Every company was once a start-up. Incubated right here in Toronto, Jolera Inc. is no different. Jolera got its start back in 2001 during the Dot-Com tech crash – a time where IT market capitalization saw over $5 trillion in losses. During this time, IT spending was at an all-time low. Jolera took this opportunity to conceptualize what we now know as an international, high-quality service provider with a strong team of industry professionals. Company founder, President, and CTO Joseph Khunaysir sits down with the Jolera Interview Series to share some key moments on this Journey.
Becoming a company that provided customers with top-quality product offers and services for a flat monthly fee was what customers were looking for at the time:
“[Services and an] outcome with a fixed pricing model,” he added.
Accompanied by his business partner, Jolera CEO Alex Shan, as well as a small team of believers, Khunaysir embarked on this service-led business. Jolera gained traction and began to be noticed by the early clients: High-profile nonprofits such as Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the largest indoor agricultural fair in the world.
From there, Jolera was able to get a key reference point for other customers interested in fixed-cost managed services, Khunaysir explained. This led to another big win for Jolera: the much-anticipated World Youth Day organization that brought Pope John Paul II to Toronto in 2002.
With these two major customers, other nonprofits started to show strong interest in Jolera.
“A lot of customers followed, and these customers needed IT help, but the new model was enticing; From those two initial customers we built from there,” he said.
Nonprofits and charities helped build Jolera’s foundation as a company. According to Khunyasir, the key to Jolera’s growth was the growth of their non-profit customers and their success working with Jolera.
“It catapulted us. They started recommending us to other organizations. As we grew, the team at Jolera sharpened the fixed cost, as-a-service model, and we were able to mature in the market. In those economic times, people were cost-conscious, and they wanted to know if they paid [a certain fee], that they would get [a clearly defined set of services],” Khunaysir said.
Jolera did not rest there. The company furthered its vision through managed services providers and solution providers in the channel. Khunyasir and the leadership team began to see channel partners embracing the monthly managed services model and began to partner with Jolera adding new solutions to their own portfolio.
The first major company to work with Jolera was Dell Canada. The success of this partnership led to Jolera’s being awarded the 2015 Dell Canadian Partner of the Year award.
Like true innovators, Shan and Khunaysir continued to explore how they could expand Jolera with this new channel strategy.
“As it took off, we gained a lot of momentum. We began to realize we couldn’t do both. We needed to choose to be partner-led and this enabled us to grow our services and strengthen our bench,” he added.
Jolera began to reach out to the partner community to build its channel business from there.
For Khunaysir the growth, risks, and challenges from Jolera’s beginnings were all well worth the effort, providing the company with effective leadership, a strong roster of collaborative channel partners, and state-of-the-art fixed cost, as-a-service solutions that are relevant in the market.
So what’s next for Jolera? Make sure to tune into part two of Joseph Khunaysir’s exclusive interview on the next episode of the Jolera Interview Series, where he talks about the company’s expansion plans, challenges, and vision.
By Paolo Del Nibletto