Interview With Charles Brecque
Describe your product or service:
“Legislate is a legal technology company founded in Oxford which makes it easy for non-lawyers to safely create, manage and search lawyer-approved contracts on no legal budget. Legislate's contract management software is built on patented knowledge graph technology which makes contract data usable and searchable at scale.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Legislate is opening up contract data so that contracts can be fairer, more transparent, and play a more integrated role in helping businesses make better decisions and automate compliance.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“We've raised £1.15 million [$1.34 million] in funding from angels and VCs (Parkwalk Advisors, Perivolli Innovations).”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them!
“We're a team of 12 split between Oxford, UK, and Seville, Spain. Charles Brecque is the founder and CEO of Legislate. Charles founded Legislate in April 2020 in Oxford to make contracts machine-readable using patented knowledge graph technology. Before founding Legislate, Charles brought Machine Learning solutions to market for three years at Mind Foundry, a spin-out from the University of Oxford.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Although I’m not a lawyer, I spent half my time processing contracts when I was doing business development at a startup. Creating, negotiating, and tracking contracts was unnecessarily slow and painful because the contracts were not machine-readable. Instead, the contracts were lawyer-readable, which meant that time-poor lawyers were needed to review them. After losing deals due to slow processing, I wanted to find a way to make contracts machine-readable so that they could be processed more efficiently with technology.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Most legal tech startups have legal or lex in their names. An investor suggested Legislate, which I thought was a) available and b) a great name for the business.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I didn't know I wanted to start my own business until I started working at a startup. As I gained experience at Mind Foundry, I identified problems that could be ‘solved by a startup.’ I then started Legislate when I felt the pain of losing opportunities post legal negotiation.”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
“The biggest obstacle is always acquiring customers. Luckily we have a strong inbound function thanks to content marketing, but we need to develop our outbound capabilities.”
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Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“We are targeting SMEs in the UK but have the ambition to go global.”
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“Our primary marketing strategies are content marketing and SEO.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“The first five were through startup friends, and the remaining 95 were thanks to SEO.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“We monitor the monthly growth of inbound leads, paying customers, and website traffic.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“My favourite podcast is ‘Panic with Friends’ by Howard Lindzon.”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Legislate helps me take the headache out of legal!”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“Entrepreneurship is lonelier than whatever you are told or prepared for.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Right now, it's impossible!”
When did you know it was time to quit your day job to focus on your startup?
“When I knew the problem we were solving would hinder my performance at my day job.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“I did business development at an early-stage machine learning startup. It taught me how startups work and how to build lasting relationships with customers.”
More on Legislate
Charles Brecque, founder of legal tech startup Legislate, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.