Jolera expansion was all about culture, people, and passion
Joseph Khunaysir - II Part - blog
April 3, 2023

In part I of the Jolera Interview Series, we had an exclusive sit-down with Jolera’s founder, President, and CTO Joseph Khunaysir, as he detailed Jolera’s beginnings and growth from the Dot-Com tech bubble. For part 2, he explores the reasoning for Jolera’s recent European expansion.

Khunaysir reiterates that the priority for Jolera has always been the Canadian market. With the joint expertise of his business partner, CEO Alex Shan, they understood when the organization reached a certain point in its journey, expansion became the next logical progression. 

Jolera took the path less traveled, setting its sights on Western Europe – more, specifically Porto, Portugal. Typically, most Canadian companies expand to Canadian regions, to the United States, or a combination of both countries.

According to Khunaysir, Jolera’s direction did not include crossing our border south; the company was looking for strategic assets instead of just a direct boost in sales revenues.

“The motivating factor for Jolera to look at Portugal was the level of expertise and capacity in that country,” Khunaysir said.

Porto is best known for its port wine, but Jolera found the second largest city in Portugal to be a rich base of IT expertise. Porto is also one of the bigger urban centres in the Iberian Peninsula. Through an existing relationship with a channel partner in Porto, Khunaysir and Shan were able to develop a European base of operation that has grown exponentially over time.

“What we love about the area is the culture, people, and passion that they have for technology services,” Khunaysir added.  

For the two innovators, Shan and Khunaysir found that there were more advantages to Porto than met the eye. There is also a diversity of IT skill sets and an excellent ability to operate in multiple languages.

A secondary benefit is the time zone difference between the Iberian Peninsula (Central European) to Jolera headquarters in Toronto (Eastern). This enables Jolera to run a normal day of business with meetings and other scheduled activities. It also took the pressure off Jolera’s night shift crew that moved to the team in Porto.

“Expanding to Portugal [simply] made it easier to perform any duties during the normal working day,” Khunaysir said.

The Porto team proved to be even more valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in Canada. Jolera’s European operations were not under such strict lockdowns, which assisted in offsetting some of the challenges facing the Toronto team.

Make sure to watch Part II of the Jolera Interview Series featuring Jolera founder Joseph Khunaysir as he discusses how the European expansion helped the company provide more value to MSPs and channel partners with as-a-service solutions.

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