Zeb Anderson – LegalQ

Every business will eventually need the help of an attorney.  Whether working with an attorney to create a client contract, or to go over a lease that took a forest to print, legal jargon surrounds the business world.
But how can a business owner find the right attorney?  Many attorneys may be great on paper, but the attorney/client relationship is typically very important to making sure things get done and are understood by all parties.  Utilizing an attorney that you don’t feel comfortable with can be devastatingly expensive.  Attorney’s are a part of your professional team, and you want a solid player for this position.
This is where Zeb Anderson, cofounder of LegalQ comes in.  Zeb helped create a marketplace for entrepreneurs to find attorneys and get a feel for how they work, at no initial cost to the entrepreneur.  If the brief meeting goes well, the relationship moves forward.
Listen as Zeb explains how LegalQ came about and how it can help entrepreneurs looking for all manner of legal help.
Visit Zeb at: https://legalq.io/
Authentic Business Adventures Podcast

[00:00:02.740] – Speaker 2
You have found Authentic Business Adventures, the business program that brings you the struggle stories and triumphant successes of business owners across the land. Downloadable audio episodes of the Authentic Business Adventures podcast can be found on the podcast link found at drawincustomers.com. We are locally underwritten by the Bank of Sun Prairie. My name is James Kademan, author, speaker, and helpful coach to small business owners across the country. And today we’re welcoming preparing to learn from Zeb Anderson, the co founder and CEO of Legal Q. Zeb, how are you doing today?

[00:00:35.120] – Speaker 1
I’m doing great, James. Thanks for having me and excited to chat.

[00:00:38.690] – Speaker 2
I’m very excited because the legal world, whether you like it or not, you got to deal with it as a business owner. Let’s start with what is Legal Q?

[00:00:48.940] – Speaker 1
Legal Q is an app and a platform for attorneys to use. Basically, we wanted to have the idea to make getting access to attorneys simpler. And we came up with the product to basically give people a free 15 minute consultation and you can put in your state, your area of law that you’re looking to get a question answered from. And we connect you to an attorney and the attorneys on the platform as well basically use it to help out people and if they do a good job, might have a client out of it.

[00:01:24.790] – Speaker 2
Nice. Very cool. So typically when I come across companies like this that are solving a problem, the founders or someone had a problem that this product solves and they couldn’t find a solution. So is this something that you or one of the other co founders ran into?

[00:01:42.970] – Speaker 1
It’s a great question. I think that’s where the best companies come from, is when you have your own or see a problem and solve for it by making a product. To that end, I am an attorney for my sins, but I started thinking about this when I worked at Medtronic, which was a big Medtech company, or is a big Medtech company.

[00:02:07.540] – Speaker 2
Yeah, huge.

[00:02:09.490] – Speaker 1
One of the roles I had there was using data to try to go direct in emerging markets. So getting from us to the hospital without going through two to three middlemen in the process and say you need a pace maker, but if it’s 50,000 X of what Medtronic sells it for, then it’s prohibitively expensive and actually some people can’t get access to these therapies by that process. And so during that time, started thinking, what other industries have that middleman problem? And legal is one of them. It definitely is way too hard today to find an attorney. If you just think in the past year or two, if you’ve had a legal question, right? It’s anything and everything. I have a neighbor’s tree that’s hanging over my yard. I want to cut it down, but I don’t know the property rights and all the things for that. All these questions today, you Google it, you maybe get a law firm, but you’re at the mercy of whoever has the best SEO or SEM at the top of Google. You call them, you’re on hold for a couple of hours, whatever the process is. It’s a terrible one.

[00:03:18.300] – Speaker 1
So we just wanted to simplify that and just get people broader access to the legal industry. And I think this is by far the simplest process to do so. And that’s the problem we’re solving for. And we want to just make it an easy process, something that historically has been way too hard. And we can talk about some of those reasons why the legal industry is behind the times and the technology, but sometimes it takes a global pandemic and it’s a start up to kick them in the pants a little bit to keep it moving.

[00:03:54.990] – Speaker 2
Yeah. For those listening that don’t know, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, Zeb, but I believe from the attorney friends that I have, they can’t directly call on someone to try to sell them, essentially, on being their attorney. They can market with the billboards that you see anytime you go through a big town, even a little town, sometimes you see all the billboards, injured in an accident or whatever. They’re everywhere. So you can contact them, but they can’t contact you directly, which leaves them a little different than a typical business that would have salespeople and all that jazz.

[00:04:30.860] – Speaker 1
Yeah, it’s a good insight, James. And it’s different state by state. But for the most states, that is the case. And it’s funny. So we talked to a lot of marketing people for law firms and just helping them understand their journey and their pain points. And we were talking to a marketing manager, and she was saying the advertisements for the billboards is… They don’t ever know how effective those are, but the reason that she uses them is because the founder of the firm drives by all these every day and wants to see the billboards for the firm.

[00:05:12.060] – Speaker 2

[00:05:12.340] – Speaker 1

[00:05:13.140] – Speaker 2
Little ego boost, right?

[00:05:14.540] – Speaker 1
Little ego boost. Yeah. Hey, that’s whatever works for you. But yeah, it is prohibitively, I don’t know, onerous to market as an attorney.

[00:05:25.300] – Speaker 2
Yeah, which I get because you don’t want someone to get into a car accident and then have 500 attorneys calling them while they’re in the hospital.

[00:05:33.190] – Speaker 1

[00:05:33.880] – Speaker 2
I get it.

[00:05:35.970] – Speaker 1

[00:05:37.030] – Speaker 2
Just makes the sales process or connecting with an attorney a little bit more difficult. Not to say that anytime somebody reaches out to you to try to sell you something, they’re the ones. But a lot of times they’ll at least get you looking. So you have to consider a yes or no to that. You want to use this person that’s calling on you. Now you got to do the digging and figure out, like you said, like, hey, who’s got the best SEO. I suppose in any given town, there’s 7 billion attorneys.

[00:06:05.370] – Speaker 1
Or whatever. Yeah, there’s a lot.

[00:06:07.390] – Speaker 2
They all do specialties.

[00:06:09.650] – Speaker 1
Yeah, 100 %. And there’s actually 1.3 million attorneys in the States today.

