Sacha Kirk is Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Australia-based legal startup Lawcadia. Named to Asia Law Portal’s 12 legal tech startup founders to follow in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020 – Kirk explains in this interview with Asia Law Portal what inspired Lawcadia’s founding, its’ services offer, the details of its’ recent funding round, it’s geographic focus and future goals, the unique role of the legal startup CMO, predictions for the future of legal startups in the Asia-Pacific region, and her advice for aspiring legal startup entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to found Lawcadia?
My co-founder and I were inspired by trends in other services sectors where technology was making it easy for business and consumers to find, select and engage service providers. When I contrasted this to how corporate legal teams were selecting, briefing and managing their legal services we said “wow, this is ripe for change”. We started Lawcadia a few months later.
Lawcadia helps in-house teams and their law firms communicate and collaborate. Can you explain how this works?
Lawcadia’s platform has evolved into a broad suite that includes matter intake, matter management and outside counsel and spend management.
From a communication perspective, there are enormous benefits in streamlining the flow of information from within the business (internal clients), through to in-house legal teams and directing externally to law firms as required. The obvious benefit is efficiency (time-saving) as well as getting all the key information for each matter and type of work in one go. We are also finding that using this process law firms are receiving better instructions enabling them to scope more accurately and be more efficient at their end.
An area that we have always focused on at Lawcadia is ensuring transparency and clarity on scope of work and pricing for external legal work, with scope being a collaborative process and getting both sides clear on what has been agreed and managing changes throughout the life of the matter. Having everyone on the same page when it comes to deliverables and costs can save a lot of frustration and time down the track.
Lawcadia recently received additional funding. Who are your new investors — and are you open to more investors?
Our cornerstone investor in our most recent round was Artesian Venture Capital. Securing funding from such a prominent Australian venture capital firm was a big achievement for the team and it validates what we have achieved to date and the future growth potential of the business.
Looking to the future, we anticipate another round of investor funding within the next 12 months.
Lawcadia is based in Australia. What is the company’s current geographical focus? And are you looking at expansion into additional markets?
Our focus over the past few years has been our home market of Australia as this has allowed us to develop, iterate and prove our product with a broad client base, that includes a major bank through to infrastructure, government and not for profits. Having said that, we do have some clients and law firm clients in Asia, Europe and the US and we plan to invest more heavily in those market.
You’re both Lawcadia’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Describe the unique remit of a legal startup CMO and how you’ve sought to achieve Lawcadia’s growth goals through marketing
Marketing can play a critical role in the success of emerging businesses and this is particularly so in legaltech where the target audience can be diverse, slow to adopt new solutions, and have long sales cycles. A common misconception by startup’s is the idea of “build it and the buyers will come”. The truth of it is “build it and they will not come” – we know this from personal experience! The marketing function works to make the buyer (or user) central to the proposition, that it meets a strong underlying need (emotive, not just functional) and to explore creative ways to gain feedback from the market. The hardest part in my experience is getting the interest, engagement and closing opportunities – you need a great team to do this well, including customer success, operations, development, sales and marketing.
What are your predictions for the future of the APAC region legal startup ecosystem?
I anticipate continued strong growth in the legal tech sector, met by existing providers and new opportunities being identified and leveraged by new market entrants. Your readers will have noted that there has been a proliferation of startups in the legal sector. I am expecting that we will start to see consolidation across the region with larger established companies acquiring businesses with a complementary focus and smaller enterprises joining together.
Some of the themes that will take the spotlight is how technology can be harnessed to promote greater access to justice, and the application of artificial intelligence and blockchain.
How has Lawcadia grown since its’ founding and what are its’ goals for the future?
We are fortunate to have a onboarded a breadth of corporate and government clients across diverse industries alongside over 150 law firm clients including top-tier, magic circle, and international firms. From a financial perspective our revenue has more than doubled year-on-year since we founded Lawcadia and we will continue to be quite metrics focused as this is a key requirement for future investors. Our goal is to be a dominant player in the global legal tech market, which is moving very quickly, so we must be nimble, strategic and focused to succeed.
What advice do you have for aspiring legal tech startup entrepreneurs?
Perseverance – keep going, learn to tolerate ambiguity, and find yourself your own cheer squad.
Resilience – “if this was easy someone else would have already done it” is what I remind myself with every time we face roadblocks.
Iterate – adopt the mindset and culture of trying something, learning and changing and instil this in everything that you do.