Getting to know The Pitch finalists: Founded

By Yves Faguy April 5, 20185 April 2018

 

As part of a weekly series leading up to The Pitch 2018, the legal innovation startup competition put on by the Canadian Bar Association and Law Made in partnership with LexisNexis, we’re publishing interviews with the five selected finalists to get to know them better.  This week’s Q&A is with Shane Murphy (pictured above), co-founder and CLO of Founded, an outfit that helps lawyers and entrepreneurs automate the legal needs of growing businesses.

CBA National: What are the origins of Founded?

Shane Murphy: The whole idea of Founded came up when my co-founder [and CTO] Travis [Houlette] was selling his business to Yahoo in a fairly large transaction, back when I was practising law. Although I wasn’t involved in any way in that transaction, Travis was my friend and he was always calling me and saying, “What is wrong with the legal industry? Why is it so devoid of technology? And why is my experience as a client so antiquated, even though I’m hiring top tier lawyers?” So we started talking about how technology could be used to give clients a better experience when they need legal services. That was the genesis of it.

N: Explain what Founded does

SM: It’s an intelligent platform that makes it very easy for business to manage their legal needs. Our users — generally small business early-stage entrepreneurs, often from technology and start-up companies — can go to Founded, they can incorporate their business and they can set up their whole minute book from scratch. That includes issuance of the initial shares, structuring their board of directors and getting an incorporation. Then our technology provides ongoing support for those businesses whenever there’s a change to their corporate structure or a change to their minute book. Founded is smart enough to prepare all the required legal documents, be plugged in directly to government resources so that these changes are as simple as making a change on any other modern website, but we also provide all of the legal requirements. Although there is no direct lawyer involvement in these tasks they’re being done to the same standards that a law firm would expect to be prepared.

N: And you are targeting business start-ups, right?

SM: We built Founded initially so that it would be very easy for a small business audience to use it.  Now what has happened in the last few months since we’ve launched is that major law firms have started approaching us. So now we’re actually building up the company in two directions. We’re still very much focussed on the small business market but we’re also offering white label solutions for law firms so that they can use our technology, both internally to manage corporate records and minute books in the law firm and offer easy-to-use interfaces for their clients.

N: Where did the name come from?

SM: It is really just the idea that we are the place to go to get your business properly structured and get yourself off to a really good start, that after you use our services you can proudly say that the company has been founded and you’re moving forward in the right direction.

N: What gives you optimism about the future of the legal industry?

SM: I think right now there are so many smart people looking outside of the legal industry for inspiration on how legal services can be made more affordable, more accessible and, frankly, easier to use and a better experience for their clients. When I look at the people who are working on these problems I think there’s just so much opportunity for positive change and more and more people are willing to creatively look at new solutions and embrace the opportunities around them.

N: What give you cause for concern?

SM: I get concerned when I see bright students going into law with really no idea of what direction the legal industry, as a whole, is taking and no one has really given them a heads-up about that when they’ve decided to pursue the profession as a future career. I still think law is a fantastic career choice and could be very rewarding but the ones that will succeed, in the long term, will be the ones who are aware of the change and looking for creative ways to embrace it.

__________________________

Vitals

Founded in: 2015

Based in: Toronto

The team: Co-founders Shane Murphy (CLO), Travis Houlette (CTO) and Derek Hopfner; Molly Luo, Lead Software Engineer 

 

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