[00:06:15.210] – Speaker 2
1.3 million.

[00:06:16.340] – Speaker 1
Yeah, it’s crazy.

[00:06:17.850] – Speaker 2
That’s one out of every, what, 300 people?

[00:06:21.740] – Speaker 1
It’s around there. Yeah. Okay. It’s crazy. But we target… This is ome… I don’t know if a lot of people know this, so everybody thinks that a JD is a ticket to fame and fortune, right? Everybody’s driving great cars, the best.

[00:06:40.710] – Speaker 2
Suits, all these things. Tell me, a JD.

[00:06:43.400] – Speaker 1
I’m sorry. The license that you need to practice law or the degree you need to practice.

[00:06:48.710] – Speaker 2
Sure. You need the Yacht as soon as you graduate, right?

[00:06:52.350] – Speaker 1
Yeah, right. Get you the keys. There’s a group called NALP which looks at the attorney’s salaries. And what they found was, if you’re in the top one or two to three % of your class, you’re working at a big law firm and you’re making three, four, or 500K a year, life is great. But then in the middle, there’s this big drop off between that and around 70K. Then there’s another big jump between about 45K and 75K a year that 40 % of attorneys in America make.

[00:07:28.520] – Speaker 2
Which is 40 %?

[00:07:30.670] – Speaker 1
Which isn’t exactly nothing to sniff at, but at the same point, if it takes you 200 grand in student loans to.

[00:07:37.470] – Speaker 2
Get to that point… Right. That’s what I was thinking. You got to pay for the education.

[00:07:41.280] – Speaker 1
Yeah. Actually, a lot of attorneys are struggling. You don’t see that a lot. And I think the law and order and the fancy lawyer shows don’t help that case a little bit. But at the same point, there should be a better way to do it.

[00:08:01.170] – Speaker 2
Interesting. Okay. So essentially what Legal Q does is solve the problem of people that need attorneys finding attorneys. T hen once you find them or essentially find their phone number or their email address, then you still got to figure out, well, is this a good fit?

[00:08:18.740] – Speaker 1
Exactly. Yeah. How we facilitate that is with that 15 minute consultation, you can do a text voice or video chat directly with the attorney and just make it simple. If you like them, great. You can continue to use them. If you don’t, you can get another opinion and think about it in a different way. We can’t solve everything overnight. You’re still going to pay whatever long term engagement of the attorney is, but we can help make it more efficient on the front end for both sides. Hopefully, over time, some of those legal fees can get passed on to the people that they’re supporting.

[00:08:58.160] – Speaker 2
Got you. All right. How long has Legal Q been around?

[00:09:05.020] – Speaker 1
We’ve been around almost three years now, which is crazy to think about. I have this black hole during the pandemic where I think this is universal, time just doesn’t exist. I was working full time at Metronic when I had the idea for it, but did the nights and weekends shift on this. Last summer, we got into a program called Tech Stars, which is.

[00:09:32.500] – Speaker 2

[00:09:33.440] – Speaker 1

[00:09:33.890] – Speaker 2

[00:09:35.840] – Speaker 1
Great program. They really help you dial in where your operations might be in need of help and just really help you grow quickly as a company. They give you a stipend as part of that, that they invest in your company. From that, I was able to jump ship and do it full time. We’ve been just at it since.

[00:10:00.250] – Speaker 2
Nice. Just timeline wise, how recent was that?

[00:10:04.890] – Speaker 1
That was last summer. Yeah, in July. Okay, nice.

[00:10:08.580] – Speaker 2
Okay, so it’s been a year, roughly?

[00:10:10.670] – Speaker 1

[00:10:11.300] – Speaker 2
Something like that? Okay. And texters, I believe they have instructors or coaches that guide you through a lot of this, right?

[00:10:19.590] – Speaker 1
They do. And the most interesting one or flavor of that that they do is this week called Mentor Madness, which is literally, it’s like speed dating for mentorship. You have 50 people that you meet over that week, and each one is, I think, 20 minutes long. And so you really have to have your value proposition down by the end of that because you’re rapid fire questions. And you really do get a lot of really good feedback about your business, about how to grow your marketing plan, grow your team effectively, what things should you be looking for in the HR, early employment, all those fun things. It beats it into you by the end of the week of 50 people asking questions about your company.

[00:11:11.180] – Speaker 2
Interesting. I have to apologize because I don’t know how long the Tech Stars program goes for.

[00:11:17.600] – Speaker 1
Yeah, no problem. I think it’s a three month… Is that right?

[00:11:23.580] – Speaker 2

[00:11:24.900] – Speaker 1
Actually four months program. I don’t know if it’s different in different programs, but we went through the Tech Stars Iowa program. I’m in Minneapolis here and neighbors to the West, you guys. The Iowa program lined up with our schedule and to be humbly, it’s really hard to get in. I think they take less than 1 % of the companies that apply to be in the program. We feel really honored to be a part of that.

[00:11:52.680] – Speaker 2
Yeah. You mentioned we and you’re the co founder. How many people are with you that helped you found the company?

[00:12:01.070] – Speaker 1
We had a couple of early people in the process that gave a lot of great effort but then had life circumstances, take them away from legal queue. But today we have, I think, 13 total. It fluctuates on our engineering department. People as part of the crew and some really great people. Wag Magarwa, she’s a co founder, she’s brilliant attorney, really good at all things operations, where I’m terrible at, if I’m honest. We have Lee Swett, he’s our CFO today. And he actually played in the NHL for a little while.

[00:12:46.290] – Speaker 2

[00:12:47.140] – Speaker 1
You do. And wanted to do something in finance when he got out. So we got three MBAs while playing. So one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and really helps on the all things finance. Thomas Hornbeck is our CTO, and he helps with all things product. He’s a PhD computer scientist, raised 35 million in previous startups, so really brilliant guy. And honestly, it takes a lot of time to understand. And Anthony Bernetti is our newest CMO, one of the best marketers that I’ve ever met. Nice. And it takes a long time to truly understand who’s right for the long term in these early roles. And if I have any advice on that, it’s just get to know the person well and understand their motivation, their level of commitment, and their understanding of what this is going to be, because it’s like a family or a marriage or whatever analogy you want to use for it for five, 10 years. And if they don’t have your back on that and vice versa, it can be a long journey. But yeah, really happy with where the team’s at today.

