In this interview, we chat with lawyer turned tech entrepreneur, Claudia King who recently sold her law practice (DKL) to focus full time on a passion for web-based document automation software. We hear how the encouragement she received from her father, Dennis King, coupled with fifteen years’ experience in law gave Claudia enough insight to see the need to simplify and customise legal documentation.
Claudia recalls how back in the 1980’s Dennis was inspired by exposure to overseas digital document automation systems which were accessible to clients online. He was ahead of his time and he never let go of the enthusiasm to introduce a similar system to New Zealand. Claudia shared his interest and advises new business owners to look local and beyond to gain knowledge and motivation, as she did from US based companies, Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer.
Developing workable prototypes with the help of software developers, Matt Sagen and Mike Mitchell they have now created a new business which simplifies any ‘legal process that results in an output’, called Automio Automated Legal Solutions. Automio is geared to provide digitally created legal documents, business plans, finance plans, accountancy documents and policy procedures for all types of industries, potentially global wide.
The certain need for legal documentation services in any business can mean lengthy relations with a lawyer – and this process can be costly. Claudia’s goal is to reduce customer reliance on the human element to create a time efficient ‘DIY’ online facility. A good example of this, is Automio’s latest innovation, the Quit Bot letter of resignation template. She sites this and other purchasable programmes as ‘affordable game changers’ for the layperson.
Claudia thanks funding received from Callahan Innovation for enabling her business to reach stage one, but says the additional input of $75,000 from a ‘friends and family’ funding round after her father’s death made the project viable. Collaboration with Matt established a business plan and a financial forecast, with which allowed them to then raise and additional $600,000 from investors, allowing them to finance:
- Software development costs
- General business expenses
- Marketing, social media and websites
- Wages and running costs
Mentor and investor, Ian Frame joined the team and lead a second capital raising round which cumulated an additional $624,000 granted by professional angle investors who have an interest in tech companies. Claudia accepts that this type of fund raising is unusual in New Zealand, especially for a speculative venture. She attributes the ongoing interest to her own personal branding, the innovative nature of her concept and her family’s experience in the legal sector as key factors to being able to raise this capitol.
With a third funding round planned in the future, Claudia sees Automio being able to sustain its growth in a challenging market. For those starting up a revolutionary new business, Claudia reiterates the value in looking for both local and overseas inspiration to gain confidence in achieving a ‘global from day one’ picture. Look for alternative funding methods, persevere and be positive about your goals.
You can get hold of Claudia and learn more about her and this innovative story at:
Claudia’s recommended reads:
- The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
- #AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk
- The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco
- Every Bastard Says No – the 42 Below Story by Justine Troy and Geoff Ross