SeedLegals is the world’s first platform that lets founders and investors easily create, negotiate and sign all the legal agreements they need to manage a funding round. In just three years since it was founded, it is now the largest closer of funding rounds in the UK. Co-founder Anthony Rose tells Substribe (ahead of his keynote at the Substribe Summit on 29 April 2020) that building a successful subs proposition is all about catering to different tastes.
“Think how a law firm would solve this problem…then do the opposite.”
So how did SeedLegals co-founder and serial entrepreneur, Anthony Rose, go about building a disruptive legal subscriptions proposition? “Think how a law firm would solve this problem…then do the opposite.”
Certainly, subscriptions work fantastically well for all the smaller things you need all the time (employee agreements, NDAs, cap table, share certificates, etc.), particularly in a legal environment where some really rather day-to-day operations are needlessly time-consuming – and expensive – when processed in the standard billable hours format.
“One of the most interesting things about this business model is what should be on subscription and what should be a one off,” Anthony says. “There are some services people need all the time, and others they want only occasionally.”
Flexibility is important – there are some customers willing to jump right in and have everything taken care of by subscription, others just aren’t quite ready to commit yet.
What you need, when you need it
Anthony says the key is in the growing band of ‘… As A Service’ propositions. Software as a Service, or SaaS, is so compelling because businesses have looked at the number of tech challenges they face in this day and age, looked at their own, creaking tech stacks and wondered how on earth they drag themselves into the 21st century.
SaaS comes along and says: You don’t have to buy a cripplingly expensive system, try to tie it to your existing kit and hope that it stays relevant for at least the next five years. Instead, simply plug into our technology, run what you need to through us, we’ll keep investing in the latest tech so you can stay up to date and even pivot if you need to.
For the customer, the original proposition was subscribing to the latest tech at a manageable cost, but the added value of data management, always-on access, beefed up security and flexibility makes it worth so much more.
“There is the perceived immediate benefit, then the intangible benefits that come in on top,” says Anthony, revealing that in SeedLegals’ case the immediate benefit might be an NDA, but the intangible benefits include the fact that all client documents are stored securely in the cloud. Everything is there, signed, with start and end dates all eminently searchable at the touch of a button, instead of buried in a filing cabinet in the basement.
“There is the perceived immediate benefit, then the intangible benefits that come in on top,”
“Subs work well when you’re showing people that they are paying for something that solves their utility problem but with added platform benefits. It transforms the way they do things. Companies that offer SaaS are always-on so that ultimately changes the way you structure your business and you end up consuming more of it.” Good news for SeedLegals, one of a growing clutch of LaaS – Law as a Service.
Leaving the door open
Just when it all sounds rosy in the world of subscriptions, Anthony goes on to say something quite surprising. “To get the most out of subscriptions, it’s easy to be complacent and champion the fact that people are subscribing but the next chance you have to show your value is when they unsubscribe.”
He’s not talking about driving customers away, but instead, about showing upfront that you’re not about to hold them hostage. Lock-ins might be attractive from a predicted future revenue perspective but it’s short-term gain for long-term pain.
“As a user of many subscriptions myself, there are two things uppermost in my mind. If I start, how can I stop and how simple is it for me to try before I buy,” he says, bemoaning the need to commit payment details even for a trial period, something SeedLegals doesn’t do. “Then what happens to my data if I unsubscribe – will I get it back?” Anthony points out an issue that’s not uncommon for many of us – a blip in cashflow – where companies may have to halt a subscription. Do they really have to start over?
The information economy
For those looking to disrupt a market, Anthony says you could do a lot worse than choosing to base at least some of your revenue generation on the subscription model: “Investors love companies with a subscriptions model.
“Investors love companies with a subscriptions model”
Subscriptions also provide an added dimension to a company’s value that could be of interest to those potential investors. “It’s about feeding information back into the ecosystem,” Anthony says, explaining that with the amount of activity flowing through the SeedLegals platform, it’s a golden opportunity to use that data to learn more about customers, more about growing legal needs and challenges.
“There are hundreds of thousands of documents that we can take information from [fully data privacy compliant, of course] that help us operate more intelligently,” Anthony insists. “it’s not about selling, it’s about leveraging information, aggregating it in an anonymous form and while customers are paying for a solution, they’re also helping transform the space.”
Anthony will be a keynote speaker at the Substribe Summit – the future of b2b subscriptions on 29 April 2020 held in London. The Summit is the only global b2b event dedicated to those who are serious about growing profits and developing deeper customer relationships from subscriptions. It exists to give people the ideas, insights and network to help them find a path to subscription success and make strides into the future. More information can be found on the dedicated website: www.substribe-summit.co
This interview was conducted and written by Morag Cuddeford-Jones for Substribe.