When Kirk attended a startup accelerator event at the University of Texas in December, he met two of the developers of Counsl, a mobile app that streamlines the incorporation process in the legal industry. Though they’ve partnered with incorporation services giant CT Corporation, the Counsl guys haven’t been getting much traction in Austin.
Per Kirk’s suggestion, they’ll be checking out Wilmington next week to decide if they’d like to move their company to the First State. I mean, we are the incorporation capital (here’s why).
Kirk immediately thought Counsl would be a good fit for Delaware. “When they started talking about the business model, I was really intrigued as a former attorney and someone who understands the incorporation process,” Kirk said. “This is a business model that would really resonate in Delaware.”
Counsl’s JC Glancy and Rafael Lopez said they’ve known Delaware might be a good option for them — but they didn’t have any connections with the state.
That all changed when they met Kirk. “I wanted to do everything I could to connect them with the right people in Wilmington,” he said. “So my first call was obviously to Mona.”
He means Mona Parikh, of course.
She’s the managing director of coIN Loft and an adjunct professor at University of Delaware’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship. She dove in to help connect the Counsl guys to the best and brightest of Delaware’s potential partners and investors, and they’ll have an action-packed visit Jan. 20-23. Parikh has helped line up meetings with high-ranking individuals in the public, private and educational sectors. Most of their meetings will be at coIN, she said.
“If Delaware is the right fit for them, the goal would be to move their software engineers to coIN Loft while they continue to focus on raising more funding,” Parikh said.
Though Austin is a hotbed for startups, Counsl hasn’t caught the eye of many investors, Glancy and Lopez said. Glancy said he believes it’s because Austinites aren’t familiar enough with the ornery process of incorporation.
“We’re not talking about creating the next Facebook or something sexy,” he said. “We’re talking about streamlining document creation, which will be a game-changer. And someone’s going to do it, and it’s going to be us.”
So who are the guys behind Counsl, and what exactly does their app do?
Glancy, 29, is from Cleveland, and he worked at an incorporation services company when he was at college in West Palm Beach’s Northwood University. He studied entrepreneurship and business management and later had a stint as a page operations analyst at Facebook.
He liked the incorporation services industry, but was surprised by what he called “prehistoric” technology. “Most, if not all, law firms … approach their workflows still on pen and paper, by fax and email, and it’s something that should be automated and for some reason hasn’t been,” he said, “and that’s what we’re here to do.”
Glancy developed Counsl with Lopez, also 29, who went to the University of Arizona for economics and management information systems. Before the two joined forces, Glancy was involved with a travel-related startup while Lopez had a publishing startup. They met last year at a 12-week course through Rice University that culminates in a pitch contest. Lopez liked Glancy’s idea for an incorporation app, and the duo, both living in Austin at that point, formed a company in November 2014.
They’re also working with Van Phu, a 20-year-old MIT student studying computational biology. Glancy said Phu will also be visiting Wilmington along with some other MIT friends who are working on the project — and who might be interested in the area as well.
The first version of Glancy and Lopez’s app, called Startup, was the first mobile incorporation app to hit the App Store in July. Now all three are working to raise $300,000 to finish the software for Counsl and bring it to market.
They’ve brought on CT Corporation — the world’s leading incorporation services company — as a partner to ensure accuracy with paperwork filed through the app.
Glancy said the app, on average, saves about 4.5 hours of time, increasing gross margins by about 35 percent. Legal documents are filed in cloud storage for easy and secure access, and there’s a chat feature for clients and lawyers.
“We wanted to bridge the lawyer-client communication gap,” Glancy said. “The way it’s done currently is very disorganized.”
Whether or not they’ll move to Delaware depends on how next week’s visit goes, but both expressed excitement about checking it out.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Glancy said, “and we encourage … anyone who has an interest or wants to talk or give us a shout, please do, because that’s the way business is going to get done and eventually succeed.”
If you’re interested in meeting the Counsl guys, fill out this contact form to set something up.-30-