With many startups and entrepreneurs forced to pay huge amounts of money to lawyers for standard agreements and documents, online platform SeedLegals was created to simplify and automate the legal process for emerging companies, and businesses looking to scale up. Anthony Rose, Founder and CEO SeedLegals explains his approach in streamlining the process for companies closing funding rounds.
Anthony Rose started his first business while still at school in South Africa, and has since gone on to create a string of ventures, as well as launching the successful BBC iPlayer on demand service. He currently holds 14 patents.
Launched in 2017, SeedLegals was created as a platform that makes it easy for founders and investors to create all the legal documents they need to close early stage funding rounds, saving them vast amounts of time and money. It is now used by 5,000 companies and is the largest closer of funding rounds in the UK.
The problem to be solved
The business was created by Anthony Rose – serial entrepreneur after a chance conversation with co-founder Laurent Laffy at a birthday party.
“As an entrepreneur that has launched several businesses, I’d had enough of paying insane amounts of money to lawyers for what were essentially the same agreements. Investors do many, many deals, but each is treated as though no other deal ever existed. It’s like opting for a bespoke suit – you have to be measured, it costs thousands and takes forever. Why do that when you can go to the store and buy one off the shelf? Early-stage funding rounds are not that different, the deal terms are remarkably similar.”
My first real epiphany came when I invested in a startup created by three students. It seemed ridiculous to spend thousands on legal fees for a £20,000 investment, so I offered to draw up the deal documents and go through it with them.
“I don’t seek to be disruptive, I just see opportunities where technology can give people a better way to do something. “With SeedLegals, Laurent and I had spotted a problem and we wanted to fix it.”
Advice for startups
“The key issue for any startup is, “If I build it, will people actually want it?” I think the biggest reason startups fail isn’t because they can’t build the tech or find funding or put a team together, it’s because even when they achieve all these things, not enough people actually want the product.
“My advice is; figure out what you’re good at. It’s also important to pick one thing and stay focused on that. Don’t try to do multiple things or grow too fast. Often, a startup will start out being a B2C business with an app that people can use to find restaurants in London, for example. Then they’ll find it hard to grow traffic so they’ll think; “We’ll create APIs and we’ll sell the data and it’ll be a B2B business.” As soon as I hear that, it’s a big red flag for me. You can be a brilliant B2C business or a brilliant B2B business, but it’s very hard to do both.”
Leadership and inspiration
“As a founder, there is often no-one to answer your questions and you’re faced with an endless number of choices. Failure to make a decision is not an option if you’re a startup. It’s a sure fire way to die.
“You have to be a leader and inspire your team. You’ve enticed your wonderful team away from other jobs so you need to be able to take them on a journey that has ups and downs, challenges and rewards. When you walk into the office in the morning, you have to exude optimism so that people want to do what they’re doing and are excited to change the world.”
Anthony lives in central London with his wife, and likes to relax by running and attending concerts.