Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I grew up in Uttar Pradesh, but I was born in Indore, and I'm a proud chai enthusiast. My family has been a huge influence on my career - my dad's a total pro in legal, compliance, and corporate finance, and my mom's a former business owner and finance whiz. I also have a sister who's following in my father’s legal footsteps and studying for the judiciary. When I'm not busy revolutionizing the legal tech industry, I love indulging in my favorite hobbies, like trying new skincare routines, building virtual homes in The Sims, and whipping up delicious meals in the kitchen. My passion for legal tech and entrepreneurship comes from my own experiences as a young law student struggling to access the resources I needed. I teamed up with some amazing co-founders to create a digital legal assistant that makes legal resources more accessible and less daunting for everyone. It's been an incredible journey, and I'm excited to see where it takes us next!
Have you had any formal training or family business?
I've never had any formal training in legal tech or entrepreneurship, but I've always been interested in innovation and finding ways to make things better. My family has a mix of experiences - my dad's always been more of a job guy, but my mom actually ran her own boutique for years and it was a huge success. She eventually closed it down to focus on my sister's and my education, but her entrepreneurial spirit definitely rubbed off on me. Before starting this company, I worked as a research assistant with Prof. Ila Sharma, who was the former election commissioner of Nepal. I also did a few internships in college and worked as a legal consultant at another startup, which is actually where I met my current co-founder. Legal tech is still a pretty new field, especially in India, but we're excited to be at the forefront of it and to help educate people about what it is and how it can be a game-changer for the legal industry.
How did you come up with the idea for your business, and what was the process of turning that idea into a reality?
Coming up with the idea for our business was a result of our discussions around the problems lawyers and law students face in the tech-first world. As a lawyer myself, I could see the gap in the industry and we knew we had to find a solution. My co-founder, who is a techie, and I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of developing a digital legal assistant called "Vaqil". We immediately got to work and knew exactly what to do and what not to do, having learned from our previous startup experiences. We put everything on paper and focused on finding the right people and resources to turn our idea into a reality. We preferred to hire contractual employees over full-time employees, and we've been bootstrapping the company from the start. Money has been our biggest challenge, as lack of resources can limit our ability to hire skilled team members and acquire necessary resources. However, we've been frugal and smart with our resources, and we've even turned down offers to buy our company because we have a clear vision of where we want to go. Another challenge has been convincing people that AI is not the villain, especially in a country like India where legal tech is still a relatively new concept. To overcome this, we've been leveraging social media, specifically LinkedIn, to create awareness and connect with industry experts. This has not only helped us spread the word about our business, but also allowed us to meet some very impressive people.
How have you grown as a leader since starting your company, and what have been some of the key lessons you've learned along the way?
Since co-founding my legal tech startup and assuming the position of COO, I've grown tremendously as a leader. One of the most important lessons I've learned is that effective leadership requires a delicate balance of confidence and humility. As a young COO in a field where many of my colleagues are much older and more experienced than I am, I quickly realized that I needed to establish a sense of authority while also being open to feedback and willing to learn from others. Another key lesson I've learned is the importance of clear communication. In order to successfully lead my team and work towards our shared goals, I've had to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that our expectations are aligned. This has required me to hone my communication skills and be intentional about setting expectations and providing feedback. In terms of industry-specific challenges, one of the biggest obstacles we've faced is changing the narrative about legal tech in India. There is a misconception that technology laws and legal tech are one and the same, and we've had to work hard to educate potential users and stakeholders about the unique benefits of our digital legal assistant, without giving away too much. We've also had to shift our focus from corporates to individuals and small businesses who may not have access to the legal resources they need. Through these challenges, I've learned that effective leadership requires a willingness to adapt and be flexible in the face of changing circumstances.
Can you tell us about a time when you faced a major setback or failure in your business, and how you overcame it?
Our company was incorporated in April 2022, and since then, we've faced numerous setbacks and challenges. It hasn't been easy, and at times, it has taken a toll on my mental health, as I already suffer from depression and anxiety. However, I believe that setbacks are an inevitable part of the journey, and it's how you respond to them that matters. One of the biggest setbacks we faced was convincing people about the potential of legal tech. Initially, it was difficult to get people to understand what we were trying to achieve, but the success of a certain chatbot helped to change people's perceptions. However, we still face skepticism from some people, particularly those who are not tech-savvy or experienced lawyers. We understand their concerns, but it can be frustrating at times to have to explain the same things repeatedly. Another significant challenge has been keeping up with evolving requirements and regulations. It seems that as soon as we think we've checked all the boxes, a new requirement emerges. This can be a continuous loop, and we're still figuring out how to deal with it effectively. Overall, setbacks and challenges are a part of the journey, and we've learned to embrace them and find ways to overcome them. We remain committed to our vision and believe in the potential of legal tech to transform the legal industry.
How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals, especially during challenging times?
It's important to stay motivated and focused, especially during challenging times. One way that I do this is by relying on my co-founder, who helps me to stay motivated and keep pushing forward. We both believe in the product, the vision, and our own abilities, which helps to keep us motivated even when things get tough. I've learned that burning the midnight oil and neglecting self-care can actually be counterproductive, so I try to take care of myself physically and mentally to stay focused and motivated. Ultimately, I believe that we will achieve our goals, and that keeps me motivated even in the face of setbacks and challenges.
How do you balance your personal life with the demands of running a business?
