Startup Corner: Legal productivity platform Hivelight

Hivelight is a productivity platform for legal teams, founded in Sydney, Australia. We ask founders Ash Kelso and Xabi Errotabehere to tell us all. 

How would you describe Hivelight to a friend?
Hivelight is a productivity platform for legal teams. Like Trello, Asana, or Jira…but built from the ground up for legal teams (as some would describe it ‘Atlassian for law’).

Every firm comes to a point in their growth where they need a scalable solution for upskilling staff and delegating work, tracking the progress of the matters, and efficiently coordinating with their team. This is the point where firms either grow or plateau. This is the problem that Hivelight solves.

And to a techy?
Hivelight is a legal project management, workflow, and collaboration solution for legal teams. Hivelight provides you with what you need to manage the work and coordinate as a firm in a way that scales.

When were you founded?
We were founded in 2022.

By who?
Ash Kelso and Xabi Errotabehere.

Who are your key managers/senior execs?
Ash Kelso (CEO) and Xabi Errotabehere (CTO).

Who are your target clients?
Law firms and barristers. Hivelight is also built for collaboration with external service providers. So a law firm can collaborate on a matter in Hivelight with external counsel or consultants.

What is your plan (growth strategy)?
Our plan is to continue developing 2-way integrations with leading practice management systems. This provides firms with phenomenally fast onboarding and enables them to have the best legal project management, workflow, and collaboration solution there is, regardless of what PMS they are using. From there we will develop our marketplace to provide customers with productivity boosting apps built for their particular areas of practice (we presently have two apps in beta which will be the first two in the marketplace).

And your key achievements?
Getting Hivelight to market in roughly 12 months and onboarding our first customers. And doing this while both of us have been raising young children.

Have you received investment?
We have been bootstrapped to date, but we are getting asked about this as people are seeing what this can become.

Have there been any key changes in direction since you were founded?
This journey started out with a couple of damages calculation apps. We built these largely for credibility. From talking to a lot of lawyers it became clear that we had to approach the market in a Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs manner. This is why we have focused on helping firms get on top of their work, before we start delivering solutions for optimising how they do the work.

What are the key challenges in your market?
I think everyone in legal tech experiences the same obstacles. Lawyers are chronically time poor and often (for good reason) pessimistic about the lead times involved in implementing new solutions.

Well sell a product that allows legal teams to claw back significant time that is being lost to manually managing the work. The trouble is that without our solution, firms are often extremely short on time and frequently in firefighting mode (aka “everything is always urgent”), so it can be hard for them to find time and focus on implementing a solution.

Firms are also accustomed to onboarding to legal tech products being a long, expensive, and time-consuming experience. So, they have a habit of avoiding new solutions because they think it will cost too much time. This is something we really care about. We have worked hard to make onboarding take minutes not months.

Tell us something people don’t already know about the company?
Because what we are building hasn’t really been done before, we’ve had to invent some really fundamental things on this journey that set us apart. As we like to say, it is very hard to keep things simple.

We had to design our own blended project management method to accommodate the need in law for both structure and adaptability. Other solutions you might find are either based on waterfall or agile, but neither option fully accommodates what lawyers really need. Instead, Hivelight is a special blend of both styles customised for the realities of legal practice.

We had to come up with our own algorithms for modelling roles and levels of responsibilities that occur in a law office. This allows Hivelight to understand who to auto assign tasks to and what to do if certain roles are missing in a team.

Finally, we had to invent our own permission management system to power the kind of precise control that law firms need in a solution like Hivelight. The existing frameworks just didn’t cut it.

Hivelight looks simple on the surface, but there are a lot of smarts under the hood to achieve that.

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