Giulia Magnani London 16/07/2018
We spoke to Anthony Rose, serial entrepreneur and founder of Seedlegals.
He told us about how disruption has been an underlying factor throughout his business experience and how he has managed to keep cooperation a central part of it.
“The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.”
As Bob Iger, CEO at Walt Disney, states, innovation is, now more than ever, a fundamental necessity for any successful company.
However, does innovation always need to involve the overruling and demolishment of the old?
Anthony has built his career along a variety of different fields and has come to understand the inevitability of disruption in our constantly developing world, together with the dynamics that come to play along with it.
His first experience with disruption took place while working at Kazaa, a music file sharing company, where he witnessed firsthand the transformation that musical distribution had undergone from a physical to a digital form.
He then went on to launch the BBC iPlayer and came to be known as “The man who saved the BBC” according to Wired. Soon later, he founded his own startup, Zeebox, which focused on social television.
On both occasions, Anthony came into contact with the disruption of a second existing industry, that of broadcast, which moved from television onto the internet.
Currently, Anthony is involved in Seedlegals, his latest startup, which he founded in 2016 together with Laurent Laffy. It provides startup founders with an easier, faster and cheaper way to close a funding round through an online platform.
In this case, disruption is seen in the legal field, where procedures are no longer carried out by humans, but rather by computers.
Ever since he was young, he never liked when people told him what he was supposed to do. Having always enjoyed finding things that were no longer efficient, disruption has been a key characterization throughout his work.
To Anthony, this is what disruption means and is all about:
"Giving people a better way of doing what they were doing before"
After many years of dealing with it, he has learned that some people wake up with the idea and desire of simply disrupting an existing business. Their focus, he explains, lies on competing against the previous incumbents to replace them, rather than on working to innovate and strengthen the existing entities by means of collaboration.
The experienced entrepreneur tells us he does not believe in the necessity of adopting such an extreme and aggressive stance and that, when consumer proposition is central to the functioning of a business, cooperation could become in many cases the key to innovation.
Companies’ “ancestors” could also function as sources of validation at their initial stage: their existence and path of development can provide startups with insights on how consumers reason, make choices and value certain products.
“As an entrepreneur you are riding the wave between blind optimism and reality”
Anthony also adds that often entrepreneurs rush into building up a product without validating the idea behind it enough, something which results from the fact that they are being guided by their “blind ego.”
Validation is key, and self-doubt must step in when building a startup, whether it’s something completely new or a reinvention of something that pre-exists.
Seedlegals is now expanding at an extraordinarily fast rate and Anthony is continuously motivated by the feedback its users give him, showing he’s built something they really love.
Innovation is fundamentally ingrained in business, and so is disruption. Part of being an entrepreneur is choosing how it should be done.
When thinking about Seedlegals, Anthony says that “in the same way lawyers used to write with a quill, then with a pen, then with typewriter, then microsoft word, he hopes, one day, they will be using a legal tech platform”.
A vision that can, of course, only be obtained through collaboration.
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