Entrepreneurs are born risk-takers, fueled with a passion to follow their dreams and create a product that they wholeheartedly believe in. This brings the flexibility to design your own workday and craft the kind of lifestyle you desire.
But the time, cost, and legalities that come with setting up a business cannot be underestimated.
In fact, failing to check off boxes for compliance and ignoring basic legal tasks can cause serious problems for small business owners. So, if you’re not a lawyer, where do you start? Founded is a good place.
What makes Founded unique is that it’s an online, intuitive, and collaborative legal platform that automates ongoing legal work for businesses. This includes tasks like incorporating, managing a minute book, and creating simple online contracts.
“We help generate tailored documents, file forms with the government and send everything out for e-signature. It’s like a virtual legal department for a small business,” says Derek Hopfner.
More than 20 years ago, the company’s co-founders, Hopfner, Shane Murphy, and Travis Houlette, met while playing in punk bands in Calgary — and they’ve been close friends ever since.
As practicing lawyers, Hopfner and Murphy saw clients coming to them with the same requests week after week: How do I incorporate my business? How do I create solid legal agreements? After incorporation, how do I keep my company compliant?
At the time, Houlette, a software engineer and serial entrepreneur who is now the Founded CTO, was running a startup. He was frustrated by the slow and expensive legal work his company was receiving. The three came together and asked themselves how they could make the legal side of business easy and affordable through technology.
To get the business up and running, the co-founders initially created partnerships with entrepreneurship organizations and spoke at industry events, and created high-quality content for their blog.
Since then, they’ve grown to help thousands of businesses get started, stay compliant, and grow.
Although the three initially launched Founded for entrepreneurs, a number of lawyers saw the benefit of using the platform and asked if they could also use it, so the team added features for legal practitioners to use. Fast-forward to 2019, and lawyers working at large international law firms as well as sole practitioners are now using the platform for their corporate legal work.
Whether it is used by an entrepreneur or a lawyer, Founded is designed to provide ongoing support, not just a one-off service. When a business structure or legal agreement needs to be updated or amended, those changes can be made directly on Founded, and all required legal documents and government filings are automatically completed.
Hopfner explains that this was a challenge early on because, traditionally, entrepreneurs would incorporate their company and not think about legal issues until another big event came up. “The result is a company that doesn’t have its legal records in order, leading to expensive legal bills down the road.”
Using strong design principles and educational materials, Founded has been able to help entrepreneurs learn more about the legal process. They publish quality ongoing content to provide legal tips to entrepreneurs running growing businesses. “On the design side, we’ve worked hard to build an intuitive platform where it’s much easier to understand the legal implications of what’s happening to a business.”
They’ve been growing, too. Founded recently expanded to British Columbia and Alberta, and the co-founders credit digital tools as a huge driver of growth for their business.
In the last two years, data and insights from Google Ads have allowed the co-founders to gain a better understanding of how to grow their business and get customers on board.
There are big things ahead for Founded, as the platform is set to roll out in new Canadian provinces and in the US. “Since expanding to British Columbia and Alberta, we’ve seen the number of businesses using Founded grow by 15% every month, and a large part of that is from our online search ads. We now work with thousands of businesses and are excited to help even more in 2020,” says Hopfner.
For more information and to discover how Founded could help lighten the legal workload for your business, visit Founded now.