It may have just taken out the top award at the Tauranga Business Awards, but LawVu’s co-founder says the business has only reached the start line. The Tauranga-based legal tech start-up was founded in 2015 by Tim Boyne and Sam Kidd after the pair discovered most in-house legal departments didn’t have dedicated technology to do their jobs. They spent about three years building up a software platform for in-house legal teams before attracting investment and then winning a request for a proposal with Telstra in Australia.
Kidd said they went “toe to toe” with international and US-based companies, and when they won the bid in 2018 they realised they were on to something.
“Fast forward to where we are now. We had 33 staff last year and will have just over 100 by the new year.” LawVu now has staff all over the world, with about 40 in Tauranga, eight in Auckland, 18 in the US and others in Australia, Ireland and around New Zealand.
The company has grown exponentially in the last year and its hard work paid off this weekend at the Tauranga Business Awards where LawVu won the Digital, Business and Technology Innovation category before taking the top honour – Tauranga Business of the Year.
This year the awards night was held as a hybrid digital-physical event, which saw entrants celebrating in their bubbles and 100 guests congregate at Farmer Autovillage.
Kidd and the team were at the Tauranga office, and when LawVu was named the winner
people burst through the door with the award, much to their surprise.
“We thought we had a good shot at the digital category, but with the overall award my heart was racing before it was announced. It was the award we wanted.”
“We’ve put a ton of work into the company over the last six years and there’s something incredible about being recognised in your local community.”
The judges credited them for choosing to base their global operations out of Tauranga and Kidd said they chose to operate out of Tauranga for a couple of reasons. Co-founder Boyne is third-generation from Tauranga while when Kidd moved back from working overseas he thought it was a “beautiful place to live and work”.
“There’s some amazing talent around here.”
He said LawVu also provided people with an “exciting opportunity” to work in the regions but also for a global company. Most of its clients are in Australia or the United States.
“We’ve got a really good group of people. We’re most proud of the talent we’ve attracted.” With staff numbers roughly tripling in the last year, and revenue set to double, Covid-19 hasn’t really affected LawVu. If anything, it was an accelerant, Kidd said. “It’s been a mental year.” Their clients needed technology more than ever as staff spread out and worked remotely. New clients realised they could easily work remotely with companies based in New Zealand.
The judges also noted LawVu had huge potential for further growth.
“We’ve certainly got a lot more people to bring on, and I think in some ways we’ve just reached the starting line,” Kidd said. “We’ve been working to build the product. We’ve built the machine now.
“We’ve got this world-class team. Going into next year it’s about continuing to grow on that.” Kidd said the company’s “global ambition” set it apart.
“There are a lot of amazing companies in Tauranga but a lot are regionally or nationally focused.”We pick up international clients like Expedia, PWC, Deloitte … To be able to do that from the regions probably sets us apart.”
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley previously said this year saw a high number of entrants all of a high standard.”It’s important to celebrate the resilience and ability to change that we see in our community.”
Originally published at the NZ Herald. By ZiZi Sparks – Multimedia Journalist for NZ Herald.