WALTA: How to build, scale and fund a legal tech company

If you haven’t yet read the Women of Australian LegalTech Association’s (WALTA) playbook on how to build a successful business I would recommend that you do – whether you are male or female.

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WALTA launched in April this year and the book is a collaboration between some of Australia’s top legal tech talent, bringing together all of their learning on the do’s and don’ts of creating and growing a successful legal tech business.

The playbook starts with some advice on how to structure your legaltech company, and how to work out the timing of the build and launch, taking into account factors from your personal life. It also addresses one of the issues that plagues many founders – striving for perfection. “Done is better than perfect,” say the authors of the preamble, adding: “Going forward in a startup venture with a productive rather perfectionist mindset is absolutely key to getting anywhere at all.”

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There are lots of tips around culture, from celebrating the small wins, to embracing a blameless culture to enable individuals to operate with flexibility and autonomy. Personally, I like the reference to becoming obsessed with the problem, not with selling a solution – if I could pinpoint one consistent startup failure, it would be this, and this is just the preamble to the playbook.

The other chapters cover how to build your legaltech product or service, including a great explanation of a minimum viable product and why, in fact, you should build a minimum loveable product. “In a crowded market like LegalTech, it is worth striving to release MLPs instead of MVPs,” say the authors.

Julie Somerville, creator of Andie Assists trauma-informed chatbots, talks through her experiences of validating the concept and some dos and don’ts, as well as FAQs that include a look at the different type of MVPs are (fake door; the concierge; and the ‘wizard of Oz’ – who knew).

The chapter on finding your LegalTech tribe is extremely valuable for women founders, who often feel isolated in their journey. Karen Finch, founder of Legally Yours, says: “Finding your tribe is so important, particularly if you are a solo founder or in the early days of building your legal tech start-up. Your tribe will be there to celebrate your success, keep you motivated during the challenging times, and support you along your entire journey.”

There is a chapter on how to resource your LegalTech start-up, which includes a look at everything from how to build a cohesive team (what are the core strengths of current team members? What are the skillsets that are lacking? Is it financially viable to outsource the skillsets that are lacking? Do you need someone in a part time or full time capacity to fill needs?) to accountants and office space.

The report also looks at marketing, funding and scaling your business, where Jodie Baker, founder of Xakia shares some of the tips that have enabled Xakia’s impressive growth. The additional resources include links to how to become a Microsoft partner and a SaaS content library.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Baker said: “This playbook is an unbelievable example of women coming together and is relevant to any woman wanting to build a company: you can pick it up any time in your journey.”

You can download the playbook here: https://alta.law/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Walta_2G_30November2022.pdf

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