We are living in an on-demand society. And thanks to Moore’s Law, our mobile phones give us access to virtually anything in a matter of seconds. Despite this we are often still waiting for many professional services (lawyers, doctors, financial, etc). larry, a new product from LawTrades is bringing the world of legal to you on demand via text messages. larry’s users can do things like find lawyers, answer legal questions through lawyers, send contracts, keep your business in compliance, and more through a simple text which is powered by a network of attorneys and artificial intelligence. The service also allows you to purchase legal services through the platform for more in depth needs. The company plans to roll out this service across other professional verticals so that any expertise you need is only a text away.
Today we chat with Raad Ahmed, Founder and CEO of LawTrades about the newly launched product, the vision, and the future.
Tell us about the product or service.
larry is a smart legal assistant that finds nearby lawyers, gets you answers from attorneys, sends you contracts and more via text message. In the last month alone, larry sent and received about 10,000 text messages and we project this number to double next month. We want to democratize the world’s legal information through the help of real attorneys and AI.
How is it different?
larry is an “invisible app”— an emerging new tech category that makes you text, email, or tweet to make stuff happen. There’s no app to download or website to register for—it just works, with whatever you already use. We’re leveraging one of the most underutilized but highest ROI channels out there: SMS
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We’re focusing on the $100B SMB’s spend every year on legal services. The system is broken for them and legal should really be the last thing an entrepreneur worries about when starting or running their business. Additionally, we want to help lawyers create more deal flow to make it easier for them to open up their own practice.
Right now, it’s too early to tell. We have a loyal and growing community that love the product so our priority is keeping them happy and engaged. With that said, we’ll be experimenting with a few models in the upcoming months.
What inspired the business?
larry was born as a side project while working on LawTrades (a marketplace for legal services). We started noticing that a lot of clients and lawyers were reaching out to us over SMS. So we grabbed some prepaid phones and started responding to them. The results were astounding. There was an almost 100% open rate, reply backs in less than 4 minutes, and over 35% increases in conversion. We eventually outgrew our prepaid phone solution and started building out the platform to make larry smarter than your average lawyer.
How smart is larry?
So the coolest thing larry can do now is give you proactive legal help that keeps your company in good standing and avoid penalties that may impact its operating ability. larry will learn about your business and send you timely text reminders to help you fulfill deadlines specific to your state and federal requirements. It’s stuff entrepreneurs typically forget to do and lawyers don’t really explain. larry can of course find you available lawyers, answer questions, purchase legal services, create contracts and more — all on-demand with no hassle. The more we learn from our users, the smarter larry gets.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We want to open up our waitlist to more users and experiment the larry model on other professional verticals such as financial services, medical, consulting and more. Beyond six months, we want every single person to have larry saved in their contacts.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Focus first on acquiring 1,000 true fans in the beginning. A true fan is someone who will buy everything you make, drive 100 miles to see you pitch, set a notification whenever your name gets mentioned in the press, buy your tshirts, mugs, AND stickers etc… If you can do this, you will have enough make a living and establish a baseline for validation. Then, go after the rest of the world.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Not to sound too cliche, but I’d love to get Fred Wilson’s thoughts on the product. I think our vision aligns with USV’s investment thesis.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York has the highest number of active lawyers than any other state so it was a no brainer for us to start here. Also, there’s no Shake Shack’s in California.
Where is your favorite outdoor bar in the city for a drink when it is actually warm out?
I really like The Standard Biergarten. Pretzels, picnic tables, and ping pong —what more can you ask for?