BEAMSTART17 Jan, 2018
Earlier this week, we had a chance to catch up for a quick chat with June Low, founder of EasyLaw - a startup focused on helping more lawyers, law firms, In-house counsel, and the general public streamline their legal processes via the use of technology.
Today, an estimate of over 20% of lawyers in Malaysia currently use the EasyLaw app for their daily needs, and adoption continues to steadily grow.
Below is our interview with June:
1) What was the primary driver for starting this whole venture?
This started out from a casual chat among few friends in exchanging ideas. We are close friends and were discussing about how the technology has been enhancing quality of our daily activities from transport, travelling to finance – which later we realize, legal is another area which has been neglected.
Our vision is to make Law (E)fficient, (A)ffordable, (S)imple to (Y)ou.
The “YOU” refers to lawyers, law firms, legal related parties & public.
We envision that there are more effective and productive ways to streamline the whole legal process, from how lawyers can work in their legal practice to how public can get legal help they need.
The casual chat at hawker stall later became an idea brainstorming session which leads to the birth of EasyLaw – to help more lawyers, law firms, In-house counsel and public via technology.
2) What’s it like starting a legal services app in Malaysia? Were there many obstacles when starting out? What were some of them?
It’s definitely exciting & challenging at the same time! Exciting in the sense that we know our technology is creating impact & providing value by enhancing the productivity of lawyers, legal related parties & property investors.
And definitely, there were some challenges we faced too. As we were one of the first few legal techs to emerge in the SEA region, there was not much reference we could refer to when we were building our phone app. For countries abroad such as the US & UK, most of the platforms only have a website. What we were building is something totally new and a first in SouthEast Asia.
It’s a risk we took, but it was worthwhile. In July, within 4 months of launching our app, over 20% of Malaysian lawyers were already using our App. We can see there is a great adoption rate among lawyers to tech, which was indeed a great news to us.
Another challenging part about our business is that the learning curve is steep & we all need to be fast learners in adapting the environment. Technology changes fast, we have to keep learning everyday to keep up with the changes. However, I find that as a team, what we learn in 1 month equals to what I learnt for 1 year in the past. Throughout the whole process, I believe the EasyLaw team as a whole has been growing a lot, and it’s the most exciting part when we know we all share the same vision in making law easy for everyone.
3) How has the take up rate been? You have many downloads for your app, what was the experience like getting started and getting downloads? How did you acquire initial traction?
Currently, 1 out of every 4 Malaysian lawyers are using our app on a daily basis, with 20,500 app installs by lawyers & legal related parties within 10 months since our app launched.
Over 86.7% of our users are returning users. With premium features being rolled out, we are glad that we have clients who have done repeated paid premium transactions with us.
The experience in getting started was nervous at first, and then it gets exciting!
I remember my heart was pounded with excitement when we reach 1000 app installs by lawyers in just 3 days. Before rolling out our app, we were very nervous about it – from app designs to marketing campaigns, and we’re happy that the response was better than we anticipated, and our app became viral among lawyers.
We acquired our initial traction via digital marketing – Google, Facebook & Instagram. We were also surprised that a lot of installs were through word-of-mouth of our app users and friends’ recommendations.
4) ave you raised funding? If yes, could you share a little more about your recent round?
Yes – we just recently closed our Angel Round, amount undisclosed.
5) What do you hope to achieve with your new financing round?
As for our short & mid-term plan, we want to roll out more useful features and solutions to our existing free users and paying users. We will be focusing on product & IT development, market expansion & expanding our team.
As for the long-term plan, there are a lot of different areas of legal tech we can explore – from helping lawyers increasing online exposure to helping law firms and lawyers streamline their legal practice.
6) What’re some of your tips for newer founders/startups that are starting out and building a mobile-based app, and getting users?
Know your target market well (just like how well you know your partners) - this may sound cliché, but only by having a thorough understanding of your target audience, will you understand the pain points they face and be able to develop the solutions that are meaningful to your target audience.
Be optimistic & always seek for advice and mentorship.
Know your numbers well. Cashflow planning & budgeting is crucial and yet a lot of fellow startups neglected it.
On Getting users - Try different marketing channels – whether it’s digital, traditional or word-of-mouth marketing and always A/B testing all methods to see which method works best for your target audience within your marketing budget.
Always A/B testing your marketing campaign & keep improving (Note : there is always a better version of your marketing campaign )
Find out the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your app, and map out why is your app better than your competitors’. Interview your targeted users to get more perspectives on your USP.
7) What’re some of the biggest obstacles you face in running a startup/business like yours?
As a startup, we are dealing with limited resources and sometimes it’s hard to make decisions when there are equally lucrative opportunities that await you. There will be a time when you say YES to a great opportunity, it also means that you have to say NO to something else.
Also, we need to be ready to deal with uncertainties as business & tech environments change very fast. However, remember to stay optimistic but always be prepared for the worst.
What do you hope to change in Malaysia, and the following countries you enter?
We want to ensure legal is EASY for every stakeholder – including lawyers, law firms, legal related parties & the pubic. We would not limit ourselves to any particular areas of legal tech because technology changes fast. As a tech company, we need to stay current and relevant with the solutions we provide to the clients. We’re always open for exploration – while remembering providing more values to legal profession and general public is at the heart of everything we do.
Singapore is the next country we would enter. We’ve also joined Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) by Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). FLIP offers support and resources to forward-thinking law firms and legal tech startups, and throughout this program, we can understand the pain points better– so that the solutions we develop are of greater impacts to the lawyers & market in Singapore.