[00:14:00.170] – Speaker 2
All right. So it sounds like you must have gone through at least a few runs of funding.

[00:14:05.830] – Speaker 1

[00:14:06.400] – Speaker 2
And was.

[00:14:06.790] – Speaker 1

[00:14:07.480] – Speaker 2
You or is it the whole group? Tell me about that.

[00:14:12.690] – Speaker 1
Yeah, we’ve raised about 500K in our pre seed round so far, and we’re actually looking to raise our seed round right now. We’re in another accelerator called launch, which is if you know of Jason Calcanis, and this we can start up. It’s his accelerator. So we get to work with them really closely. And it’s a long process. And honestly, it’s so much work and so much effort. And you hear no from… I think they say the average, you talk to 100 VCs and you hear once yes, or you hear yes once, right? And so those odds can grade on you after a while. And the funny thing is VCs will never tell you no. Well, very few will tell you no. What they’ll say is, Oh, I love this. Team is great. Tam product, love everything. You’re just too early for us or you’re too XYZ. It’ll be a maybe because if you turn into a Google or an Amazon, they want to throw in their money down the road, so they’ll never shut the door on it.

[00:15:15.890] – Speaker 2
Got you.

[00:15:16.800] – Speaker 1
Got to leave you hanging.

[00:15:20.600] – Speaker 2
That’s funny. It’s part of the Midwest nice thing. We don’t say no. We rarely say yes. It’s always maybe, maybe, maybe.

[00:15:28.410] – Speaker 1

[00:15:28.680] – Speaker 2
Percent. It’s slow to slow. decision makers. Oh, it’s funny. Tell me, some of the other software companies that I’ve talked to or app companies, a lot of times they run into what I bet is a similar situation that you have, where you have businesses that you’re trying to connect with consumers. And it’s very tough to connect consumers when you only have a few businesses. But if you get a bunch of businesses, you also need consumers to actually sell them. So how do you solve that chicken egg scenario?

[00:16:01.180] – Speaker 1
That is a great question. It’s probably the hardest part about the business, that dual sided market where you have to grow at the same place at the same time on both sides. And the tricky thing about the law is most areas of law, you have to have attorneys that practice within the area where the question comes from. So if you’re in Wisconsin, you have a criminal law question, you need a lawyer from the bar in Wisconsin to answer that.

[00:16:31.080] – Speaker 2

[00:16:32.290] – Speaker 1
Geographically, yeah. Really? All right. And there’s some exceptions to this. And say, intellectual property, right? A lot of times that’s more federally based law. So then you can probably work with an attorney outside of that geographic area or immigration, all these more federal based ones. But other than that, that really puts a constraint on making sure that these attorneys are in the states that you’re growing your user side from. It’s a state by state thing. And a lot of times even the attorneys want to work with people that are geographically nearby because if they need to go into court, they don’t want to have to drive from Madison to Milwaukee or something to solve for that case. And so I think that’s the tricky part. And there’s not a here all magic solution that we found for this. It’s basically just trying to grow with the channels that we have and use the app over time to generate that word of mouth, which we’re starting to see a little bit more of now. And over time, it just grows as it does, but it takes a lot of time to build it.

[00:17:48.460] – Speaker 2
All right. I know from other app developers that I talked to, for them to get funding, the people that the VCs or whatever you want to call them angel investors, whatever level they were at. I wanted to know metrics that were like monthly users, total subscribers, all that stuff.

[00:18:10.810] – Speaker 1

[00:18:11.430] – Speaker 2
A lot of times when I talk to these guys, the numbers that they’re asked for or that the VC may be looking for, VCs a lot of times don’t know anything about the industry that they may invest in.

[00:18:24.280] – Speaker 1

[00:18:25.060] – Speaker 2
How do you figure out or how do they, you just collectively the group, figure out what is a good number for a number of monthly users and something like that. Especially when it comes to people finding attorneys because it’s not exactly a diet program or something where it’s residual. You hope that person needs an attorney. Hopefully for the most part, you don’t need an attorney monthly.

[00:18:49.900] – Speaker 1
I may.

[00:18:51.590] – Speaker 2
Be wrong there, but I would assume that nobody wants an attorney monthly.

[00:18:55.620] – Speaker 1
It’s a bad situation if you do. But it’s a great question. It’s really hard to find those metrics that resonate from that level. We’re getting close to 8,000 downloads in the app. And so that shows the users are excited about it. And number of attorneys on the platform, we’re a couple hundred under that side. And so over time, those metrics… It’s funny. A lot of VCs will tell you that they’re very metrics driven and very show me the numbers and I’ll give you right to check. But what I’m finding is that a lot of times if you can tell the story effectively and show them that, hey, we’re not just some widget company that sells you shoes or something, and no shade on people that sell shoes. But what we’re trying to deliver is access to justice, right? People that need an attorney, that don’t know where to find one, and we offer that for free. That’s something pretty fundamental to society today. And as long as you can communicate that story and the potential market size, I think that starts getting them that little bit of FOMO if they miss out on this opportunity.

[00:20:23.840] – Speaker 1
And then you can build around that as part of the round. And you have to have the goods and the metrics. But ultimately, if you can tell the story effectively, that’s a bigger challenge, I feel like.

[00:20:37.620] – Speaker 2
Got you. Okay, well, that makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. I wonder if it’s funny because it’d be like, hey, investor person, if you needed an attorney, what would you do? How would you go to find it? If you could use the product or not. Interesting.

[00:20:52.370] – Speaker 1
What has been the… That part is…

[00:20:53.790] – Speaker 2
No, go ahead. Go ahead.

[00:20:55.560] – Speaker 1
The attorneys or the VCs, rather, usually aren’t in the demographic that don’t have the money to not be able to find an attorney. Got you. They usually have one on the Rolodex.

[00:21:08.240] – Speaker 2

[00:21:09.510] – Speaker 1
Actually, it’s funny because telling them that this is a need for most people in the US today, two thirds of Americans have some type of ongoing legal issue at any given time, and only half of those get resolved completely. Wow. Just describing it in those terms and in that lens of this is a bigger issue than you might think of by having an attorney on speed dial in your level. It’s been a challenge sometimes.

