EasyLaw pivots to an online marketplace model, connects legal & tax experts with clients
First time entrepreneurs face a plethora of challenges while setting up their maiden ventures. Dealing with legalities, accounts, taxes etc. eat up a significant time of novice entrepreneurs. Motivated to solve this pain point, Ridhish Talwar and Dhruv Jain launched Easylaw in 2011 to offer standardized legal services to clients. For over two years, the startup was merely a service provider. It has recently pivoted to a platform similar to a marketplace where experts can create profiles to showcase their skills/specializations to clients.
EasyLaw primarily connects clients with specialist professionals in their proximity by using its algorithms which detect user’s/client’s location. It notifies experts based on distance and matching skill sets once the clients post their requirement.
Additionally, experts build their profile and skills by contributing content (posting answers, writing articles, uploading documents) and winning feedback enabled projects. “This enables clients to comprehensively judge the suitability of experts to their particular needs while ensuring an easy and practical engagement,” says Dhurv.
Prior to launching EasyLaw, Ridhish and Dhurv worked in the financial service sector across London and Delhi for about seven years. Ridhish had also co-founded a gaming brand called ‘The Shark’.
The startup’s initial focus is to approach experts to create profiles. “Even though we have an extremely large database of experts (amassed from earlier avatar), our approach is to go slow due to the chicken and egg problem, which platforms usually face in their early stages,” says Dhurv. EaslyLaw aspires to bring about 1,000 registered experts within the next few months.
“At present, our focus is not on revenue generation but on getting a decent database of active experts. The idea is to facilitate satisfactory replies/quotations to the users with the assistance of our unique algorithms,” adds Ridhish. The only revenue generating feature it offers is for feedback enabled projects. EasyLaw charges Rs. 99 to a client wishing to post such project.
“The reason for charging feedback enabled projects is that RBI prohibits a PayPal type of escrow service for INR settlements. Due to this, EasyLaw is forced to let clients and experts pay and receive payments off-platform,” points out Dhurv.
Ridhish describes pivot as the biggest risk taken by the duo. “In early 2013, we decided to take EasyLaw 1.0 version offline. At that time we were almost breaking even and were ranking well in search engine results. We took this risk because EasyLaw was able to cater to very few (about 20%) queries that we were receiving,” adds Ridhish. Besides this, the prevalent regulation prohibited EasyLaw from providing litigation related services to its clients.
EasyLaw faces a big challenge when an expert, who received a negative review, is able to post new projects from a dummy account and leave glowing reviews essentially by ‘gaming’ the system. To deter such activity, the startup decided to charge for feedback enabled projects. EasyLaw monitors projects to spot such malpractices and will continue to tweak the system as it gets more data.