Name: Josif Grace.
What is your business called?
Where is it based?
What services does it offer?
Legado is an online platform allowing people to digitally and securely organise, store and share their most important documents. This can be anything from legal and financial documents to social media passwords, legacy wishes and favourite memories. We also work with corporate clients across a range of different fields, including digital transformation, workplace engagement, GDPR compliance, intergenerational planning and document delivery.
To whom does it sell?
Our target customers include financial services groups and professional advisers. We recently launched our direct-to-consumer service, which is free until March.
What is its turnover?
We’re not yet revenue generating, however we have received over £900,000 in investment, including £600,000 from Prudential and FNZ.
How many employees?
When was it formed?
Why did you take the plunge?
I saw a clear opportunity in the UK’s personal planning space for a digital solution and the timing felt right. Having spent a few years in Silicon Valley and seen some incredible start-ups, I wanted to take that experience and become an entrepreneur myself.
What were you doing before you took the plunge?
I was working in Silicon Valley as Chief of Staff at RocketSpace. The experience gave me deep insight into high-growth technology start-ups and the world of corporate innovation. RocketSpace was home to 16 unicorns, including Uber and Spotify and had corporate clients including AIG and RBS. My time spent in the Valley gave me a fantastic grounding and the inspiration to launch my own venture.
I grew up in Edinburgh and before moving to Silicon Valley I was in London, working in financial services and technology.
The learning opportunities and intensely collaborative nature of the Silicon Valley were a huge part of my decision to move there. I decided to establish Legado in Edinburgh as I saw a lot of similar traits beginning to emerge in the Scottish market. The ability to tap into a network, both from a talent and funding perspective, and subsequent guidance, were important and the concentration felt much better than other areas in the UK for a new start-up.
How did you raise the start-up funding?
Raising funding from the right people was very important to me. In our initial round of funding, I raised capital from a mixture of experienced retail (angel) investors who could advise the business and provide strategic input into our strategy and their various domains of expertise. Our latest round of funding focussed on strategic institutional investment. Whilst funding was important, I also wanted to secure partners that would help grow the business and believed in the product.
What was your biggest break?
We’ve had a number of exciting milestones since setting up the company in 2018 including being selected by Scottish Enterprise to join its ‘Start2Scale’ programme as one of Scotland’s most promising emerging start-ups and raising funding from two incredible partners: Prudential and FNZ.
Legado has not required any financial assistance from the government amid the coronavirus crisis. However, we did win an InnovateUK award in May, in a competition launched in response to the global pandemic. The scheme was designed to encourage “business-led innovation in response to global disruption”. We were awarded just under £50,000 in grant funding to build unique features such as after-death sharing.
This allowed us to launch our direct-to-consumer service.
However, for me our biggest break has been quite fortuitous in meeting certain individuals at the right time and right place. We’ve built an incredible team and board of advisers so far and wouldn’t have been able to accomplish many of the great milestones without the dedicated help and support from these individuals.
What do you most enjoy about running the business?
I regularly receive feedback about our product, and nothing gives me more enjoyment than reading about the various ways we are helping people with their planning needs.
Of course, there are many other smaller pleasures gained from running the business. My passion is innovation and building new things, which we get to do on a regular basis. I’m also very lucky to be working in a rather unique ecosystem of talent, partners and customers who keep things dynamic.
What are your ambitions for the firm?
To be Scotland’s next [billion dollar valuation] unicorn company! While our short-term focus is on the UK market, we have global ambitions.
What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?
The three biggest challenges we face as a technology start-up are access to corporates, talent and funding. Covid-19 has had significant impact on all aspects of business and support with continued access to these three areas is critical to success.
What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?
The importance of listening and asking questions.
How do you relax?
I’m an avid reader and enjoy running and skiing. I typically stick to business books. One of my favourite books of all time is ‘Exponential Organizations’ by Salim Ismail. This really altered my view on the world when I read it a few years ago.