[00:21:41.380] – Speaker 2
Got you. Just for them to even understand it as being a problem.

[00:21:45.620] – Speaker 1

[00:21:46.120] – Speaker 2
Because they’re just like, Don’t you have an attorney on retainer? Yeah, right.

[00:21:49.770] – Speaker 1
Come on. I got three. That’s easy.

[00:21:54.810] – Speaker 2
Oh, funny. That’s interesting. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a buddy of mine who’s a private pilot. He’s a private pilot for a guy that has a jet in a hangar and he can afford to have two pilots on staff, office staff, all this stuff, purely just to fly places for fun.

[00:22:17.820] – Speaker 1

[00:22:18.020] – Speaker 2
God bless. Yeah, very blessed. When you’re on that level financially, you just are so disconnected from the rest of the world.

[00:22:28.330] – Speaker 1

[00:22:29.000] – Speaker 2
Just don’t understand how the rest of the world, either the things that they have to sacrifice or not get. It’s interesting because these are people that are making more money in a minute than some people make in a year. And they’re making that money because they have their money working for them. So it’s like, Oh, if you want something, just get it. A lot of the struggles and challenges, whether it’s been inherited or whether they had to work hard for it at one point, then they earned where they’re at. They forget, right? Just like sometimes I have to forget or have to forget, have forgotten what a minimum wage job is.

[00:23:07.040] – Speaker 1
When I.

[00:23:07.920] – Speaker 2
Was a kid, oh, my gosh, did you have to work hard for that $3.85 an hour?

[00:23:12.960] – Speaker 1
Right. I watched a lot of dishes. I hear you.

[00:23:16.740] – Speaker 2
It’s just interesting how we live our day to day and we forget or just have a hard time understanding what other people may be going through, what some of the challenges are that they’re having.

[00:23:30.480] – Speaker 1
I totally agree, Jane. I don’t want to throw out them all. There are some that have seen the light on this and understand it. But to your point, I think the way that you communicate that effectively to them is by telling that it’s part of a story. As we pitch to the VCs, we talk about a person on the platform that was kicked out of her apartment. We anonymized all her details and everything, but this was an actual person that went through Legal Q, found an attorney, and was able to basically get her situation resolved by the fact that she was able to find an attorney on Legal Q and work with them to solve for it. And I’m humanizing it, bringing them to an actual story, not this theoretical two thirds of Americans situation. I think that helps a lot.

[00:24:23.000] – Speaker 2
So as far as the legal issues that people are presenting, do you get to know broadly what those are? I guess what I’m trying to ask or tiptoe around is, is it more like, hey, I got a speeding ticket or DUI or something like that? Or is it more like, should I sign this lease or something of that nature? Is it more small business stuff? What legal issues are people going to legal queue to try to help solve?

[00:24:52.660] – Speaker 1
Yeah, another great question. We actually looked into that a little bit. And the most popular category is family law.

[00:25:02.200] – Speaker 2
Family law? Okay. A lot.

[00:25:04.310] – Speaker 1
Of questions, especially in the pandemic. I think people have different legal challenges by the circumstances of either A, being in the same place as somebody for that whole time because the divorce has kicked up a little bit, or there’s circumstances around custody and all these different family law issues that are pretty big out there today. And the other reason that is a little more popular is it’s more transactional. So if you think about a business law attorney, they might work with one company for five years and get them solved for their questions as they come through. But family law situations are more discreet. You can have a divorce or something or a probate or some of these things that happen around family law that are just a little bit more often holistically across the community. And so that’s I think, why those are the most popular. But also it’s one of the fun things that we’re seeing with this is sometimes the questions that are coming through aren’t to your point that they need it immediately. It’s more like to your point, hey, do these clauses make sense? Some of the questions that I think everybody has, but too afraid to talk to an attorney today because if you get a bill…

[00:26:33.540] – Speaker 1
And by the way, an anecdote on this. Wagman and I, we were talking, looking for some help around some legal questions we had in Minnesota here and booked the time with an attorney just through their account link. And I thought it was just a consultation. The next day, we get a bill for, I think it’s like 450 bucks. I was talking to her, I’m like, did you know that we were going to charge for that? She’s like, I had no idea. This happens to attorneys today, right? And so I think if you can open the or make that safe space to ask these legal questions in a way that you know you’re not going to get charged and you can do a little bit of the prevention, pound to cure work on the front end, you’re actually saving a lot of these people from making risky or bad decisions by just having that accessible to them.

[00:27:29.420] – Speaker 2
Interesting. Okay. Yeah, I can tell you, I’m going through a legal thing trying to… I guess we’re chasing down the client that broke contract, which it’s minor. Nobody got hurt. It’s just a little financial thing. But the amount of money that my attorney is getting, it just makes you think like, Oh, my gosh. This is a headache? And it’s an expensive headache.

[00:27:57.350] – Speaker 1

[00:27:58.100] – Speaker 2
It’d be, I think, more expensive to walk away, but it’s still like, What?

[00:28:07.670] – Speaker 1

[00:28:08.560] – Speaker 2
A lot of money.

[00:28:09.310] – Speaker 1
It still doesn’t feel good, right? Because then you feel like you’re not getting justice and you don’t have your rights being honored in that circumstance. And I think that’s the tricky part about this today is justice is blind as long as you have the money to pay for it.

[00:28:27.710] – Speaker 2
Yeah. My rule is in court, there’s two people that win and they’re both the attorneys. Right. It doesn’t matter who they say won. Nobody really won except for the attorneys.

[00:28:39.820] – Speaker 1
No, I hear you. As an attorney, I love the legal jokes. We have a bunch of them and it’s tricky. It really is. The story I mentioned at the beginning of how much the attorneys make versus what perception of what they make is. I think there’s a couple of bad apples that give a bad name to the vast majority of the good ones. The ironic thing about all that is most attorneys actually went to law school to be helpful, to be advocates, to be in a position to help people. I truly believe that. From my experience with hundreds of them now, that’s what I’m seeing. It’s just there needs to be a simpler way through technology or in some ways, maybe deregulation a little bit to help enable some of these new business models to take place. Otherwise, you just have the status quo and people are going to get discontented. And there’s a famous venture capitalist that says if you’re going to start a startup, do it in an industry that has a highly regulated low NPS score. So NPS is like a quality of satisfaction people have in a product or company or something.

