Shane Murphy is co-founder of the legal automation company Founded Technologies.
What is Founded Technologies and what does it do?
Murphy: Founded Technologies makes the legal side of entrepreneurship easy. It’s an online legal automation platform that takes routine legal tasks that small businesses face (think incorporating, managing a minute book, creating contracts) and makes them easy to complete online. We help generate documents, file forms with the government and send everything out for e-signature. It’s like a virtual legal department for a small business.
We’ve become known as the “QuickBooks for Law.” Entrepreneurs have used software like QuickBooks for years to manage their bookkeeping and accounting needs. We’re doing the same thing with legal tasks. Over the past two years, thousands of entrepreneurs have been served through our software and we’re gradually becoming an essential tool for Canadian small business owners to save on legal fees and complete tasks quickly.
Can you give me a bit of the history about who founded the company, when and why?
Murphy: I met my two co-founders, Derek Hopfner and Travis Houlette, while I was a teenager growing up in Calgary and playing in punk bands. We’ve been close friends ever since. Derek and I are now lawyers, and Travis is a software engineer and serial entrepreneur.
After Travis sold his last business to Yahoo and moved to Silicon Valley, the three of us started talking about the legal industry. Technology has transformed other professional services but legal has lagged behind. So it felt like we had the right combination of skills to build a company that would change the legal industry for the better.
We didn’t want to just create a new tool for lawyers. We were driven to give new options to entrepreneurs looking for legal help. So we launched Founded to small businesses in Ontario in October 2017 and since then we’ve grown our team to 11 employees and helped thousands of entrepreneurs handle day-to-day legal tasks on their own.
Gradually lawyers started hearing about us from their clients. And we’re happy to say that dozens of law firms have now started using our technology, too. So both sides of the industry, lawyers and clients, have found ways to benefit from Founded.
Why have you chosen to expand into Alberta?
Murphy: I was born and raised in Calgary. Although our company is based in Toronto, it was important to me personally to launch in Alberta.
But this wasn’t just a sentimental decision. There’s been a huge demand for Founded in Alberta. Alberta has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re a company that’s built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Whether Alberta’s economy is booming or struggling, Albertans are always opening businesses and looking for services that will help them succeed.
What’s your digital strategy and how has that contributed to your growth since inception?
Murphy: Digital marketing has been a huge boost for us. Founded only started two years ago, and it’s really hard to acquire thousands of customers when your brand is fairly unknown. Using only Google Ads, we’ve seen significant growth in only two years. It’s also really let us target our ideal customers and ensured that we’re front and centre when entrepreneurs are looking for legal information.
We’ve also found a large audience by producing high quality articles and guides for our blog. Entrepreneurs generally have similar questions about starting a business, so we’re able to provide useful online resources to a hugely diverse range of entrepreneurs. By providing helpful free resources, we’ve improved our search engine rankings and converted more entrepreneurs into Founded users.
What are the growth plans for the company?
Murphy: Right now, we’re planning to offer Founded to entrepreneurs in new locations across North America. We will be announcing new Canadian provinces fairly soon, and unrolling a U.S launch in early 2020.
Because our system integrates with government resources, it takes time for us to deploy in new provinces and states. But our goal is to eventually serve entrepreneurs throughout North America.
In terms of new features, we’re always listening to users to ensure our growth plans serve them better. In the short term, we’re building a stock option tool, so entrepreneurs can easily grant shares to employees. This will be a great incentive tool, and we’re thrilled to be the first company that will offer this type of online service in Canada.
Interviewed by Mario Toneguzzi, a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.