Our Start-up of the Week is Oathello, which is trying to help individuals and companies to move paperwork as fast as money.
Oathello CEO Jennifer Hourihane describes herself as a lawyer, optimist and technologist.
While working in law, however, she noticed that there were some “ancient relics of the legal system” that made life particularly difficult, both for her and her clients. In particular, she realised that paperwork was the cause of a lot of unnecessary pain, so founded her start-up in 2016 to try and tackle some of these issues in the legal industry.
“We started with notary services as the most complex and tricky of all paper events,” Hourihane told Siliconrepublic.com.
“We worked our way along the chain to cover all forms of financial and legal paperwork from the simplest of forms to the most complex of deeds – to provide 100pc capture of paperwork online for individuals and companies.”
With companies like Stripe having completely reengineering how money is moved, Oathello now believes that the next hurdle is paperwork.
“Paperwork has a chilling effect on the movement of money, debt, assets, capital and insurance premiums,” Hourihane said.
“These are some of the most important recurring events in the lifetime of an individual or a company. The reasons for complexity around financial paperwork are valid – but the delay is not.”
“Since 2016, we have been working with the law and the banking industry on the value chain of paperwork to write and build technology that removes friction from the completion of these documents and the things they cover, be it a mortgage, a complex investment or a simple application for credit.”
‘Our world is changing more rapidly than ever before – you can imagine how acutely that is felt by everyone in a start-up’
– JENNIFER HOURIHANE
The resulting technology is an API that accelerates the process for the signing, execution and completion of documents online, and captures the paperwork connected to the movement of money in just a few lines of code.
“Companies or individuals not building product can also benefit from 100pc online capture and competition of this paperwork with an Oathello ‘pro’ account and get set up in less than 20 minutes,” Hourihane added.
‘A start-up is as far as it gets from the comfort zone’
Oathello has continued to grow and develop in the past three years. According to Hourihane, the start-up has replaced a publicly listed company as the chosen partner for several fintech firms that are trying to bring customer journeys fully online.
When asked if the start-up would seek funding, Hourihane said that the team is “working out the economics of that presently” and she advised other self-starters not to assume that raising venture capital is a good idea. She also noted that there are many other hurdles along the way for founders to consider.
“You wear many hats as a founder, so there are tonnes of independent variables that contribute to challenges. Constant change and rapid learning are the more pervasive ones,” she said.
“You tend to forget challenges fast once they are overcome, because another is just around the corner. A start-up is as far as it gets from the comfort zone in business. Our world is changing more rapidly than ever before – you can imagine how acutely that is felt by everyone in a start-up.”
When asked if there was any other advice she’d share with founders, Hourihane said: “In the first year to 18 months, depending on the synergy and size of the founding team, do not do a single thing that compromises the reasons why you set the company up in the first place. Eliminate anything that raises the risk.”
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