Legal challenges are among the top 20 reasons why startups often fail. In fact, startup market intelligence firm CB Insights believes that “sometimes a startup can evolve from a simple idea to a world of legal complexities that can prove to be a core cause of shutting down.”
Navigating the legal world is not easy and hiring a lawyer isn’t cheap. For entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses this is a serious problem as one legal mistake can cost them thousands, if not their entire business. Moreover, because laws and regulations are a world of their own, business owners often fail to recognize potential issues they’ll encounter on their journey.
It’s not about what you know; it’s about what you don’t know you don’t know.
Chris Daming, a former coworking member and CEO of Legal GPS, was all too familiar with the legal troubles of many of his fellow coworking members.
“I’m an attorney and I used to work out of a coworking space. Every day I would have someone come up to me and ask me a simple legal question; more often than not, the answer was easy to provide, but there was also the occasional legal issue that someone had overlooked. This prompted me to create actionable legal videos that could help people understand issues they often didn’t think about.”
Daming’s idea eventually evolved into Legal GPS, a platform that focuses on eliminating avoidable legal mistakes by encouraging individuals to take a proactive approach legal matters. Their service focuses on three main steps: anticipate legal needs, understand the consequences, and act to solve them.
“We created the service after various interviews with entrepreneurs, especially those working out of a coworking space. Most of the people we interviewed were using Google to solve their legal problems; they were looking at contract databases and hoping to find free legal document templates.
“They were being proactive, but their efforts sometimes went in the wrong direction.”
Legal GPS was officially launched in April of 2017 and since then it’s experienced tremendous success. Shortly after launching, Daming and his team decided to partner with coworking spaces.
“We started working with coworking spaces because they are representative of all sorts of entrepreneurs. This is whom our product is most useful to,” said Krystal Weigl from the Legal GPS team.
It’s a win-win for Legal GPS and coworking operators. According to Weigl, the operator reaps the benefits and they see an immediate ROI. The coworking industry is growing, meaning there’s increased competition out there. Operators are seeking for creative and unique ways in which they can differentiate their space from others.
“Our platform becomes part of the amenities an operator provides to its members. Our current numbers show that at least 40% of coworking members are using our platform.
“We haven’t found a single business that hasn’t had at least one legal mistake and people like our product because it’s easy to use, it’s proactive, and it’s customizable for each specific type of profession or business.”
How it works
Daming explains that the user first takes a checkup, it asks several questions regarding the industry, how the business was registered, how many people work in the company, etc. Users then get the results of their checkup and they are told what problems they can anticipate, the consequences of ignoring that problem, and how it can be solved.
“We’ve found that when people really understand the consequences of inaction, that’s when they do something about it.”
For coworking operators, it’s simple. They just have to pay a monthly fee in order to offer the legal platform to their members.
A proactive, inclusive approach
A fundamental tenet of Legal GPS is accessibility. Weigl shared with Allwork.Space that Legal GPS is currently working on a project that will focus on women and minorities to help them deal with matters of the law.
“Women and minorities aren’t getting the representation or attention they need from legal representatives. We want to make our platform accessible to these groups and help them thrive in their business endeavors. Through our platform we want to break down the barriers that often intimidate and are convoluted for everyone, but disproportionately affect women and minorities.”
If you are interested in partnering with Legal GPS to offer your members a valuable amenity and service, click here.