[Startup Bharat] With clients like Flipkart and Instamojo, Ahmedabad-based LegalWiz.in is making starting up easier
India is home to the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world, after the US and China. Having said that, about 90 percent of startups fail to perform. According to a study by Forbes, the lack of innovation is the major cause of failure of these startups.
Not only entrepreneurs have to be innovative but also comply with several registrations, tax, and labour laws. Thus, it becomes extremely tiring and difficult for startup founders to focus on growth and innovation while ensuring 100 percent compliance.
Enter Ahmedabad-headquartered.in. Founded on April 02, 2015, LegalWiz.in focusses on making legal compliance simple, affordable, and transparent for early-stage startups and small businesses.
“Businesses should be doing what they are good at and leave the back-office and compliance work to us,” Co-founder Shrijay Sheth says.
Born to a family of entrepreneurs, Shrijay always dreamt of building his own business. But, he chose to get his degree first and gain substantial experience before starting up. He did his post-graduate diploma in Investment and Financial Analysis from the Gujarat University and later did his MBA in Corporate Finance from the San Diego State University, California.
Post his MBA studies, Shrijay worked with a legaltech company – LegalZoom, as the Financial and Business Analytics Consultant for five years. After returning home, Shrijay founded Hire4Higher Consulting, a boutique analytics and strategy consulting firm.
“I went through the process of registering my business and realised that many first-generation entrepreneurs in India lack quality service providers within their immediate network,” he says.
Meanwhile, he met Namann Pipara, who ran his conventional CA firm, Pipara & Company, at a business networking event in 2014. “It struck us immediately; with my background in legal ecommerce and his expertise as a CA, we could create a strong base for offering better services. That is how we created a comprehensive business professional solution,” Shrijay says.
Thus, the duo started LegalWiz in 2015.
At present, the team is 30-plus employees strong, including in-house professionals such as chartered accountants, company secretaries, lawyers, marketing experts, web developers, and designers. Besides, the company also has 50-plus affiliates.
“Ahmedabad attracts professionals from major neighbouring cities of Gujarat and Rajasthan, making it easier for us to find candidates,” Shrijay adds.
LegalWiz.in offers services that include business registration for startups and SMEs, obtaining tax and government registrations, and ensuring regular filings.
The startup also has specialists who advise on intellectual property rights that enable businesses to secure trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
Further, it offers customised legal document drafting, online book-keeping, and fulfiling yearly compliance needs for LLPs and Private Limited Companies. Recently, LegalWiz.in has added other services which include ISO certification for quality assurance and FSSAI registration for the foodtech companies.
Shrijay says the startup doesn’t charge any hidden costs. For a Private Limited Company’s registration, it charges Rs 6,000. Further, it charges an annual compliance fee of Rs 4,599, GST return filing fees of Rs 799 monthly, copyright registration fees of Rs 4,699, and more. These costs include professional fees, GST, and other government charges.
Most of these services have different packages to select from.
How does it work
LegalWiz.in’s marketing and content teams are primarily tasked to generate leads through various online and offline channels. These teams also create content relevant to day-to-day challenges faced by businesses, related to legal and compliance matters.
Within the operations team, the startup has a dedicated client-facing department where professionals (also known as ‘advisors on-call’) advise current, as well as prospective clients for free-of-cost.
Further, the operations team, along with a nationwide network of professional firms, execute client tasks. The team members are assigned particular clients that they have to work with, are responsible for keeping the clients updated with the process, and regularly communicate with them.
“Our greatest value addition is a dedicated account manager to each service order, who would ensure standard quality of delivery throughout the entire process,” Shrijay says.
A number game
According to Shrijay, to date, LegalWiz.in has over 5,000 paying clients and over 30,000 MSME registrations on its website. LegalWiz.in’s client list includes startups like eChai and CricHeros. It’s larger clients include , Bank of Baroda, Vyapaar Samachar, and .
Since its inception, the startup has doubled its annual growth. In 2018, LegalWiz.in recorded a 20 percent growth each quarter. Currently, the startup is bootstrapped.
Shrijay says, at present, the company is profitable.
“Our cash burn is restricted to marketing and new technology build-out. We have a high percentage of customer satisfaction, thus, our word-of-mouth branding is strong. It helps us to lower our acquisition costs and enables us to pass on the advantage of reduced operational costs to our clients,” he adds.
Recently, LegalWiz.in was invited by Startup India to provide feedback on improving processes for starting up and managing businesses in the country.
Market overview and future plans
The legaltech market is huge and holds space for multiple players. LegalWiz.in competes with the likes of Business Setup, Vakilsearch, Indiafillings, LawRato, and Cleartax. However, Shrijay says that the startup’s USP is its team of professionals.
“Our team strives to provide the highest quality services and answer customer queries personally, unlike others, who have sales-driven call centres as an extended service. The CS, CAs, and lawyers address the customer queries, and provide help to even those who are not our customers yet,” Shrijay says.
Further, LegalWiz.in plans to introduce tech-based products that can be sold in a SaaS model. “It will open new dimensions of the revenue stream for the company in the coming months,” he says.
As it becomes more inclusive as a business model and targets to hyper-grow as a full-service and software provider, LegalWiz.in will be looking for funding options soon.
(Edited by Suman Singh)