[00:29:58.320] – Speaker 1
And Legal has one of the lowest scores.

[00:30:01.150] – Speaker 2

[00:30:01.920] – Speaker 1
Any industry in the world. All right. So I think this is definitely something that’s needed, and we’re trying to fill it.

[00:30:09.380] – Speaker 2
Sure. There’s opportunity. That is cool. Let’s talk about the actual tech side of Legal Q. You guys come up with this idea. Was one of the people or were one of the people on your team a coder? To the point that you’re just like, Hey, put this together, let’s take a look at it. Or are you a coder? Or how did you find the people to actually get the ones and zeros all together?

[00:30:35.610] – Speaker 1
Yeah. So I’m a coder myself.

[00:30:39.390] – Speaker 2

[00:30:39.960] – Speaker 1
Started doing websites, did web apps, had a startup in ’09. That was a coupon based location app. Oh, really? A lot of that. That’s the technology side. I did some of the coding on the front end at the beginning, but basically we got lucky. I will always claim that I’m rather be lucky than good, and that’s a lot of my life. But basically, there’s a company called Inspire 11 out of Chicago. They’re like a management consulting company and analytics. When I was at Metronic, I had met them and humbly they tried to head hunt me a little bit. I’m like, Hey guys, I’m working on this legal queue thing. What’s legal queue? I told them about it and met their founder and a couple of the local guys here in Minneapolis, the great people. They’re like, This is really cool. We’d love to be a part of this. So gave them some equity and then they developed the MVP of the product on the front end. And oh, nice.

[00:31:46.120] – Speaker 1
That got us our V1. By the way, we still did it horribly wrong because we overengineered a lot of the first pieces of the app. The ironic piece of this is if we would have just talked to the attorneys before we gave them the app that we assumed that they wanted, we would have been able to do it a lot faster and also been able to be in a position to get them a lot closer to what they actually wanted in the app versus what we assumed they wanted. We’re not Steve jobs that says, Here’s your iPhone, you’re going to like it, and this is what it is.

[00:32:22.860] – Speaker 2
Your thumbs will learn.

[00:32:25.210] – Speaker 1
Right. We had them in the beginning and then we transitioned to Thomas Hornback, the CTO in his team. They’ve been at it for I think about nine months now and it’s been a great journey.

[00:32:44.470] – Speaker 2
Nice. When you first started this and you’re getting it going, what were some of the hiccups or the things that you’re just like, oh, how are we going to do that? Those things that every once in a while when you start a business, you think like, Oh, my gosh, we’ll never get over that hurdle.

[00:33:01.820] – Speaker 1
Yeah, so many. I should make a list. But I think some of the big ones were, like I mentioned, we didn’t talk to enough customers before we assumed the product was what it was, and that would have saved a lot of time and energy. Second thing is there’s just so much hesitancy to adopt new technology in fields that historically work. The power of the status quo is really hard to push against because if you have a system that works today, it doesn’t meet all of your needs, but it gets you most of the way there. It takes a leap of faith to jump on a new platform or new technology or new way to think about something. And attorneys historically are pretty risk averse. They legitimately write contracts to mitigate risk all day long. Getting them to trust a better mouse trap and a cheaper mouse trap is a tricky process. And we eventually found the messaging that works well and to honestly just compare us against the competitors. And if you have a better way to do things, they’re smart people and can see that this would be a better tool to use. So that was a big hurdle on the early stage.

[00:34:30.480] – Speaker 1
And then I would say just getting your product to a place where you can get some VC money behind it and get some early angel capital. In the Midwest, it’s tough. I think a lot of the VCs locally here is getting a little better, but Wisconsin and Minnesota, I think are pretty similar on this in that, and even Chicago, Iowa, the whole Midwest is a lot of the VCs are very risk averse as well. They’ll say, Hey, we want to be the first check in the door. Love your thing, but we need to see 10,000 monthly revenue or we need to see this other stuff to get there. We need to see.

[00:35:17.010] – Speaker 2
A working business with a decade of proof.

[00:35:19.800] – Speaker 1
Exactly. Guys, if we had all that, we wouldn’t need you. Yeah, right?

[00:35:24.410] – Speaker 2

[00:35:25.470] – Speaker 1
It’s slowly changing, but I think there’s just the culture of a lot of industry. So they’re maybe made their money in, I don’t know, in timber or MedTech or some thing with an actual good and service that provides X, Y, Z value. And it’s hard to dream of what a startup could be if it’s two months into your product, you have 10 customers and your team isn’t built out yet.

[00:36:00.080] – Speaker 2
But that.

[00:36:01.290] – Speaker 1
Said, the VCs on the Coast, there’s a lot more leeway for that early stage funding. And because they’ve seen a napkin turn into a billion dollar company, whatever you write on initial meeting. And so I think they have that muscle memory of understanding that some of these early stage companies, and even if one out of 50 fail or one out of 100 fail, then… Or I’m sorry, make it, not fail. It’s about 95 % fail. That makes back your fund. That makes back all the money that you need for your investors in your fund. And I just hope to see that change over time in the Midwest too, because there’s a lot of great tech talent here. And if you get stifled by the lack of investment, especially at that early stage, then you’re going to get brain drained to the Coast, one, and the people aren’t going to stay here and support the communities and grow the small businesses that turn into these really big tax bases for the city. So I think that’s hopefully going to change over time.

[00:37:12.240] – Speaker 2
It’s interesting. I used to hang on at a place, they had 1 million Cups thing, they had essentially an incubator, the floors above. And some of those guys would come and talk to or present at the 1 million Cups group that I was a part of. And there’s one group that I’m thinking of specifically. When somebody asked them, what’s your revenue model? And they didn’t have an answer. If they still had, I think they had over $5 million in investments that people had invested in them. And I’m like, wait a second, last week we listened to a guy because what I thought was the best new mouse trap in the world, and he was clawing, trying to get venture capital, these clowns don’t even have a revenue model and they’re getting dollars thrown at them. I’m like, Wait a second. People with money are supposed to be pretty smart? Then lo and behold, I think it was a year ago, I saw this one without a revenue model closed up shop. I’m like, Well, big surprise. But it’s interesting how I’m not elbow deep in this. I just outside of looking at it. I look at some of these companies that I see getting investments pretty handily, and I’m like, No way.

