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Company Story: How I Got the Idea to Start Kaitongo

Two weeks ago, I launched Kaitongo ClientConnect to the world, and we began onboarding our first three beta customers. It’s been an exciting, hectic, and energizing time, but I wanted to take a step back and share how it is that we got to this point. In other words, where did I get the idea to build an AI-powered business development tool for lawyers?

The original inspiration for creating this product came from watching my husband over the past 20 years build his law practice. Whether he was at a big firm or a smaller one, the same problem was always there. He was responsible for finding his own clients and building his own book of business, which meant many hours were spent selling and building relationships, instead of billing and practicing law.

Being married to the law profession, meant I felt the pains of the profession up close – aggressive billable hourly targets, feast or famine, no time for marketing or keeping in touch with clients, and the resulting frustration of business going elsewhere, even after investing time and energy building that relationship. I would say to my husband, “Why can’t someone else write the emails to help build and maintain your pipeline?”

So in 2014, after I exited my first business, Evalueserve Canada, I founded Kikeri Marketing Partners, a consultancy to provide outsourced market intelligence services to law firms. I had the opportunity to offer consultation to a top 10 Bay Street firm, where I interviewed partners, business development directors, knowledge management professionals and librarians and learnt that the tools, training, and methodology that were taken for granted in other professional services firms simply did not exist in law. Furthermore the billable demands and the related financial models of partnership structures meant that no “people” solution alone could fulfill the requirements. And thus, the idea behind Kaitongo was born.

We started out with a simple idea to use technology to poll numerous industry specific sources and Twitter handles, and surface content relevant to lawyers about their target companies. The key word being ‘industry specific’ so lawyers could actually fulfil client requests to “know their business”. As we discussed our initial concept with lawyers, the feedback was that they already received way too much news from too many sources and most of the time simply did not have the time to read any of it. This lead us to the issue of “relevance” and “so what”. We built a decision tree to identify opportunity triggers in the content which lead us to using machine learning and artificial intelligence to address the “so what”. The resulting Kaitongo ClientConnect platform uses an “analyst+artificial intelligence” construct to identify only content that’s relevant to lawyers for their business development and client outreach efforts and tell them why they should read it and how they can use it.

Our product is launched and we are looking forward to engaging with lawyers, both to receive feedback and to evolve the product to meet the specific requirements of various use cases.

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