Struggle & sacrifice are two words that come to mind when I think of the hardships endured by Tamil parents trying to build a life for their children in Canada. We all know of the Tamil struggle, and for worse or for better, we are different people because we weren't born in Sri Lanka. But for the most part, we can agree that because of our parents' sacrifice, and their continued sacrifice, we've been able to get a significantly higher shot at a better life than they did. In many ways, they are Generation Sacrifice.
Because of our parents' generation experience of escaping war, our’s is also unique. They were all about survival, so we’ve been groomed from a young age to consistently think about our future, our careers, and the ways in which we can establish ourselves for a great livelihood. And because of that, I don’t want to waste the opportunities that have been provided to me. I believe that it's important to be restless in the pursuit towards accomplishing great things and driving impact in this world. And that’s the fire behind my drive, and the reason why I wanted to start my own company. My name is Jenushika Jeyakumaran, and I'm the Co-Founder of the legal tech company, Aleri. Aleri (https://aleri.ca) is a cloud platform that provides outstanding organization of pre-trial notes for trial lawyers, resulting in time and cost savings. My partners in this venture are David Paul & Ian Paul.
How Did Aleri Begin?
It all began when David and I were working as co-op students at RBC in the summer of 2019. Both of us were always interested in entrepreneurship, starting our own companies, and dreaming up the different ways in which we could change the world. He taught me that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, and fueled my mindset with inspirational podcasts and books on tapping into your highest potential. He worked as a Software Developer, and I worked as a Project Control Officer. Given our contrasting backgrounds, we both had strong skill sets in different areas which made us a great team. David approached me initially to work on his podcast, in a marketing capacity, and then on our own company called TableDev which produced customized websites for clients in Toronto. After some trial and error, we moved onto something completely different, and that was Aleri. Aleri born out of the organizational frustrations that David's father, Ian Paul, was experiencing when preparing for trials. David, being the developing wizard he is, whipped up an amazing software that would go on to work wonders for his father's firm as well as his professional network. Throughout the development of the software, we visualized an opportunity to build out a company that would help lawyers not only in Toronto but across the rest of the world.
Challenges We've Faced
Challenge #1: Figuring out the logistics of launching a company while finishing up my last semester of school. The obvious difficulties that came along with this were managing my grades, family time, my attempt at maintaining social connections as well as just being a healthy young adult. I believe this feeling is relatable, but I do feel guilty and torn about wanting to spend more time with my family but having to put those extra hours into my work instead.
Challenge #2: Navigating the Pandemic. When it first happened and the world was castaway into quarantine, it was difficult to know how to push through this whole thing. I had to uproot my life, move back home from school, and work on the company remotely nearly a province away. I'm from Oakville, Ontario, the rest of our company became spread out across Ontario. Falling into our groove of working together remotely took time and was difficult to adjust to in many aspects. I went from having the quiet sanctuary of our office to moving home to my big loud Tamil household of 6, plus our shih tzu named Matcha (get your Tamil Shih Tzu fix on instagram @matchaonthemove. It basically follows the love story of my parents relationship with our dog Matcha).
Challenge #3: Being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Throughout the duration of Aleri, I've learned so much just by pushing myself to do things I normally wouldn't do. There was one week I cold called nearly 1000 people. It was a gruelling process, but I came out stronger, more confident and more comfortable meeting new people. Beyond this, I've become more risk adverse and less afraid to put myself out there. My mindset has grown and expanded to believe in myself and my capabilities. I feel like I'm growing and evolving everyday.
We've made so much progress since our software launch in March. We have our base of customers, and we're helping out several Canadian based firms right now. We have also expanded into the United States and recently into other continents, including Africa. We've been able to stretch our brains and meet many people along the way who have wanted to help us, work with us, teach us more about the legal world and act as mentors to us.
The journey has been really interesting so far. Even the cold calling. I've been learning about how to put on different hats to teach myself different aspects about sales, recruitment, marketing and social media. I've really just been filtering out all of the noise and negativity and I've been treating the world like the oyster it is. I genuinely believe that anything is possible with positivity, persistence and patience.
I'm looking forward to the next step and what's to come. I'm grateful for my parents who held down the fort so that I could try out cool things like this. Most importantly, I'm excited for the future and for what's next to come 🚀✨
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