Serial entrepreneur Akshat Singhal, (23) embarked on his first venture while still in his second year of college. He still gets his high from building things from scratch, working on his own, and rising up to work things out again. He says:
While pursuing engineering, I was exposed to a lot of opportunities and fellow entrepreneurs who showed me the exciting side of starting up. Learning from failures, working hard and rising up to successfully work out things again has always been a driver for me.
In August 2013, he started GetLegal, an online QnA platform to help individuals and businesses solve queries and get solutions through lawyers or law students. The idea stemmed from Akshat’s inability to scale his previous startup, owing to the time wasted in taking care of legal formalities.
But Akshat wanted to create more value, especially for newer businesses and startups. With the same goal, from 2014 to 2015, Akshat and his team at GetLegal started helping smaller businesses with their legal grievances. What they received in return was knowledge about the legal pain points for startups.
Leveraging this knowledge, in August 2015, Akshat and his batch mate Ritesh (23) and GNU graduate Ravindra Purohit (25) co-created Legistify, a completely automated online agreement-making platform.
Treating legality with technology
Launched in 2016, the online agreement-making platform asks users a series of questions based on which the agreement gets simultaneously produced at the backend. Akshat tells us that there isn’t any template involved in it with the agreement completely created on the spot by technology.
Using the service, getting a fresh sign up entitles you to get the first agreement done for free. Additionally, the average ticket size for making agreements for the company is anything in between Rs 1,000-1,500. According to Akshat, this is 60- 70 per cent cheaper than current market prices.
Legistify on its platform also offers a 15-day warranty where users can change anything on their agreements (if incorrect) within 15 days of creating them.
At present, the platform is still in its Beta stage and supports 30 different types of agreements pertaining to startups and businesses requirements. This includes hiring agreements, managing IP (Intellectual Property), office rental, warehousing rental, and service and commercial agreements related to marketing and partnership agreements.
However, according to the founders, in the next two months, the platform will grow to support 300 different types of agreements across new domains while improving on the current ones (like IP management). The new agreements are expected to help startups with starting a business and closing a business, while also comprising newer domains allowing individuals to hire external help and settle disputes through agreements.
The venture also raised an undisclosed amount in December 2015 as part of a seed round. The round was led by Polyplex, and Ranjit Singh, who happens to be a director with Polyplex.
The coming months
Since its inception in January, Legistify has created close to 700 legal agreements of which 70-80 per cent were free for first-time users. Of these, there have been offline requests from 25-30 startups for assistance with incorporation.
The average ticket size for offline requests is close to Rs 5,000-15,000 owing to the legal experts involved in the process.
As of now, the platform is B2C, but the business is looking to introduce its B2B version in the coming two months. The B2B version will produce tailor-made agreements for businesses, which are handy especially for businesses like payment gateways where several merchant agreements need to be produced.
The platform will also allow businesses to automate and track the number of agreements made along with the agreements pending signature.
On the B2C side, the customers can expect the following additional features on the platform while making the agreement:
- Home Deliveries
- Facility to e-sign the agreement
- Inserting a specific clause request
- Collaborating to a particular agreement: Two or more parties having accounts on the platform can negotiate on the changes made in the agreement online
The bigger vision for the founders is creating an online legal market place where customers can also seek help from trained lawyers and CA experts for guidance with agreements. They say that since their agreements are made around businesses processes, each process will have 15-20 top-notch experts when the marketplace is launched. They are looking to start adding experts in Delhi first and then taking their presence to other cities. Despite being an online entity, each region they expand to requires a different approach keeping the difference in rules and regulations between states.
By the end of this year, Legistify aims to help 1,000 startups with their legal processes.
With companies like RoadRunnr facing a rickety ride over copyright infringement and intellectual property, legal checks for startups are becoming increasingly important. Startups like MeetUrPro, Vakilsearch, IndiaFilings, Pathlegal and bCompliance are some of the ventures in this space. There are also startups like VenturEasy which help in company registrations and LawRato.com which is a marketplace of verified lawyers. However, looking at investments, there doesn’t seem to be much interest from investors in India in the legal tech space.
With the US believed to be scooping up the highest amount of investments in this segment (> $254 million in 2014), it will be interesting to see how this sector involves or attracts the attention of Indian investors in the future.