Other U of T alums on the list: Shopify's Satish Kanwar, Massdrop's Steve El-Hage, ROSS Intelligence's Jimoh Ovbiagele, and Cover's Ben Aneesh.
The co-founders of Toronto-based startup Exact Media, which has been described as the Airbnb of marketing, have been named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list of the young innovators and “change-makers” who are redefining industries from marketing to healthcare and education.
They are among several U of T alumni that made it to the list this year. U of T alumni were recognized in categories like consumer technology, law & policy, marketing and advertising, and retail and ecommerce.
Daniel Rodic and Elena Sahakyan are two of the four co-founders of Exact Media, a Toronto-based e-commerce sampling and coupon company. The two, who are graduates of U of T's Rotman Commerce program, were cited in the marketing and advertising category.
Exact Media buys excess space inside parcels that are being delivered to people who have made online purchases. The company then tucks samples of branded products into those spots. Brands pay Exact to find these spaces so that people purchasing towels online may receive a sample of Tide detergent or someone buying a swimsuit may get a bottle of Olay sunscreen.
The company's investors include Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, and it serves clients like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, PepsiCo, L'Oréal, Pfizer and Mondelez,
In a recent profile in the Winter 2017 issue of U of T Magazine, Rodic says his career path was changed when he was accepted into The Next 36, an intensive entrepreneurship program co-founded by Ajay Agrawal, the Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management.
“Through The Next 36, I got funding to start my first business, and that’s what pushed me toward a more entrepreneurial path,” Rodic says.
Rodic says the company grew out of discussions with an executive at Beyond the Rack, an online clothing retailer. The retailer was looking at ways of providing its customers with cosmetics samples. Together, they realized they could slip the samples into Beyond the Rack’s parcels.
With strong financial backing, Exact Media is planning to expand beyond North America within the next 18 months, possibly targeting the United Kingdom, Western Europe or Asia.
Other U of T alumni who made it on the Forbes list this year include Shopify's director of product Satish Kanwar in the all-star alumni category, Massdrop co-founder Steve El-Hage in the consumer technology category, ROSS Intelligence co-founder Jimoh Ovbiagele in law & policy, and Cover co-founder Ben Aneesh.