Legal Trunk is a technology platform that provides instant access to legal advisory services to entrepreneurs and startups in Nigeria and the USA.
Often times, entrepreneurs and startups overlook the legal aspects of their business. They get carried away with building the product, and de-prioritise spending on legal advisory which could be expensive. As a result, many startups make a lot of avoidable legal-related mistakes. Some of these mistakes include the failure to draft a detailed agreement for founders, consultants, investors and employees. In addition, many have had to deal with a watery intellectual property strategy, incomplete incorporation and bad licensing arrangements.
Take for instance, OyaPay, a fintech startup that uses Bluetooth and a camera to offer payment services to the banked and unbanked Nigerian. The startup's founder, Abdulhamid Hassan (now CEO of Mono), received a seed funding from a family member without proper legal arrangements. So, when the need for more investors arose, the first investor kicked against it because it diluted their investment. This unresolved difference pushed the founder to shut down the startup.
Legal Trunk wants to reverse this trend. The legaltech platform launched to offer entrepreneurs, startups and existing businesses access to lawyers, who will provide them with on-demand legal advisory services at an affordable price.
It was founded by Modupe Odele, a Tech and startup lawyer with a professional background in international law, business and human rights, impact investing, inclusive finance, blockchain, and digital currencies. The platform was fueled by her passion to see startups access legal support at an early stage.
Asides from founding Legal Trunk, Odele is also a founding partner at Vazi Legal, an innovation-driven law firm that represents investors, startups, and tech companies across all stages of development. In addition to all these, she is the Founder of Scale my Hustle, a social enterprise that helps entrepreneurs build well-structured businesses.
With a flexible payment structure, startups can pay a yearly subscription of less than $250 (₦120,000) to access all of Legal Trunk’s offerings. This subscription grants them unlimited access to the following services: Company Formation, Bespoke Personal Advisory, Simplified Legal Documentation, Invoice and Payment Automation, Private Referrals, Follow Due Process, Grow & Scale, and Brand Protection.
In my conversation with Modupe, she said their primary target is bootstrapping founders. Due to the limitation of capital, these class of founders have had to use the services of lawyers that are not suited for their industry. Legal trunk is looking to provide them with quality service at a low cost.
"Most founders do not know where to get legal help from experienced startup lawyers and so they end up using services that aren't suited for their purposes—which then causes a lot of problems for founders later. Problems that are expensive to fix. So, our primary target is bootstrapping founders who need high-quality services at a low cost", says Modupe Odele.
However, Legal Trunk’s flexible payment structure is not limited to bootstrapping startups. According to Modupe, the flexible payment structure also covers idea stage startups. Startups in this category will have the option to pay a yearly subscription to access all the legal documentation they need to run their business.
The documents will be auto-generated on Legal Trunk's platform with clear instructions on how to use it. It will cover, co-founder agreements, employment agreements, vesting agreements, intellectual property agreements, board minutes, and investor updates.
The documents generated by the platform comes from real tech lawyers with up to 30 years of work experience from tech startups in Nigeria and the US. She also said that all documents generated by the platform are simple and easy to read.
"One thing I'm proud of is our contracts and agreements. We made them ridiculously simple. For instance things like "hereto" "hereinafter" "set forth with" do not appear on our legal documents at all. We also make everything simple to understand. Anyone can pick up a contract and understand exactly what it is saying", says Modupe Odele.
Idea stage startups also have another option to upgrade their subscription. This allows Legal Trunks in-house lawyers to review the documents one more time.
Speaking on the exact amount Legal Trunk charges for an annual subscription, Moe said, "We haven't decided on the exact fee of the yearly subscription as we are still analyzing data but we will announce the fees in April when we launch fully. Yearly subscribers will be entitled to a certain number of office hours a quarter with a startup advisor as well".