Tell me how Congo was founded.
Congo emerged out of an entrepreneurial class at CU where two passionate students mobilized around an issue. Just before the class was given a project, Willy was reading a business law textbook in the library, which was peculiar for him. As he was reflecting with me the other day, it was this moment that serendipitously ignited an unforgettable journey. He came across a part of the textbook that didn’t explain it well and then went to Google. There was conflicting information, poorly designed websites and overall an extremely frustrating experience due to the lack of necessary information in a presentable manner. Appalled to find there was nothing to satisfy his curiosity, he then assumed there would be a way to video chat with an attorney, but there was no such thing. This was 2 years ago and couple months, where the problem was identified. The market and the fact that there was information you couldn’t find online beckoned at them. There idea was validated instantaneously when they already had lawyers asking to use their service. When their class project ended, Willy and his partner Tyler mutually agreed they wanted to continue what they started.
What have you guys found that made you guys successful?
The go-getter attitude is undeniably ingrained in Congo’s company culture. For example, Congo was at a tech conference where teams were standing at a booth showcasing their startups. Every team was just sitting around waiting for people to come to them while Congo was running around expending all their energy to make connections and network. Centered on a belief towards feeling obligated to solve a problem because nobody else will, can be exhausting. But the passion in every person on the team amps everyone up in a self-sustaining feedback loop. People get down, but there is always someone on the team who wants to keep pressing on. This type of perseverance is incomprehensible and emulates what any startup needs in order to fight for change.
Are you driven by the determination to succeed or the fear of failure?
What if there was no such thing as success or failure but just learning. There was comfortable learning and uncomfortable learning. Viewing the startup process as an uncomfortable learning situation makes it naturally more fun therefore being scared of failure is irrelevant to the value of the process. The team has had many uncomfortable learning experiences, which directly translate into growth in team chemistry and confidence. The belief in the vision of what Congo can do only gets stronger as the team continues to learn and grow together.
How will we interact with lawyers in the future?
Well our business model wont be valuable in the future due to the rapid growth of computer technology. Congo is based around the user and making what’s most effective and efficient for them. That’s the way Congo thinks as a company and they’ll be willing to adapt down the road. Right now the legal industry has yet to be disrupted through the democratization of lawyer consultation via an online platform. The future of lawyer consultation in the next couple years is to be able to manage your whole case online from finding your attorney to going through the legal processes to post case engagement. Possibly way far in the future, it may be just engaging with AI attorney, but Congo is aware of the trends and will be prepared to pivot to what serves its users best.
Why did your company apply to the Catalyze accelerator and how has it benefitted your company thus far?
Catalyze offers structure to the Congo family as well as a community of fellow entrepreneurs. The energy that this co-working space provides and the mentors that it offers are so valuable to a young early-stage startup. Catalyze is helping Congo gain some traction and is allowing them to approach investors with a little more than what they could before. This week over week progress is what’s accelerating their company forward and displaying a sense of urgency for Congo and its investors.