi­los­o­phy in 2012 and Sood a Bcomm with a dou­ble con­cen­tra­tion in fi­nance and lo­gis­tics in 2013.

Right af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Ra­hem­tulla, who had been play­ing poker pro­fes­sion­ally since 2011, took over the man­age­ment of his fam­ily's ho­tels on Van­cou­ver Is­land while his fa­ther was be­ing treated for can­cer, which reignited his in­ter­est in busi­ness. In spring 2014 he met Sood, who was work­ing as a re­search as­sis­tant for fi­nan­cial plan­ning firm Ray­mond James Ltd. in Van­cou­ver, for sushi. Bounc­ing around ideas, they re­mem­bered the Thai curry and dis­cussed cre­at­ing a com­pany that would pro­vide the ex­act in­gre­di­ents needed to make a sin­gle meal. The fol­low­ing Jan­uary, they launched Fresh Prep.

THE BOT­TOM LINE: Start­ing small with just Ra­hem­tulla, Sood and their child­hood friend Becky Switzer (now Brauer), by Fe­bru­ary the East Van­cou­ver–based com­pany had grown to 102 em­ploy­ees and 35 con­tract work­ers serv­ing more than 7,000 cus­tomers from Squamish to Ab­bots­ford, with plans to ex­pand across Canada. Rev­enue was $3 mil­lion in 2017 and is pro­jected to hit $12 mil­lion this year. To re­duce pack­ag­ing waste, Fresh Prep de­liv­ers meals in re­us­able cooler bags that it re­trieves when de­liv­er­ing the next or­der. –F.S.

LIFE STORY: En­trepreneur­ship runs in the fam­ily for Fos­ter Coul­son. His grand­fa­ther, Cliff Coul­son, founded Coul­son For­est Prod­ucts ( in 1960. With help from Fos­ter's fa­ther, Wayne,

grew into the Port Al­berni–based Coul­son Group of Com­pa­nies, whose hold­ings in­clude an avi­a­tion divi­sion. The younger Coul­son, who didn't at­tend univer­sity, started out in the for­est prod­ucts divi­sion in 2007, bucking and scal­ing logs. In 2010 he and his dad founded a busi­ness that man­u­fac­tured en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly Western red cedar sid­ing and sof­fit­ing by glu­ing a thin layer of the in­creas­ingly scarce wood to a back­ing.

In 2012, Coul­son Group bought the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights to an ice­blast­ing tech­nol­ogy for in­dus­trial clean­ing de­vel­oped by a bank­rupt Wash­ing­ton State com­pany. With his fa­ther as Coul­son co-founded Coul­son Ice Blast in 2016, ob­tain­ing fund­ing from the Na­tional Re­search Coun­cil's In­dus­trial Re­search As­sis­tance Pro­gram ( Re­cruit­ing five en­gi­neers, he led a com­plete re­design of the tech­nol­ogy and se­cured Cana­dian patents. The com­pany re­leased its first prod­uct last year, when Coul­son Group sold the lum­ber man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness to Lan­g­ley-based San Group Inc.

The Ices­torm90 uses 95 per­cent less wa­ter than a pres­sure washer and is 90 per­cent cheaper to run than a dry-ice blaster, main­tains Coul­son, who also works in the avi­a­tion divi­sion with his older brother, Brit­ton, and has two young chil­dren. And it's much safer and cheaper than abra­sive blast­ing, the other ma­jor in­dus­trial clean­ing tech­nol­ogy, he says. “Our pri­mary patent claim is blast­ing with ice through a pres­sur­ized hose,” ex­plains Coul­son, not­ing that Euro­pean and U.S. patents are pend­ing. “That pretty much elim­i­nates any com­pe­ti­tion we're go­ing to have in the mar­ket­place, which is pretty spe­cial be­cause this is a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try.” Last fall, the Ices­torm90 was named one of the most in­no­va­tive new prod­ucts of 2017 at the 100 Awards in Or­lando, Florida.

