Lawyers of Tomorrow
Episode 10

10 Venture Capital & Legal Tech: from Seedcamp to Start Up Success

Stephen Turner published on

Venture capital, legal technology, innovation, start-ups, entrepreneurialism, investment management, accelerations funds, pre-seed funding, seed funding, series A, series B, series C.

Stephen Turner, the host of Lawyers of Tomorrow, interviews Tom Wilson, a qualified solicitor who is now investment manager at Seedcamp, a London based acceleration fund with over 170 investments focusing on accelerating pre-seed and seed stage companies and helping them reach product/market fit. Seedcamp is made up of a diverse team of founders, makers, operators, executors, investors and tech-enthusiasts who back world-class entrepreneurs before their success is known to others. As investment manager, Tom selects companies to invest in at their early stage of development.

Knowing that Tom is a big Newcastle fan, Stephen starts off the discussion by highlighting the three factors that venture capital funds look for in any legal tech project - team, technology and traction - by way of a light-hearted analysis of the almost perfect Newcastle football team of the mid-90s. That side had great players (team), a great style of play (technology) but it didn’t quite get the results (traction). Stephen asks Tom whether the absence of one of the three factors is likewise going to be fatal to a legal tech start-up. Tom thinks that team is arguably the most important thing but that all three will eventually be essential.

Tom and Stephen then discuss:

  • What makes up a great legal tech team?
  • Does a legal tech team need lawyers – known as domain expertise?
  • How much tech competency does the team need?
  • How law firms of the future may be structured very differently from now – for example as alternative business structures – as they become more involved in the business of legal technology.
  • Which law firms are likely to flourish in the new entrepreneurial environment.
  • The huge potential for legal tech funding in the future.
  • The action that a lawyer or entrepreneur with an idea for a legal tech solution should take.
  • Advice on how to build your law tech start-up team.
  • Seed summits.
  • Founders collaboration agreements.
  • The different stages of venture capital funding: pre-seed, seed, series A, B and C.
  • How investors value a company.
  • The extent to which the VC board representative will seek to influence the start-up via their board seat – often depending on the stage of funding.
  • The range of ownership percentage that founders should expect to give up during funding.
  • How founders should do thorough research on all funders – particularly business angels.
  • The perils of giving away too much ownership too early and how this can be fatal to the company’s incentive structure.
  • Law firms and legal tech incubators: e.g. Dentons / NextLaw; A&O / Fuse.
  • Law firms and innovations teams.
  • How lawyers can work to future proof themselves.
  • The importance of enthusiasm and resilience for start-up founders.
  • The future skills that lawyers will need – “must skills” – when the bots take over performing traditional legal tasks.

This is a fascinating podcast, with great advice and practical points for those interested in developing legal tech projects. Thanks to Tom and Seedcamp for taking the time out to speak to Stephen.

To contact Tom:  twitter: @tom_wills

Also, check out Tom’s blog where he writes about venture capital, start-ups and related topics.

To contact Stephen: twitter: @stephenjturner

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