Involver: A New Frontier in Marketing
Rahim Fazal forged a niche helping advertisers engage customers using new media formats.
Who: Rahim Fazal, 27
Projected 2009 Revenue: Undisclosed
The Pitch: Involver is a brand-marketing program that allows companies to power their Facebook fan pages and profiles with professional, pre-built applications. Involver's suite of customizable, plug-and-play applications includes video players, photo galleries, RSS readers, and poll and quiz modules that can be installed on Facebook pages with the click of a button. The Involver suite offers brands the opportunity to activate their communities, drive promotions and improve engagement, while allowing fans to easily share brand-media amongst friends. Tens of thousands of brands, ad agencies, celebrities, mom-and-pop shops and media companies utilize Involver's freemium and premium tools, including Britney Spears, Sprint, PNG, Best Buy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Startup Story: Rahim Fazal has been an entrepreneur since he started his first business, MailBC, in high school. Fazal grew the web hosting company from 0 clients to 25,000 in one year. While taking finals, enjoying senior year and applying for colleges, he also found time to sell his company for $1.5 million dollars.
Shortly after graduating from high school, Fazal became the youngest student ever accepted to the Richard Ivey School of Business--one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the world--without an undergraduate degree. There, he would ready himself for what he thought would be an entrepreneurial career in Silicon Valley.
However, following his college graduation, Rahim put his entrepreneurial aspirations on hold and instead, joined an innovative start up--a company that placed advertisements in the levels of videogames. Inspired by this new marketing format, Fazal began to think of other ways he could help brands find and engage customer bases in emerging media formats--specifically in the ever-growing social media world
That's when Rahim conceived his next venture: a business that would create new marketing tools for businesses seeking to engage clients on social networks
He, and his partner Noah Horton, left their jobs at the start up, and began building a video distribution tool for Facebook that would insert ads into targeted applications. The first generation Involver platform was born. Since then, Involver has dramatically expanded its product offering and is now both Facebook's largest third-party marketing platform and the social networking site's most-used application suite by brands.
Impressive Stat: Involver's platform helped US Weekly grow its Facebook fan base from 2,700 fans to 250,000 in 4 months.
Founder Fun Facts: During his sophomore year of high school, Rahim worked a part time job at McDonalds. He was fired after less than a month of being on the job. The reason: he was too slow in moving palettes of fries from the freezer to the fryer. Fortunately, this seemed to work out just fine.
Founder's Advice: "The true entrepreneur is a doer not a dreamer."
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Scott Gerber is the founder of Sizzle It!, a New York-based sizzle reel production company specializing in promotional videos for PR and marketing professionals, and the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, columnist, public speaker and author of Never Get a "Real" Job: How To Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke (Wiley, 2010).