As an entrepreneur, finding the right balance between work and personal life can be challenging. However, I believe in integrating work with life rather than trying to maintain a strict separation. For me, it means being flexible with my schedule and taking breaks when needed. I am fortunate to have a supportive family who understand the demands of running a business. They give me the space and time I need to build my startup, while also providing emotional support whenever necessary. Additionally, I make sure to carve out time for personal activities that bring me joy, such as cooking and working out. Ultimately, I have come to realize that work-life balance is a myth. It's not about perfectly balancing the two, but rather finding a way to integrate them in a way that doesn't drive me crazy. Sometimes, this means working on weekends or taking a break on a weekday. Being my own boss allows me to make these decisions and adjust my schedule as needed.
What are your plans for the future of your business, and how do you see yourself evolving as a founder and leader?
As a founder and leader, I am constantly evolving and learning. One of my goals is to build a team of experts who are passionate about legal tech and share our vision for the future of the industry. I believe that the success of a company is directly proportional to the success of its team, and I am committed to creating a work environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and personal growth. In terms of the future of Legum Technica, we have exciting plans in the works. We are planning for the public launch of Vaqil to make law more accessible and efficient for our clients. We also want to make sure that we don't lose sight of what sets us apart - our commitment to using technology to make the legal system more transparent and accessible for everyone. We want to continue to be innovative and disruptive in our approach, while also staying true to our core values. I see myself evolving as a founder and leader by continuing to learn and adapt to new challenges. I want to become a better communicator, listener, and mentor for my team. I also want to become more involved in the legal tech community, both in India and internationally, to share my experiences and learn from others. Overall, the future of Legum Technica is bright, and I am excited to see where our journey takes us!
If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could go back in time and give myself a piece of advice, it would be to embrace uncertainty and take risks. I have learned that life is unpredictable, and it's essential to be adaptable and open-minded to change. My startup would not have been possible if I didn't embrace uncertainty and take the leap of faith. Now, at the age of 26, I am grateful for this company that is keeping me sane in these trying times. I am continually learning, evolving, and striving to be a better leader and founder.
What's the most unconventional thing you've done to grow your business, and what was the result?
Well, in a world where everyone is trying to do unconventional things, sometimes sticking to the conventional can be unconventional. One of the most unconventional things I did was to focus on building a strong foundation for my business, rather than chasing after the latest trends or trying to come up with the most flashy marketing gimmicks. I took the time to research and understand my target audience, develop a solid business plan, and build a product that truly met their needs. The result of this unconventional approach was that my company started to gain a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy, which in turn helped us to attract more attention from the right people. By focusing on the basics and doing them well, we were able to create some awareness for ourselves and our startup. Of course, this doesn't mean that we're not open to trying new things and experimenting with different approaches. But staying true to our core values and focusing on the things that matter most is where our focus is.
What's the most important lesson you've learned from a failure, and how have you applied it to your business?
While Legum Technica has not experienced a failure per se, we have certainly faced our fair share of challenges in the course of building our legal tech startup. One lesson that stands out to me is the importance of being adaptable and open-minded. As a team, my co-founder and I approach problem-solving from different perspectives. He tends to think big picture and is always considering the long-term vision for our company, while I tend to focus on the immediate steps that need to be taken to achieve our goals. We've found that this complementary approach has been invaluable in navigating challenges and finding creative solutions. In terms of applying this lesson to our business, we always strive to remain agile and adaptable. Our industry is constantly evolving, and it's essential that we are able to pivot quickly when necessary. We also prioritize staying attuned to our customer’s needs and feedback, and are continually iterating and improving our product based on their input. In short, while we don't view any misstep as a failure, we do believe that the ability to adapt and remain open-minded is critical to success in any business endeavour.
What's the most meaningful compliment or feedback you've ever received from a customer, and why did it resonate with you?
While we've received a lot of positive feedback and compliments about our product, one instance that stands out to me is when a judiciary aspirant reached out to us expressing her excitement and gratitude for the help she received from our digital assistant, vaqil. This particular customer had been struggling to find the information she needed for her studies, despite searching online and offline for hours. She decided to give vaqil a try, and within just five minutes, she was able to find exactly what she needed. She was ecstatic and reached out to us to share her experience. This feedback resonated with me for a few reasons. First and foremost, it was incredibly rewarding to know that our product is making a difference in people's lives. It also validated the hard work and effort that we've put into developing vaqil, knowing that it is able to deliver on its promise of providing real-time legal assistance. In addition, this feedback highlighted the potential impact that our product can have for individuals pursuing legal careers, such as law students and judiciary aspirants. It's exciting to know that vaqil can help make their studies and research more efficient and effective. Overall, this customer feedback reinforced the value and impact of our product, and inspired us to continue to innovate and improve our offering to meet the needs of our users.
If you had to choose one thing that makes your company truly unique and sets it apart from the competition, what would it be, and why?
One thing that truly sets Legum Technica apart from the competition is our unique approach to solving the challenges faced by the legal industry. Our team is composed of individuals who have personally experienced these challenges, and we've built our company with a deep understanding of the pain points that individuals and businesses encounter when interacting with the legal system. Our product, vaqil, is the result of this experience and understanding. Unlike other legal tech startups that may simply ride the wave of hype around technology in the legal industry, we are truly a tech-first company. We believe that technology has the power to democratize access to legal and justice systems, and we strive to minimize the need for human labor wherever possible. At the core of our approach is a commitment to making legal assistance accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or financial means. By leveraging the power of technology, we're able to provide real-time legal assistance that is affordable and easy to access. Ultimately, what sets Legum Technica apart is our unwavering dedication to our mission of helping individuals and businesses get the legal and justice system they deserve. By putting technology and innovation at the forefront of our approach, we're able to make a meaningful impact in the lives of our users, and we believe that this is what truly sets us apart from the competition.