Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Erin Bury co-founded Willful, an online estate planner

Company HQ: Dundas and Spadina
Founded: 2017
Employees: 7
Users: 5,000

How it works: “Willful saves users a trip to the lawyer’s office by helping them create a legal will online in 20 minutes for $99. It covers all the standard sections, including executors, beneficiaries and guardians, and some optional ones, like burial wishes. Once you’re done, you print it, sign it and store it.”

Eureka moment: “In 2016, my husband’s uncle passed away suddenly. He had a will, but never discussed his burial wishes. Arguing with family over what he would have wanted made us realize more people might plan these things in advance if they could do it easily online.”

How much you spent initially: “My husband and I are co-founders. We raised $90,000, mostly from friends and family, to get things going. That got us our branding and website and covered the legal fees.”

Your turning point: “Early media coverage gave us the bump we needed to make people trust us. More than half of Canadians don’t have a will, so we’re trying to make it part of the same conversations that exist around insurance, financial planning and doing your taxes.”

Your big-time backers: “FounderFuel and a few Shopify executives.”

Tech Jargon you use too much:  “CAC,” which means customer acquisition cost. It sounds pretty profane when you say it out loud, but it looks fine on paper.”

Worst thing about the tech world: “I hate the hustle porn in this industry. People glorify working 24-7 and never taking vacations, but that’s no way to live your life.”

The best advice you’ve received: “ ‘Always ask, because the worst thing someone can say is no.’ I think about this when it comes to investments, partnerships and our customers.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “Before I started Willful, I was working at a PR agency. A friend told me not to abandon my benefits and job stability for something full of uncertainty.”

Your tech role model: “Sarah Prevette. She’s the founder of Future Design School, and she was the first person to hire me for a job in the tech world.”

Your go-to office attire: “I dress professionally, but usually colourfully.”

App you can’t live without: “Receipt Bank. It lets you digitally store your receipts and creates expense reports. I use it every day.”

Past life: “Before I landed in the PR world, I was a tech journalist.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “I used to want to be an ET Canada host.”