I presented last month at Davis Wright Tremaine’s first Women’s Entrepreneurial Bootcamp and as I was explaining Evolve Law, I was asked how my investors let me start a second company. That brought up some interesting thoughts for me that I did not have time to address on the fundraising panel.
Why Evolve Law?
Evolve Law is a sales & marketing channel for all its members, including Traklight. Jules Miller of Hire an Esquire and I started with a series of “Evolve Law” events on both coasts. Each event brought together lawyers and legal tech innovators with the purpose of showing our technology rather than talking about it. Our events ranged from demos from the stage through panels and discussions to brainstorming sessions.
Along the way we have marketed Traklight not only to attorneys but also forged new partnerships and alliances with our fellow Evolve Law members. We are not alone – one of our members found their biggest customer at an Evolve Law event!
How Evolve Law?
Demand, network, and timing – it’s like the location, location, location of real estate. We started with our test events on each coast – think minimum viable product. Demos from the stage morphed into demo tables that took place before thought leadership panels. We coined the term, networking with a purpose. We tweaked our event format to include only one panel and add in a Darwin Talk – think Ignite or TED talk.
People started asking for our website and event schedule last summer. However, we could not commit funds from our existing businesses or our families. We saved up excess sponsorship money, used Valcu to set up our company; created a logo and social media accounts; grabbed a domain name (evovlelaw.com was taken), and set a goal of fifteen companies to go live.
With help from Traklight’s Mike Willee we put up a temporary wordpress site. Mike is not a web designer but he took on task after task with great enthusiasm.
We leveraged our extensive networks in the U.S. and Canada to quickly onboard about ten companies and then others started reaching out. By having one of us on each coast and me on a plane for Traklight we covered a lot of ground. Jules had laid the ground work with the legaltech happy hours in NYC and we had written about our events over the past eighteen months. Davis Wright Tremaine was a sponsor at our very first event and we were thrilled when they joined as the founding law firm.
With Reinvent Law fading away after 2014, it seemed like we filled a void with Evolve Law. We are not an ALM or ABA; we were more grass-roots and intent on building an eco-system and making connections. We amplify the individual innovators’ voices and have had amazing support from luminaries who have written about Evolve Law – Bob Ambrogi, Above the Law’s Ed Sohn, and ABA’s Victor Li. We were able to launch with twenty-seven members and could fund the existing website development.
You reap what you sow, you get back what you put in – it may sound trite but that is exactly what any community is all about. Our members can leverage the larger network and relationships by taking advantage of not only the events in their area but the blogging, podcasts, white papers, media opportunities etc. We use a platform called Honey which allows for posting and we recently launched a jobs board and member mastermind sessions.
For Traklight, we have expanded our reach with new partnerships, and personally I have enjoyed learning from the events. We are committed to providing opportunities for our members to grow their companies whether those are straight selling or raising capital or both.
Following our approach above, we are piloting a job fair in NYC and also a showcase around investment and strategic partnership. We have some fifteen events planned for the fall and as always members are welcome to provide content for the site.