So, you have got to the point where you have a viable business and have identified/are looking for early-stage investment. Congratulations! Most new businesses don’t make it to this stage of the journey.
You now need to close the investment round, and for that you need high quality legal documents, produced in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner. Where do you find this? Until recently, there was little choice: you had to find a lawyer, make an appointment, attend a meeting, negotiate a fee and finally wait for the instruction letter to be written and sent.
I often get asked the question: how do you know if the lawyer you choose is right for you? As with anything in life, there are good lawyers and less good lawyers. You may be lucky and find someone who truly understands and is interested in your business. Alternatively, you may end up being advised by someone without the right skill set and/or who sees you as not much more than a source of profit. In my 20 years as a commercial lawyer, I have been approached by many founders who have experienced both the former and the latter.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many excellent lawyers out there and much of the generic criticism they receive is either unfounded or unfair. Many are highly qualified, intelligent, commercial people who have worked hard over many years to become a key part of our economy’s success. Very few are rotten eggs.
However, almost all lawyers who are worth talking to have two things in common – they are busy and they are expensive. Yes, they can provide overall value for money in the wider sense as the client-lawyer relationship develops over time. But for early stage businesses, with strict budgeting requirements, this is usually not enough to justify the hefty fees involved.
Then we have technology. The legal sector is often criticised for being a late adopter of technology. It is now playing catch-up; looking for ways to automate in-house processes and manage resources to reduce costs and drive efficiencies. Because of the slow uptake of technology, there are an increasing number of businesses offering disruptive plays into the legal sector. A great example is Farewill, an online-only service that helps customers to compile a Will in less than 15 minutes. Farewill has only been around for five years, but in that short amount of time it has become the top Will writer in the UK, estimated to now have an incredible 10% market share. A great disruptive play!
Hence why FounderCatalyst came into being. Our platform, like Farewill, breaks down the legal process into logical stages and takes founders through the process in a clear and rational sequence. The platform guides you through your journey, without over-complicating the process or bombarding you with confusing lawyer jargon. Importantly, it removes the cost and delays that exist in the traditional law firm model. The FounderCatalyst platform workflows have been designed exclusively around the production of all the necessary legal documents and forms, which are constantly reviewed and updated to maximise your experience.
Because FounderCatalyst does not have the fixed costs of a traditional law firm approach, our offering is extremely competitive. In my professional opinion, the quality of our service is up there with the best that traditional law firms can provide for anywhere near a comparable cost. Law firms often charge at least five times as much; sometimes a lot more. To make anything near a profit at this price level, they’d almost certainly use a junior lawyer for most of the work. That is the big inefficiency of the traditional lawyer model.
How can I be so sure about this? I have been a corporate lawyer for the past 20 years, having worked in some of the UK’s biggest firms and some smaller ones. I am passionate about working with business founders and helping them to succeed when the odds are stacked against them.
That’s why I am hugely proud to be part of the FounderCatalyst team.
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