THE BOT­TOM LINE: Coul­son Ice Blast's cur­rent sys­tem, which is as­sem­bled in Port Al­berni and sells for US$35,000, is for heavy in­dus­trial use. Coul­son, who ex­pects 2018 rev­enue to be in the low seven fig­ures, thinks sales will grow sig­nif­i­cantly when his team re­leases a new prod­uct line this June. The com­pany has a deal with U.S. gi­ant Reddy Ice Hold­ings Inc. that sees it col­lect 40 per­cent of rev­enue on each pound of ice sold to Ice Blast cus­tomers, Coul­son says. It's also talk­ing to cor­po­ra­tions such as Ford Mo­tor Co. and Royal Dutch Shell about adopt­ing its tech­nol­ogy, he adds. “We re­ally are dis­rupt­ing an in­dus­try that has seen no in­no­va­tion in 40 years.” –N.R.

LIFE STORY: Julius Makarewicz is noth­ing if not per­sis­tent. The Pow­ell River na­tive, whose par­ents left Poland when it was un­der mar­tial law, dropped out of univer­sity be­cause he felt he had to get out in the world to learn. Makarewicz, who orig­i­nally came to Van­cou­ver to at­tend SFU, bad­gered the HR depart­ment at customer re­search firm Vi­sion Crit­i­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. un­til they gave him a job in sales. Af­ter work­ing for a few other com­pa­nies, he saw a gap in the adult bev­er­age mar­ket; in 2015 he started work­ing on a low-calo­rie, sugar-free, gluten-free vodka cooler.

The prod­uct (avail­able in lime, cu­cum­ber mint and straw­berry kiwi, with another flavour in the works) took B.C. pri­vate stores by storm, bring­ing a few com­peti­tors into the mar­ket on the way. “We're the first unsweet­ened alcoholic bev­er­age in B.C., but since we've launched, there are more com­ing to mar­ket as a di­rect re­sult of us,” Makarewicz says. “They see how well we're do­ing.” Af­ter more tireless work, Makarewicz got Nude Vodka Soda on BC Liquor Stores shelves this March.

THE BOT­TOM LINE: Since it launched last July, Nude Vodka Soda has sold some 24,000 24-packs through the pri­vate chan­nel in B.C., post­ing more than $1.3 mil­lion in sales. The com­pany has three full-time em­ploy­ees and four con­tract staff. –N.C. LIFE STORY: Qayyum Ra­jan was born in Van­cou­ver, but he took a global out­look from a very young age. He was just two weeks old when his par­ents moved his fam­ily to Kenya, where he grew up be­fore re­turn­ing to Canada as a teenager. Food and fi­nance are Ra­jan's lifelong pas­sions. His par­ents ran a Nairobi butcher shop and bistro, and he started trad­ing stocks in Kenya when he was just 12. “I've al­ways been a bit of a fi­nance nerd,” he says.

A bach­e­lor of busi­ness man­age­ment with a fi­nance spe­cial­iza­tion from UBC in 2015 led to jobs at Cana­dian Im­pe­rial Bank of Com­merce, RBC Do­min­ion Se­cu­ri­ties and Sen­try In­vest­ments, but Ra­jan spent his own time learn­ing about data sci­ence and blockchain, the dis­trib­uted dig­i­tal ledger be­hind cryp­tocur­ren­cies like bit­coin. With Matthias Kucharska- Huels­mann, Alex Schu­macher and Matthew Unger, he founded icom­ply In­vestor Ser­vices (icom­ply­ico) last Au­gust. The Van­cou­ver-based com­pany aims to au­to­mate and stream­line reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance pro­cesses for dig­i­tal se­cu­ri­ties such as cryp­tocur­ren­cies. Long-term, Ra­jan wants to help cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for blockchain-based tech­nol­ogy to mo­bi­lize cap­i­tal, es­pe­cially in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries like Kenya that lack sound fi­nan­cial in­fra­struc­ture.

THE BOT­TOM LINE: icom­ply­ico has grown from a team of four to 15 and launched its au­to­mated com­pli­ance plat­form, dig­i­tal iden­tity tool and a pri­vate white-la­bel prod­uct. The firm has closed two an­gel in­vest­ment rounds, one from Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc.'s first en­gi­neer, Con­rad Whelan. –D.H.

CFP CEO, CFP) PLC R&D

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