Setting up a new business is expensive – there’s no doubt about it. Legal costs alone are enough to blow a startup’s budget out of the ballpark. Damien Andreasen, Co-founder and CEO of Australia’s online legal hub LawPath, is quick to point out that the traditional model of legal services is challenging. Especially for young businesses.
Why is this?
Well firstly (and somewhat obviously), obtaining legal services is expensive. Secondly, there’s very little transparency in how much the legal services will cost your business. It’s not uncommon for businesses to receive a cost estimate and then get hit with a bill that features an additional 10-15%. Thirdly and lastly, the legal processes associated with setting up a business do not really vary case-to-case, (save for minor tweaks regarding a business’ purpose). Damien and his fellow co-founders realised all of this after establishing several tech startups of their own. And to say they were left frustrated with the process and costs incurred, is an understatement.
Damien explains, “It can cost a business thousands of dollars to register a company, put the right shareholder agreement in place, assign your IP to the entity and get all of your employment and commercial contracts in order. In most cases startups haven’t even started trading yet and they’re incurring high legal costs. This money can be better spent developing your product and hiring your first employees to help you grow your business. What’s more, we found that the outcome is almost always the same. We realised that we can take these near identical legal contracts and develop a service that would allow businesses to get the outcome they wanted easier and cheaper. We wanted to commoditize the legal industry.”
This is where LawPath enters the picture. After spending one and a half years in product development, LawPath’s online legal hub was released into market in 2015.
Today, the online legal hub provides businesses with access to a range of legal services including over 200 legal documents, fixed-price legal quotes from their network of 600 expert lawyers, Company Registration, Trademark and Patent applications. What’s more, their intelligent Legal Health Check monitor allows businesses to interactively identify their legal gaps in minutes.
“LawPath is shaking up the information monopoly that was traditionally held by lawyers. We make it easy for people to find the document they need and allow them to customise it on the spot, within minutes. Once a document has been drafted, customers then have the option to get a lawyer to review it, or alternatively, do additional amendments. To enable this, we go out to our network of 600 lawyers, ask for three fixed-price quotes and return these to the customer – all within four hours,” Damien explains.
The Australian business landscape can’t get enough of LawPath’s democratised legal services and fixed pricing model. To date, LawPath has saved its 15,000 customers in excess of 6 million dollars.
Damien credits a large portion of LawPath's success to testing. The company worked hard to validate their product market fit before jumping into development. Lean, rapid iterations on different ideas was part of their strategy from the start. They worked to validate every idea in market through A/B testing on landing pages and direct customer feedback.
“We attended CeBIT 2013, when we were still very new. We had no brand recognition in the marketplace. What was important to us was the chance to get in front of thousands of people; to let them touch and look at our product. We had lawyers come past our stand, a huge amount of SMEs and other startups. CeBIT helped us understand what their needs and pain-points were, and as an added bonus we secured 300 leads! The immediate feedback that was provided was critical to our product development roadmap. So to new Founders I say, get as much feedback from your customers as fast as you can and don’t rush into developing a product that customers don’t want - validate before you commit your resources,” says Damien.
You can expect to see more of Lawpath at CeBIT 2016.