Starting a business requires more than just a seemingly endless amount of time, but often also a significant amount of money. This commonly results in Founders taking shortcuts, and at times, that means a lot of do-it-yourself work. When this happens, entrepreneurs can occasionally get carried away, even when it comes to something as important as financials or legal support, which can later cost even more down the road. Legalucy is a Silicon Valley Founder Institute portfolio company that empowers small business owners with the information they need to take the guesswork out of startup legal.
Founded by Harmony Oswald, an entrepreneurial organizer and Member of the CA Bar, Legalucy provides small business owners with the information they need to identify issues, take action, and stay safe through an interactive guide and risk management system. Rather than searching the web and getting conflicting results or haphazardly doing it on their own, the Legalucy platform coaches entrepreneurs through the most common issues a small business will face, and then helps them determine for themselves the next step forward, based on learning about what a typical business owner usually does under like circumstances. If it is determined a lawyer is needed, the platform can offer additional services, including helping the business owner to connect with the right legal support.
*Disclaimer: This video does not create an attorney/client relationship. We provide information for your reference only. Such information should not and cannot be construed as legal advice.
Her prior work as a small business lawyer led directly to the formation of Legalucy. According to CEO Harmony Oswald,
One of the main reseasons we decided to build Legalucy was that because when I was working as a business lawyer, there were quite a few business owners who mentioned to us that they wished they had some kind of guide that could be used in advance, when they’re kind of lost or when they’re not sure when is the appropriate time to go to a lawyer -- when they’re just not really sure whether or not they really have a legal issue.
Legal Corners Cut Early Can Be Costlier Later On
According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, litigation costs small businesses in America over $100 billion per year. These costly mistakes can often be avoided by investing in the necessary legal support that some Founders may feel is unnecessary, but can face the consequences of later on. On top of this, the legal tech market is expected to grow from $849 billion to $1011 billion by 2021. Legalucy is specifically starting off by focusing on the $20 billion subset of this market contained within the U.S. and tied to new consumers. First-time-Founders specifically, are by definition, new consumers of business legal services. Oswald elaborates on one issue that should be dealt with early, trademarks, saying,
One of the biggest problems facing Founders specifically is that they’re trying to save money - they don’t have funds in the beginning - and it’s really important that some of these things are taken care of right away, so that you can capture the value and not waste your time. An example of that is your trademark, your company name - most people even don’t know anything about it, or realize that under the law you can choose a really strong company name and receive the most automatic protection for your name, for example.
Like their target users, Legalucy too is a budding business -- however, the startup is already gaining a lot of traction. To date, their blog has been labeled a Top 100 Women in Business Blog by Feedspot, promotion through the Radivision Entrepreneur Network, and secured the number one cited IP legal scholar worldwide to deliver content on the platform. Oswald was also selected in 2018 and 2019 as a 40 Under 40 California Business Attorney.
Unlike Other Resources, You Don't Need To Already Be a Lawyer to Understand Legalucy
Oswald and her team’s traction is largely due to the simplicity of their solution, and how it clearly benefits the large majority of entrepreneurs who do not speak legalese. It’s already hard enough starting up a new company to solve a real-world problem, but learning how to be an impromptu lawyer on top of that is exceedingly difficult. Instead, Legalucy’s current MVP walks Founders through early-stage legal issues such as selecting and trademarking their business name, protecting other early intellectual property, and limiting their personal liability. Oswald explains it very simply,
One big value that we’re providing is that you don’t already have to know what you’re looking for legally before you come to Legalucy, because we help you narrow these issues down in a way that you can understand.
Legalucy’s product development roadmap moving forward includes the addition of many other small business legal topics, including around building a strong co-founding team through equity offers and incentives, the legal side of fundraising around SEC regulation, employment and HR, internet data and privacy policies, real estate and considerations for brick and mortar businesses, as well as a growing selection of other common legal issues.
Prior to launching Legalucy, Oswald started her career in the US Army as a broadcast journalist. From here, she worked as a reporter for nearly a decade before shifting her attention to law. It was at this time that Oswald began working with small businesses and entrepreneurs, which flourished into supportive communities. Specifically, Oswald has a long record of supporting women-owned businesses through her work in startup legal advising. This work formed a natural progression towards founding Legalucy, where Oswald is able to combine her leadership skills, background working with content, and experience in providing legal aid to budding businesses.
The latest and biggest news? Legalucy's MVP has arrived, and Oswald has secured some top tier legal scholars that will be delivering content on the platform.
Legalucy has launched an MVP for IP law and secured the #1 cited IP legal scholar worldwide to deliver content on the platform.
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