Ahead of Elevate Toronto, Razor Suleman says Canada needs to brag more about its tech accomplishments (#BetaKit1on1)

Razor Suleman BetaKit 1on1

Our latest instalment of #BetaKit1on1 turns from Michael Serbinis to another exited founder making moves in Canada’s innovation space: Razor Suleman.

After selling his company Achievers for $140 million in 2015, Suleman dedicated himself to promoting and building the Canadian tech ecosystem.

Today, he is most known as the founder of the Spotlight Awards and the co-founder and CEO of Elevate Toronto, a three-day festival aimed at showcasing the best of Canadian innovation to the world.

“I’m the product of great mentors.”

In the video below, Suleman suggests success doesn’t come without great mentors, and great mentors are often other entrepreneurs “who have built game-changing companies.”

“I’ve always said, ‘I’m the product of great mentors,’” Suleman says. “I think as entrepreneurs, it’s one of those unique professions that there’s very few people that have built, started, grown, and scaled a company. And so there’s not a lot of places you can go other than the people that have done it.”

On what the Canadian tech ecosystem needs more of, Suleman says it’s the belief that we can build global, game-changing companies.

“What we do lack is the belief in Canada that you can build a globally-scaled, important company.”

“I think that what we do lack is the belief in Canada that you can build a globally-scaled, important company that’s going to change an industry,” says Suleman. “We don’t always think as big as we can and I think that really, the cultural belief around what’s possible… is our biggest limitation.”

When thinking about how Canada can build more unicorns, Suleman says entrepreneurs that are building massive, disruptive companies need to stay focused and make sure they utilize their resources to help the country’s ecosystem thrive.

“We need the companies that are on track of building meaningful companies to continue to stay focused and then when it’s right to exit, to put those resources back in the ecosystem, to mentor those young entrepreneurs, to be angel investors, to give their VCs a meaningful return so that they have bigger funds to invest in Canadian companies,” says Suleman. “I mean that’s what makes the ecosystem thrive. Success begets success.”

Watch the full video below:

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.