SeedLegals: Protecting assets by supporting the fundraising process
Anthony Rose, CEO and co-founder at SeedLegals describes how the platform serves start-up founders and investors by facilitating them coming together to close a funding round and building all the commercial and legal documents instantly.
CEO and co-founder, SeedLegals
Zoya Malik: Tell us about SeedLegals' platform.
Anthony Rose: SeedLegals assists with closing funding rounds by helping founders manage the legal requirements. Over 35,000 companies use the SeedLegals platform to pitch to investors, apply for EIS or SEIS advance assurance, set up an employee share option scheme, and more.
SeedLegals’ new partnership scheme helps accountants and accountancy practices offer more legal and business admin services to their clients. The easy-to-use SeedLegals interface saves time by automating simple tasks like creating contracts and eases the burden of complex processes like fundraising.
ZM: How can accountants better serve their SME clients by providing additional legal services?
AR: Accountancy and law are inextricably tied. Many of the UK’s top universities offer joint programmes covering both disciplines for that exact reason: they work in tandem to cover crucial business services. Accountants who offer both as a package provide a more holistic, seamless service to SMEs seeking an uncomplicated solution.
For startups and SMEs, accountants manage and monitor a business’s assets, including cash. Legal services can then help secure and protect assets by supporting the fundraising process. Shareholder agreements, for example, must be devised and negotiated by an experienced hand to avoid losing too much power to investors. Legal experts can help companies make sure the agreement precludes certain investors from appointing or dismissing company directors. They can also advise on provisions that would lock investors into their commitment, preventing them from trading shares before a specific date.
By partnering with legal firms, accountants could also provide a better service to founders who are considering taking out loans. Most loans will require a company to agree to a security package, which may include the company assets accountants monitor. This type of agreement, however, can be problematic for a start-up because it gives the lender serious leverage without board involvement. Legal services can help business owners create a binding agreement that works for them, if they decide a loan is the right option. SeedLegals, for example, offers the SeedNOTE service, to provide investors with the option of taking debt in a start-up. That debt can then later be turned into shares.
ZM: Why can SeedLegals provide better value than other competitors in the market?
AR: SeedLegals is fast, better value, and easier to use than other legal services accountants might partner with to serve start-ups and SMEs. Traditional legal services are synonymous with enormous costs, making this market ripe for disruption. As a result, the UK legal-tech sector is doubling in size each year.
The SeedLegals user-friendly platform uses automation to accelerate many of the complex legal processes that required serious time investment in the past. For example, clients can create customisable employee contracts using templates written by experts. From their office (or sofa or train or wherever), clients simply fill in a questionnaire to generate their document. In all, SeedLegals automates over 90 legal documents. That means there’s no more need to copy-and-paste from previous contracts. All are stored securely in the cloud and users can share and sign documents online and download and print if they need to. SeedLegals also has a dashboard to give users easy, transparent access to live funding round information, view their cap table, manage their team’s contracts and company policies, and more.
Despite the prestige of some traditional law firms, for many start-ups and SMEs, a fast-moving, cost-efficient service is the ‘no brainer’ option. Accountants even receive a discounted price relative to the number of clients they bring onto the SeedLegals platform.
ZM: How can SeedLegals offer the confidence and support required to accountants and businesses?
AR: Our stats speak for themselves: over 35,000 businesses have used SeedLegals as their legal service provider since we started up in 2016. Small business owners are joining us all the time – we close up to 20 funding rounds per week.
SeedLegals users have created over 150,000 legal documents on our platform - and counting. Our EIS/SEIS advance assurance service has a success rate of 98%. With SeedLegals, business owners can focus on the tasks they became entrepreneurs to do, knowing that we’ll handle their legals and business admin.
If any questions arise, our support team is available seven days a week. We know entrepreneurs and small business owners work all hours so we’re online 9am til 9pm Monday to Friday and 10am till 6pm on weekends and bank holidays. Clients can send us an instant message, call, email or even video call us to resolve issues as fast as possible. Our expert team is on hand every step of the way – we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs raise money to grow their businesses.
ZM: How do clients achieve better value from accounting firms that partner with SeedLegals?
AR: Accountants help start-ups and SMEs focus on their key business objectives, taking away complex and time-consuming technical business tasks. SeedLegals offers similar solutions for the legal aspects of owning, running and growing a start-up or SME. Many legal tasks are tedious but important and unavoidable. SeedLegals makes it simple so founders and business owners can confidently focus on leading their team. By combining accounting and legal services, we’re helping businesses find a complete, affordable solution.