[00:38:30.760] – Speaker 2
And other ones that I see having a rough time and I’m like, This seems like an easy lay up.

[00:38:35.850] – Speaker 1
So it’s interesting.

[00:38:38.160] – Speaker 2
I imagine you see this as well. How come you’re giving them money?

[00:38:41.890] – Speaker 1
All the time. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s really hard. I have a friend who he’s friends with the company that went through Y Combinator, which is another big accelerator. And they Two days before their big demo day, which they show their product and show the team interaction and things to investors, they completely changed their business model. They literally threw together three PowerPoint slides to this Web 3 crypto… I don’t even know what it was, something that nobody does. They got a couple million in funding from that on three PowerPoint slides.

[00:39:21.040] – Speaker 2
Wow. Two days before. Two or three.

[00:39:23.700] – Speaker 1
Days before, yeah. It’s heartbreaking because to your point, I have legitimately put my 10,000 hours into this. We have a business that truly will help enable access to justice, not just in the States, but globally someday. And we probably have the best legal tech team in the world right now. And it’s still a challenge to get that validation from the VCs that we need to grow it. And so it’s tricky and it’s heartbreaking sometimes, but you just got to stick with it and keep at it. And over time, they’re going to just have to see the results and excited for that part. Fair.

[00:40:06.120] – Speaker 2
Got the match. Com of lawyers.

[00:40:09.180] – Speaker 1
I like that. I like that. I might use that. Thank you.

[00:40:13.060] – Speaker 2
Tell me, the attorneys that you have that have come on, or even the ones that you haven’t, like, not my thing, what has been some of the pushback that they give you?

[00:40:25.420] – Speaker 1
Great question. A lot of it is just being uncertain around the platform, new technology, how it works, what they assume are… Because I think a lot of attorneys have the understanding that consultations should be free, or at least the first point of contact to figure out their situation should be free for that. We’ve had some push back on that. Then the other part of it is just the proof in the pudding part of does this actually work? We can tell them that if you are diligent and you do a great job on this platform, one in five historically turned into a paying client for attorneys. Nice. Which is double the current industry average of these other competitors that in my mind should be illegal in some of them because if you have 20 attorneys clicking on one lead, this poor soul on the other end gets bombarded to your point by 20 attorneys at the same time. Somehow that’s legal, whereas Legal Q connects you one on one connection and you can just have a chat. It’s crazy. I think people just need to know about it a little bit more. I think we’re close to 100 % of the attorneys that go through the demo and see the product, like it and get signed up.

[00:41:48.090] – Speaker 1
It just takes us the legwork of telling people about it and sharing what it can do for them.

[00:41:54.890] – Speaker 2
It’s interesting you say that you got push back about the free consultation thing because free consultation is 15 minutes, something like that. And I feel like if I had a business where I couldn’t proactively sell, I couldn’t go out and I had a customer, a potential customer knocking on my door saying, Hey, just talk to me for 15 minutes so I make sure we’re a good fit.

[00:42:16.150] – Speaker 1
I wouldn’t say no.

[00:42:19.230] – Speaker 1
Hey, I got.

[00:42:20.780] – Speaker 2
This money to spend with someone that does what you do, but I want to make sure that you’re a good fit because.

[00:42:26.580] – Speaker 1

[00:42:27.500] – Speaker 2
They’re just trusting off your logo or your last name? What else would they use to know that you’re a good fit? Totally. But it seems like, to me, that seems like a no brainer. That’s a fair request. You’re not asking for hours. You’re literally asking for probably less time than what you spent looking for your keys at one time. Totally agree.

[00:42:54.050] – Speaker 1
You can spare.

[00:42:54.950] – Speaker 2
15 minutes to get a sale. Or in this case, if it’s one out of five, you’re essentially giving away an hour in exchange for hours, plural, paid.

[00:43:05.870] – Speaker 1

[00:43:06.290] – Speaker 2
About easy lay up all day long. I’ll trade that all day long. Thank you.

[00:43:12.080] – Speaker 1
We’re going to use that in our marketing ad. I like it. No, but you’re right. It’s a pain point. And like I mentioned earlier, just that default to status quo is a really powerful force. Once you can convince them that this is a better mouse trap, better, cheaper, safer, easier to do, then I think people then really see the light on it.

[00:43:40.570] – Speaker 2
Yeah. It’s interesting. I started with a business partner, an online window company, so replacement windows for a house. Cool. And we first started that. We ended up pausing it because of the supply chain issues.

[00:43:58.260] – Speaker 2
Yeah. Anyways, one of our first potential clients was local, and he’s like, Could you just bring me a sample? Which was completely against our model. The whole model is that you buy windows for your house online the same way you would buy Tesla. You go online, you pick out your window. Because to me, a window is a window as long as you look at the data metrics, our value, whatever, all that stuff. Anyways, I’m like, sure. First customer, we’re new, we’ll step outside of the zone. I don’t know anything about windows. My business partner knew about windows, but I’m like, I’m just going to this guy’s house, not a big deal. So I go to his house and he’s looking at the sample and he’s opening and shutting it. And all I could think is, this guy has no idea what he’s looking at. He has no idea because it’s a window just like any other window.

[00:44:52.740] – Speaker 1

[00:44:53.680] – Speaker 2
Just vinyl window. There’s glass, triple paint. So it’s super nice and efficient and stuff like that. That’s not something that you can see. And it’s certainly not something that the average Joe would know. Like, oh, yeah, I know exactly about this is.

[00:45:06.530] – Speaker 1
Yeah, right. It was just.

