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Founders Everywhere: Kory Kelly
Kory Kelly is the co-founder & CEO of Legal Karma, a startup building a world where banks and credit unions are the provider of legal products (Wills, Trusts, and LLC formations).
Welcome to Founders Everywhere, where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at Everywhere Ventures, a global pre-seed fund supported by a community of 500 founders and operators.
LegalTech is an industry that is notoriously known for being slow to accept new technologies. There are some regulatory concerns, but many law firms are hesitant to adopt innovations, especially when it makes them more efficient. There’s very little incentive to automate tasks and be more productive when they can bill clients by the hour.
Legal Karma is a B2B startup on a mission to democratize the legal landscape, ensuring that legal services are more readily available and affordable for everyone. They’re doing this by bridging the gap between financial institutions and legal services, making it convenient for individuals to access legal assistance through banks and credit unions. They currently offer a white-label Will and Trust product, but plan to expand their services with their recent $2M seed round of funding. Legal Karma was founded in 2020 by CEO Kory Kelly, and CTO Mauricio Cano. They both have a passion for empowering individuals and communities through accessible and cost-effective legal services. Kory provides more insight to the company and his personal journey.
Why Legal Karma and why now?
We always wanted to build a company that’s really close to human liberty and use technology to increase access to legal services. My co-founder Mauricio is a first-generation American and I grew up LGBTQ in a really rural town in Texas. We both witnessed the injustices of the legal system and wanted to use tech for good to help level the playing field.
What’s Legal Karma’s North Star?
We want to create a world where people can go to their financial provider for their financial-related legal needs. We want to eliminate the disconnect between financial institutions and legal services, making legal services easily accessible through banks and credit unions. By doing this, people won’t need to seek one-off referrals to expensive law firms.
What’s on the horizon for Legal Karma?
We’ve started providing services for Wills and Trusts, but want to expand to business formations, prenuptial agreements, divorce, and other areas where financial matters are closely tied to legal issues. We’ve launched in Washington State and will be going live in Texas, Arizona, Florida, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.
Why is Legal Karma a “must-have” vs a “nice-to-have”?
There are two answers to that question because Legal Karma is B2B, yet has a direct impact on consumers. The winds are blowing really hard for banks and credit unions right now. Interest rates are high, so their most significant revenue is down. Overall credit unions are seeing a reduction in membership, so they need novel products and offerings to retain members, and then also add new top line revenues. And so most simply put, we make them more money so this is a must-have, especially to stay competitive in today’s market.
We also play a significant role in the lives of the end-users. Estate planning is probably the most human of all the law because we’re talking about our families and our generational wealth transfer. It’s a really intimate conversation and many individuals, particularly those with limited assets, cannot afford traditional legal services when dealing with matters like estate planning. Our product helps families avoid those complex and stressful situations when they face the loss of a loved one.
Any advice for other founders?
It takes a lot to show up when you don't know what the outcome is going to be and that's all that being a founder is. People talk a lot about all the different skills that a founder should have, but just your ability to get punched in the gut, and then go to bed and wake up and do it again, I think is what makes or breaks almost everybody. The other advice I’d give is to make sure to drink lots of water.
Fun fact: My co-founder and I met while playing World of Warcraft online as teenagers. We were friends for 7 years before meeting in person.
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