Jolera Inc., which this week captured CDN Channel Elite Awards top prize as Solution Provider of the Year, is hardly Alex Shan’s first business.
About 15 years ago, Shan and his business partner, Joseph Khunaysir started the company with just the two of them out of their own pocket. Their previous venture had just failed.
The problem with their previous effort, Shan said, was the abundance of venture capital funding, in other words, too much money.
Investors, at the time, didn’t leave much room for Shan and Khunaysir to direct the company. Things went south.
With Jolera, the two decided, things would be different.
“We learned a vital lesson,” he explained.
The two founders stuck to slow, organic growth, bringing in one customer at a time and hired one staff member at a time. This time they had much more control.
That is not to say that the company did not have many challenges, however.
Shan noted that for the first five or so years, he and Khunaysir essentially worked for free.
“When you’re a nobody, it’s hard to get time with clients,” Shan said.
But the company built a reputation over time of having a deep portfolio and low overhead.
Today, Jolera offers managed services in servers, networking, firewall, backup and recovery, cloud services and more from offices in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax.
After winning various CDN Channel Elite Awards categories over the years, it also finally won Solution Provider of the Year on Thursday.
“As lucky as we have been over the years, we’ve had an amazing team,” Shan said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”