[00:45:08.290] – Speaker 2
The status quo that you’re talking about, right? They’re used to a salesperson coming to their house, doing a little corner cut, and just do their little dog and pony show, trying to sell them on windows. And our whole thing was, you don’t need that. You don’t need that. You need Windows that are better, blah, blah, blah. Definitely. Click Buy and move on with your life. It was interesting because that was a learning experience for me. I feel like we might be a few years ahead of where people are comfortable with as far as just buying a pretty big ticket item.

[00:45:46.000] – Speaker 1
But we.

[00:45:47.470] – Speaker 2
Had plans to go down with selling roofs and stuff like that because I’m like, if somebody showed me… I remember we got a roof replace and this guy shows me this little thing with the shingles on it. I don’t know what I’m looking at. It’s a shingle. Shie of paper with glitter glued on it. I know, okay, I don’t think that one will do what I need it to do. I don’t know what I’m looking at. I’m not a shingle guy.

[00:46:13.340] – Speaker 1
But they go through.

[00:46:14.670] – Speaker 2
This presentation to try to make it think like, I know you’re the customer, so you must be the exit or know exactly what you want. So it’s.

[00:46:22.920] – Speaker 1

[00:46:24.460] – Speaker 2
How I see some similarities here where there’s challenges where you don’t need to actually shake hands with the attorney. You just got to chat with them and make sure that it’s a good fit. I imagine personality wise, skill set wise.

[00:46:39.820] – Speaker 1
Make the.

[00:46:40.780] – Speaker 2
Magic happen. You don’t need to go through the whole… Like 90 % of the process is just for the sake of process, not to actually accomplish anything.

[00:46:50.120] – Speaker 1
Totally. And to extend out your point a little bit further, if you are in a big law firm downtown with the best office space that you’re paying 50 grand a month for, all these other… The flowers in the lobby are 10 grand. All these things that you don’t need and basically are just adding to the cost of the end user. And the cool thing about… I mean, if there’s any a good thing from the pandemic, it’s showing people that it’s okay to talk to service people through their phones or through technology. If you think all the doctors on demand talking to your therapist, talking to your tax advisor, all these different industries have, during the pandemic, forced them to get people to get comfortable with that. And I think now that we’re post pandemic, or whatever flavor of pandemic we’re in right now, people are… It’s a good name for it. People are more comfortable with talking to their attorneys on there as well. I think that’s the silver lining to just forcing people to understand that technology is a cheaper, better, faster mouse trap to get there. It’s going to pass along those savings to you as part of it.

[00:48:17.490] – Speaker 2
I used to have a printer repair company, and I can remember being in a law firm. I was in Madison, so the capital of Wisconsin. O n one side, there’s this huge window. I don’t know how I… Maybe it was the top floor of the building, but in Madison, they have it so you can’t be higher than the Capitol. That’s right. Eighth floor, whatever it is. Huge pane of glass. And this printer is right next to this thing. And you look through the other office, you can see the lake on the other side. Nice. Beautiful office. And I like to think is this guy just complained about the cost to fix his printer. It was a couple of hundred bucks. And I think he’s paying more per year for where, like the square footage where this printer sits, and what he just paid to have me fix it.

[00:49:04.760] – Speaker 1

[00:49:05.040] – Speaker 2
The printer doesn’t care about the view.

[00:49:08.010] – Speaker 1
No, exactly. It was so interesting.

[00:49:10.520] – Speaker 2
What he was complaining about. Dude, you got a beautiful office. And the only reason you have this office is that when people come here, they think, Oh, look at this guy. Super awesome. Feed the ego. Let me throw some money at you because you must know what you’re doing. Right.

[00:49:26.150] – Speaker 1
You got to view of the lake.

[00:49:26.960] – Speaker 2
And the capital. It’s crazy.

[00:49:29.220] – Speaker 1
It’s terrible.

[00:49:30.340] – Speaker 2
Yeah, it’s just interesting how the perceptions, I guess, people have.

[00:49:37.080] – Speaker 1
It’s hard to break that sometimes. I mean, it’s tricky, right? Because I think a lot of times, and this was a challenge we had early, was people, free anything is suspect. People have in their minds, there’s no free lunch. Why would I talk to these people and they care? So it took some education on the user side, too, to say, Hey guys, these attorneys want to talk to you. This is something that they actually are paying legal cue to have the opportunity to chat with you. And so having that education a little bit on them understanding that just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s bad or X, Y, Z thing. It’s actually.

[00:50:22.820] – Speaker 2
A sample. Just like you go to a grocery store and they get a little.

[00:50:26.130] – Speaker 1
Slice of sausage.

[00:50:27.800] – Speaker 2
Or cheese on a cracker or whatever. They’re not giving you the whole box. They’re just giving.

[00:50:32.660] – Speaker 1
You taste.

[00:50:33.340] – Speaker 2
I imagine there’s not too many legal issues that can be solved in 15 minutes.

[00:50:38.200] – Speaker 1
That’s a good question, actually. We don’t ever proclaim to solve the legal issues. What we’re actually trying to do is get them their next steps. If you get a DUI, you want to know what form should I save? What should I be keeping as part of an evidence? What should I tell the attorneys versus the cops and all the different parts of that process? I think it’s just helping people get comfort around, these are my next steps, and they could solve for it sometimes. And if they do, it’s funny, the attorneys get a little gun shy about solving the whole situation. But we’ve actually told them, give them the goods on the call. Because a lot of times they’ll look at that attorney next time they have a contract issue or a family lie issue or something and think about, Hey, James gave me some great advice. Last time he solved my thing for free, I want to use him for my will or trust or whatever else you do. I think that’s just creating that exposure and getting them comfortable with that side of it. Yeah, it’s.

[00:51:46.040] – Speaker 2
Interesting because I guess from my point of view, it’s a marketing channel. Just like putting up a billboard or radio ad or anything else.

[00:51:55.910] – Speaker 1
It seems to.

[00:51:57.890] – Speaker 2
Me this is like the billboard with people that you’re forcing to stare at it.

[00:52:04.870] – Speaker 1
Right. Yeah, it’s a good way to look at it. I don’t think.

[00:52:06.380] – Speaker 2
You could ask for better marketing if you were an attorney. People literally reaching out to you, that seems, I don’t know. It seems to me like an obvious way to grow your business. Yeah, I appreciate that. I’m saying that not as an attorney. Yeah.

