Recent grad Jenushika Jeyakumaran co-founded Aleri after hearing about hearing about a problem that a criminal defence lawyer had preparing for trials. She and her co-founder David Paul quickly took that insight and turned it into a real product that is currently helping lawyers with their cases. They initially bootstrapped the company and then got additional funding with a $30K grant from the Accelerator Centre (part of the Jumpstart program), with having a goal of raising more money to accelerate their traction.
Tell us how the idea of Aleri started. How did you end up creating a product in the legal space? (not typically a space you think of innovating in)
Aleri was born when my co-founder’s dad, a criminal defence lawyer, told us about a problem he experienced during work. Preparing for trials – particularly his cross examination, was time consuming, tedious and difficult because there was no specialized tool for lawyers to use. There was only generic programs like MS Word or Google Docs, which were not engineered for lawyers. He ended up deferring to using large physical paper pads (the kind that teachers often used) so that he could see everything in one place. It became really evident in that moment, of the gap that existed in the legal market.
The three of us decided to address the problem and create the solution. We had a criminal defence attorney (aka a subject matter expert), a software developer and me – a communications and marketing specialist, covering the essential roles needed to kickstart our startup company.
Why did you not work for a bigger tech company or startup before launching Aleri?
Throughout University I worked for bigger organizations like TD and RBC, really enjoying it. However, I found one of my biggest sources of joy to be working on my own company. I like the challenge. I really enjoy interacting with leads and clients. It’s just really exciting making and selling your own product. The process of the startup journey has been an amazing personal experience. Also, I figured, if i was ever going to start a company right now in my 20s is the perfect time.
How did the founding team come together? How do you go about recruiting other team members to join?
I met my co-founder, David Paul, while working at my RBC co-op during my final year of university. We met our other employees through our personal network, and then found co-op students by networking with school program coordinators.
Have you noticed a difference in being in tech and a female co-founder, than say you male counterparts?
I find that there’s a huge sense of support from tech communities and within the Tamil community being a female tech founder, which is awesome. 🙂
How long did it take for you to generate revenue? What is the revenue model?
I think 3-4 months to start to find our footing and get into the rhythm of doing outbound sales. Also, I was still in my last year of school when we started, so it wasn’t until after I graduated that I was able to focus full time on Aleri. Our revenue model is subscription based, charged on a per user, per monthly basis.
Are you a bootstrapped company? If so, are you looking to raise money? What would make you raise money?
Initially we bootstrapped, then we got funded with a $30,000 grant from the Accelerator Centre, as a part of the Jumpstart program. We are definitely looking to raise money. I’d love to have the resources to do full blown marketing and to hire a bunch of people to expand our team.