Vakilsearch was launched in the year 2012 by Hrishikesh Datar, an alumnus of National Law School of India, Bangalore. He founded Vakilsearch as a one-stop legal-tech solution, in order to achieve its objective of “making legal simple.” He is the only founder and the brainchild of Vakilsearch. Vakilsearch offers several need-based services to the common man, such as tax filings, property agreements and consumer rights protection just to name a few.
About the founder
Mr. Hrishikesh Datar, founder & CEO, Vakilsearch is best known for bringing a sea change in the Indian legal services domain. An alumnus of the country’s most reputed National Law School Of India, Bangalore, he has pioneered many innovative concepts in this segment and set new benchmarks through his endeavours.
A born entrepreneur, he is instrumental in building vakilsearch.com’s lawyer network, brand building & marketing and alliances—all with extreme attention to detail.
Consequently today, Vakilsearch is truly a unique and a completely self-serve platform online where customers can seek advice, add their legal requirements to a cart and pay online. It has evolved as a strong technology-driven platform covering all the legal needs of businesses, such as Incorporation, Government Registrations & Filings, Accounting, Documentation and Annual Compliances.
We are publishing an interview with Mr. Hrishikesh Datar, CEO and Founder of Vakilsearch:
Q.: What is the problem Vakilsearch is trying to solve?
Ans: As legalities for different sectors and services in India play a crucial role in acquiring registrations for businesses, Vakilsearch is addressing the huge need for legal in the country to be made simple. Vakilsearch also developed solutions for lawyers and litigators to effectively track cases and manage their cases and clients in one place. Thereby, bridging the gap and simplifying the legal problems and offering a unique solution through technology. Vakilsearch.com is emerging as India’s biggest legal-tech pioneer.
Q.: Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: Today, over 11,500 lawyers are actively engaged on the product platform Libra-The Legal App, and the number is poised to reach 30,000 lawyers within the next 6 months. Additionally, Vakilsearch.com aims to grow close to 20,000 clients a month within a year on the back of consistent quality, affordable pricing and a focus on providing its clients with a hassle-free experience.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: There was a huge need for legal processes to be made simple for everyday common man. The product-market fit process for Vakilsearch is very straight-forward. We are on a mission to make legal simple for everyone. Be it B2B or B2C, we have a board of legal advisors who can help anyone with their expertise giving insight-driven consultation free of cost. Offering over 300+ services, Vakilsearch caters to clients PAN-India making their legal experience simple, fast and easy.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: One of the main USP of Vakilsearch is that it brings a fragmented market (CA,CS & Lawyers) under one umbrella simplifying legal for IT. Moreover, because of the economy of scale we are able to address this request at an economic pricing as well. Additionally, Vakilsearch boasts of a team of experts who come together and work on the process of simplifying legal in India.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: While I was at LawWeb (a portal to provide quality content for lawyers) showcasing an idea, at IIM, Bangalore a question from the audience ignited the idea of launching something to ease and simplify the legal industry in India. That planted the seed of the idea in my head. From there on, it grew into being a provider of every kind of legal solution, online.
Our ideal customer at Vakilsearch is anyone who is looking to make a complex legal procedure simple. I always knew this idea that sparked while I was at IIM, will definitely help millions of people in India.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: Anyone can reach us for a free legal consultation. With that being said, we have priced our products at a very economical range. So it will truly be beneficial for as many as possible. Apart from Vakilsearch, which is also available as an app right now on Google Play Store and App Store, we have two other legal products:
One is called Libra-The Advocate’s App and other is MySteno – A Voice-to-Text Convertor. Libra is for litigating lawyers and has a free one-month trial version. Post which, the customer can opt for three other versions with Libra-Supreme being the premium version.
However, MySteno is a free voice-to-text app that helps lawyers voice-draft legal documents in minutes.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: The day we launched our website, vakilsearch.com, we got our first customer. It was very exciting to watch Vakilsearch take off in such ease. Also, made me realise why this idea will change the lives of many in the country.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: Series A funding of two rounds for Vakilsearch was done by Kalaari capital and Dr Agarwals’s. Vakilsearch raised about 2.5 million dollars in Series A funding. Now, we are on the brink of receiving our series B funding soon too.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Vakilsearch is definitely leading to something bigger in the coming years. Since its inception in 2012, it has been a .com player. Now, it has invaded the app space as well. So Vakilsearch has officially gone mobile. This means more and more people have access to us and can use our services on-the-go. I am definitely excited for the things planned for Vakilsearch in the near future.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? What is the current turnover? (From Launching till date total no. of visitors on website/persons registered/enquiries and enrollment). Please explain in detail:
Ans: As per the last fiscal year our average annual turn over has been around 30 crores. We are looking to upscale our business and achieve 3-4 times more than the usual. Our average website traffic month-on-month is 3.5+ lakhs. So far, we have catered to around 400,000+ customers.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? The uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: The unique quality of Vakilsearch is that we are a legal-tech. We are leveraging the maximum we can with the help of technology and being a forerunner in the legal sector. Besides, our turnaround time for delivery is quick and we do not compromise on quality.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skill Sets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members have specific domain expertise.
Ans: Some of the core team members of Vakilsearch are Niraj Patadiya, Chief Business Officer, Rajkumar Ganapathy, Chief Technology Officer, Balaji D, Chief Business Officer, Abhishek Singh Vice President of Marketing, Kavya K, Head of Growth and Expansion.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: In my perspective, there are no competitions as such for Vakilsearch because we cover a broader range of services. However, there are other legal companies who are catering to a few verticals that we offer services to. In that light, there is Clear tax, Indian filings, Legal Raastra, Law Rato etc.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: We are planning to 4X our website traffic and are also aiming to grow our business on similar lines. Our 300+ team is working round the clock to achieve this goal both online and offline.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: As an entrepreneur it is important to apply the right framework to governing and resolution-making rather than relying on just your willpower. The strain of starting your own entrepreneurial journey may distort your thinking. However, the essence to building the right framework is making sure your priorities are in order. This will not only help you function and plan effectively but will also give you clarity and peace of mind.
Thanks Hrishikesh. Best wishes!