How This Lawyer Launched One of India's Early Legal Tech Start-ups
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While starting a business or a start-up, the entrepreneur’s focus is always on the operations of the business and implementation of the idea, and compliance usually takes the back seat. It’s always one of the aspects that are kept aside to deal with only when problem arises. Unfortunately, when it does, it hits you hard.
Having noticed this trend in the industry, Indranil Choudhury, along with his colleagues from the legal industry Siddharth Singh, Sameer Bedi and Srinivas Kilambi, set up Lexplosion. A legal tech start-up that Lexplosion is solves all compliance issues of a company.
Why Legal Tech?
While they are all veterans of the legal industry, the idea came to them in early 2005-06 and they started the company in 2007. Back then, the presence of legal-tech companies in India was close to nil. Seeking the opportunity in the business they were also one of the first adapters of cloud.
“Compliance is a vast area where historically businesses have struggled because it’s very difficult to know all the laws that you are supposed to abide by – there’s the Companies Act, financial laws, taxation-related laws, labour laws, environmental laws and various state laws. Inevitably, be it the smallest of businesses or the large ones, all have struggled to keep a track of their compliances. So we decided to build a technology solution for the same,” said Choudhury.
With various products like Komrisk (enterprise solution for multi-nationals), Komplify (for SMEs), Komplitax (for GST), today they have over 150 enterprises as clients with even big names like Vodafone, Mindtree, Cognizant etc.
Catering to the SME sector
When they started, their focus was on large companies, but over the past few years, with the renewed focus on Small and Medium Enterprises, they started reaching out to the sector. “The Companies Act from 2013 requires all companies to certify that they are compliant with all laws — something that was previously required for only large listed entities. We started getting queries from various small and medium enterprises whether our tool can be used by them. So we created a simpler tool online, where you don’t need to consult with us, you just need to answer a few questions online,” said Choudhury.
What Demonetization did to Fintech, GST did to Regtech
Post demonetisation, fintech companies got a massive boost because of the forced turnaround into being a digital and cashless economy. With GST, now there’s a forced requirement to be compliant. “If you thought demonetization messed up your business model, you won’t even know how GST will hit you until you get your processes in place,” he said.
At Lexplosion, they help companies do their invoicing, returns filing and get them a whole bunch of analytics, which suppliers to do business with etc. “We have brought in automation and have created a process where once you upload your sales register, the tool does all the mixing and matching for you,” he said.
“There is no room for jugaad anymore. GST is completely online and is linked. If you don’t deposit your GST, the big guy will stop doing business with you. You are forced to do it. Government is working progressively towards going online and the more that happens, the more people will understand the need for compliance,” he added.
Changing the Way We look at Law
For long now, law, according to Choudhury, has been straightjacketed. One is used to considering lawyers and law firms unapproachable unless one has a lot of money to offer.
“We are structured very differently, our tools are cloud-based and our solutions are SaaS-based. Our payment model is monthly subscriptions. Big law firms don’t have the time for SMEs. We are figuring out how an hour of one lawyer's time can be converted into thousand hours through technology. We have tried to take something as mundane as law and see how we can infuse various aspects of technology into it,” said Choudhury.
From being Lawyers to Entrepreneurs
Having spent years in the legal industry, the switch to entrepreneurship would be an easy one, they thought. “We realized it wasn’t true in the first six months. That’s when the reality sets it. We actually started thinking about how to run a business.The first couple of years saw us struggling a lot, we had a good mind to pack it all up. Since we were in an industry that sort of didn’t even exist before, being bootstrapped actually helped us then as were free of investor pressure,” he said.
But having successfully set it up, Choudhury said, “Now, we are always looking at the next big thing.”