After founding a startup, setting it up requires a lot of work and effort. Activities such as hiring the first set of employees or finding a product-market fit will need a founder's attention. With your hands full, slips are bound to happen.
One of the areas where this occurs early in some founders' journeys is in establishing a strong legal foundation for their startups.
Lack of awareness of basic regulatory laws and taxation on running a business has led early-stage startups to face dilemmas from various business perspectives. And in most cases, this can affect a startup in terms of growth and revenue.
For startups playing in the eCommerce, fintech, logistics, and healthcare space, strengthening one's legal team cannot be overemphasised. But the same applies to every startup regardless of the space it plays in.
Entrepreneurs have used technology to disrupt almost everything in their paths. Thus, it comes as no surprise that traditional industries like law are also disrupted. In the last few years, legal tech startups have come into their own and are solving problems facing startups from missing regular tax payments to non-compliance with securities laws.
A bachelor of law from the University of Ibadan, Enyioma Madubuike has pursued a career in the law field since leaving the university. He has been an associate of Olaniwun Ajayi LP, one of Nigeria's leading law firms, since 2013.
Like Madubuike, Oluwashina Adeboboye is also a graduate of law from the University of Ibadan. After bagging his bachelors, he went on to start Oluwashina Adeboboye Legal Practice and has been the legal counsel since 2015.
In 2016, the pair decided to start a legal resources and services platform for startups and SMEs. The platform, Legitng.com, served as a network for legal services. However, they soon found out that they needed their clients to be at the heart of whatever they were offering. So, they pivoted.
"It all started off from the idea of providing an alternative source of legal support to startups and technology businesses through models that catered to the needs of these businesses.
Lawrathon is a pivot from Legitng.com into a specialised legal service delivery model that puts the client at the centre," he says to Techpoint.
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Lawrathon acts as a one-stop-shop for all kinds of tax and legal requirements a startup needs. So far, the team has built a dedicated team of professionals who provide end-to-end services that cater to the needs of startups individually.
Recently-launched and thriving
Madubuike says there is a gap between the legal needs of tech businesses and the legal expertise available to serve those needs. Lawrathon's job is to bridge that gap.
"Where the skills exist, they are often priced out of the reach of these businesses. Lawrathon aims at connecting businesses with top-notch expertise, at a great value."
Running a subscription-based model and starting at ₦50,000 ($131.49) per year, Madubuike says startups can get legal support that suits their needs from Lawrathon.
However, this price differs depending on if the startup is in the early or growth stage. For example, instead of ₦50,000 ($131.49) per year, a growth or late-stage startup should expect to pay that fee monthly.
Having launched two months ago, the startup has secured ten clients and is already having its fair share of challenges.
"We are struggling with getting companies onboard the new model as opposed to the traditional legal services delivery models from law firms. So far, we are solving this problem by communicating the value this model offers," Madubuike says.
That value, asides pricing, is flexibility in pricing. Most traditional law firms are unable to offer flexibility with their services and for Madubuike, these two factors give Lawrathon an edge in the market going forward.
"Our aim is to be the legal platform for innovative businesses. We believe that the legal service delivery model in Nigeria needs to change and we are glad to be in front of that movement."