[00:52:25.520] – Speaker 1
So far, it’s one of those situations where it almost seems too easy. Why wasn’t this invented 10 years ago? Kind of question. Fair question. But for a couple of reasons. One is, there’s a lot of regulatory burden in the legal industry that companies have to think about as part of this process. And it’s scary, right? You’re working with attorneys, the guys that can literally sue you for any part of this going wrong. And so that’s scary. And the other part is it’s just there’s this saying, high margins cover a lot of sins. And if you have an industry with high margins baked into it, it’s what reason do you have to innovate on that? And this is like I mentioned earlier, unless you have a global pandemic, the startup to show you that there is a better way to do things. And so those were.

[00:53:18.540] – Speaker 2
The tricky pieces.

[00:53:19.770] – Speaker 1
And there’s a couple of companies that have tried this, different versions of it, and they’ve either failed in the past because they couldn’t get the economics right. It costs too much to acquire customers to pass through your funnel and then talk to the attorneys on that side. Or it’s just an inefficient model where you get too many people dropping out because your product sucks or any other part of that process that’s damaging. And so we’re hoping to hit that sweet spot and share this into the market. Nice.

[00:53:52.030] – Speaker 2
I love it. So, Xeb, we don’t have a ton of time left, but just really quick, what have been some of the greatest successes that you’ve ended up having that maybe you weren’t even expected? I love this question.

[00:54:06.960] – Speaker 1
I think it’s two things. One, we had somebody that used Legal Q. He had a question about downloading it, called me. I walked him through the process and he called back the next day and was like, Hey, you had a really good experience. And by the way, I shared my good experience with this group that I’m a part of that has a bunch of people that might need legal help down the road. And the next day we had around 60 organic customers on Legal Q because of the good word that they shared. And so to me, it shows how helpful it is to just do right by your customers, show them that you care, show them that you can help them get these solved. And then the word of mouth is such a powerful channel to growing for that. And the next thing is, this is something that we want to take globally, truly. So there’s two main types of legal systems in the world. There’s a common law and a civil law. Common law are the countries that are basically the old Commonwealth countries, like from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US. They use basically, we’re just prudent.

[00:55:27.890] – Speaker 1
So basically jurisprudence so basically saying this judge made this rule and you have to abide by that, and then passes it down over time. Really messy system, right? Yeah.

[00:55:36.380] – Speaker 2
The rest the 73% of the world uses a civil law system which says that everything under the sun has a rule, and then you can apply that rule to business simplification. But basically, this is your legal circumstance, this is your rule. And it’s actually from old Roman law to Napoleonic law to these laws that are in these countries. And so if you think about it, an app like Legal Q is a lot more likely to be a better solve for those systems because it’s just here’s your circumstance, here’s probably the legal situation that applies. Let’s get that figured out. And so as we grow into these other markets globally, I can’t wait to start helping just with these simple legal questions and anything from a friend was telling me in Kampala, Uganda about women in the community that have an uncle or cousin come up to them and say, Hey, can you sign the utility bill? And then they sign it, and it’s actually signing away their inheritance. It takes five years to get through the court systems, if ever, to get that resolved. And a 10 minute chat with an attorney could solve for that. And so there’s so many of these little microchasm cases where we just want to give people a simpler way to access justice.

[00:56:56.490] – Speaker 1
And I’m really proud to be on that journey with them. All right.

[00:57:00.040] – Speaker 2
Well, that’s super cool. Thank you. That to me sounds like, oh, that is a challenge. It is. Us challenging, conquering the world. That’s more challenging, but unanswerable. So that’s very cool. I imagine it’s just like any other ladder, right? One rung at a time. So build upon your success. You nailed it. Yeah. So that is good. Well, we’ll have to chat again when I guess you turn that chapter. I look forward to it.

[00:57:32.010] – Speaker 1
That sounds great, James. That is super cool.

[00:57:33.980] – Speaker 2
Zeb, I appreciate your time. This has been awesome. I’ve learned a lot and I wish you great success because this is one of those, I guess, the tech startups I guess that I can see, it seems like an easy one to invest in. Thank you.

[00:57:49.240] – Speaker 1
I wish you the best that way. You certainly have had a lot of mentors that helped you and point you in the right direction.

[00:57:55.130] – Speaker 1
Definitely I feel really blessed, really lucky. James, you’re a great host. Thanks for the chat today. Appreciate it.

[00:58:03.030] – Speaker 1
Glad to help you’re a great guest. You got a great thing going. Thank you. I didn’t even ask this. How can people find you in Legal Q? Yeah.

[00:58:12.180] – Speaker 1
No, thank you. If they want to go to LegalQ.io, there’s a part for the users. You can download the app from it. Or if you’re an attorney, you can click on the attorney’s links and we’ll get you set up from there. Got you.

[00:58:26.360] – Speaker 2
So that’s LegalQ.io. Yeah. Excellent. Well, super cool. Zeb, I appreciate you being on the show. Thanks for having me.

[00:58:34.710] – Speaker 1
Appreciate it.

[00:58:35.510] – Speaker 1
This has been Authentic Business Adventures. The business program that brings you the struggle stories and triumphant successes of business owners across the land. We are underwritten locally by the Bank of Sun Prairie. If you’re listening or watching this on the web, if you could do us a huge favor, comment below, subscribe, and of course, give us a big old thumbs up. That always helps. My name is James Kademan and Authentic Business Adventures is brought to you by Calls on Call, offering call answering and receptionist services for service businesses across the country on the web at callsoncall.com. As well as Draw in Customers Business Coaching, offering business coaching services for entrepreneurs looking for growth on the web at drawincustomers.com. And of course, The Bold Business Book, a book for the entrepreneur in all of us available wherever fine books are sold. We’d like to thank you our wonderful listeners as well as our guest, Zeb Anderson, the co founder and CEO of Legal Q. Zeb, can you tell us that website one more time? Yeah, it’s LegalQ.io

[00:59:31.890] – Speaker 2
LegalQ.io. Yes, thank you. Past episodes can be found morning, noon, and night. The podcast link on the drawincustomers.com. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next week. I want you to stay awesome. And if you do nothing else, enjoy your business.


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