Startup Monday: Traklight for IP protection + industry links
We’ve got a feature on Phoenix-based Traklight today by our new associate editor Caroline Hill plus links to some recent stories that have appeared in the tech and business press, including a new app to score how favourable the terms of contracts are and whether the legal tech boom is over or we are going to see the first $500 million business within five years?
What’s the Big Idea?
by Caroline Hill
Today’s startup is Phoenix-headquartered Traklight, which through the development of a self-guided online questionnaire enables entrepreneurs, inventors and small companies to identify, register, store and protect their intellectual property. www.traklight.com
Now also working with “several” of the US top 200 law firms and around 15 smaller law firms, according to founder and CEO Mary Juetten, (pictured) Traklight licenses out its software, including this year rolling out branded “iframes” (in effect branded landing pages and microsites) for law firm clients.
The 14-staff company is in licensing discussions with a number of investors and angel groups – a new market for Traklight – which have shown interest in the potential to assess the sometimes obscure IP value of smaller companies they might look to invest in.
Juetten, who launched the company three and a half years ago, says: “It is also an issue spotter. If you disclose a patent and hire contractors but don’t have the necessary agreements in place it could be a red stop sign for investors to raise awareness.”
From an entrepreneurs’ point of view, Traklight’s custom-coded software, written by Vice President of Technology Shay Harding, provides a time-stamped encrypted storage facility and strategy report; is a one-stop-shop for the protection of all trademarks, patents and copyrights; and provides business advice on necessary further legal steps such as contractual agreements.
The latest version 3.0 – the development of which coincided with Traklight outsourcing its servers and infrastructure to cloud-based hosting company ENKI – includes a customised dashboard and allows the questionnaire to automatically create Excel spreadsheets.
Juetten adds: “If you were to go to get a bank loan you can go online and generate an Excel spreadsheet with everything included. It is much less expensive than an attorney and most businesses will not get an attorney until there is a big scramble to raise funds.”
The company, which uses DLA Piper for its own legal work, recently revamped its IP vaults to facilitate access by multiple users and at the start of August 2014 launched its ‘silver and gold’ vaults for companies which are fundraising.
Juetten says: “Since before we had revenue we wanted a marketing automation tool.” (Traklight, incidentally, is hiring.)
In other news…
• Are VCs losing interest in legal and legal tech startups? Yes – with the exception of Clio and Avvo – says this article by Christine Magee in TechCrunch, adding that the sales cycle is so long in legal that investors lose interest and put their money elsewhere, where there are clearer returns cycles. http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/05/the-jury-is-out-on-legal-startups/
• Over? The legal tech boom hasn’t even begun! Meanwhile Forbes carries an article by Basha Rubin in which she disputes the Magee view of the market and argues that by August 2019 at the latest there will be a “legal technology company” (her definition includes not just legal IT vendors but also companies that use technology to deliver legal services) that is valued at over $500 million – but not LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, Avvo or Clio). http://www.forbes.com/sites/basharubin/2014/08/12/is-legal-tech-boom-over-it-hasnt-even-begun/
• Finally, if you are a freelance software developer or designer, you might want to check out LegalSifter which will read and analyse any legal contracts you are sent and then “score” how favourable the terms are for the user. Full story here http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/07/legalsifter-helps-designers-and-developers-read-their-contracts/