Published: 06th August 2020
This is why even the Dept of Justice believes in this Mumbai-based LegalTech platform
Presolv360 is committed to resolving commercial disputes online, without it going to court, via their platform which the three founders have been building since three years now. This is their story
It's painful to see family businesses being torn apart in court and with it, the family ties as well. Namita Shah experienced this when she was completing her articleship at a CA firm that dealt mostly with jewellery businesses run by families who would, more often than not, file for bankruptcy owing to disputes. Then there is Aman Sanghavi who hails from an insurance and management background. He was incensed with how insurance companies would take their own sweet time when it came to claim settlement for families. Then there is Bhaven Shah. His father's litigation was so long-drawn that the Supreme Court itself told him, 'This was started before you, by your father and it will only end after you, with your child, Why don't you settle?'
Wait, let's ask around first
Settle. This word got the trio, who had first-hand experience of looking at commercial disputes, thinking. While settling out of court happens 96 per cent of the time in the US, why is it not more common in India. So the three friends (Namita and Bhaven studied in the same college while Aman was Bhaven's friend) conducted a survey about out of court settlements. The 1,000 participants of the survey included IAS officers, lawyers, judges, businessmen and so on. Suffice it is to say that they found out that most of them were not even aware that one could legally settle out of court. And that's where it all started.
The trio started organising negotiations and mediations by themselves to understand how it's done. "After settling each case, we would go back to the drawing board to understand how we could automate the process and then, scale it," says Namita who is 29, as are Bhaven and Aman. They took up issues like will and inheritance, money recovery, B2B disputes and resolved it as per the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Then they built a platform that could resolve commercial disputes online. Enter Presolv360. Not only does the platform resolve disputes in 45 days (maximum), it does so from the comfort of your office or home and is cost-effective. "COVID has only accelerated the importance of Online Dispute Resolution platforms," points out the CA.
The trio | (Pic: Presolv360)
But how did the three innovators actually set up this LegalTech start-up in 2017? "This is not a platform for people who are from legal or the tech background. Working with this platform is as easy as creating a GMail account, it is easy to use and really easy to use," says Namita who is an alumna of Government Law College, Mumbai. They began their negotiation services in 2018 and their arbitration services in March this year.
Show 'em how it's done
The first service they offer is that when two parties enter into a contract, a dispute resolution clause becomes a part of it. Which is, for a nominal fee, it is agreed that neither of the parties will drag the other to court when a dispute arises and will resolve it on the portal. Upon filing the preliminary questions during disputes, they can opt for arbitration, mediation or negotiation and the entire process will be conducted on their platform itself. Their dispute resolution professionals conduct the resolution proceedings via the platform.
Similarly, during negotiations all you have to do is sign up on the platform, invite the other person to do the same and via third party help, the negotiations are carried forward. Sounds far-fetched? Namita can convince you with just two points. "We have resolved over 200 commercial and family disputes. Also, we are recognised by the Department of Justice, Government of India," she says. Woah! How did that happen? "In 2018, we approached them and demonstrated how our portal works. They were convinced almost immediately and enlisted us as an (ODR) Online Dispute Resolution body," the Mumbaikar explains.
A major challenge has been that the awareness about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and ODR platforms are very low. Also, law and technology are looked at as opposite ends of the spectrum. "And what we are trying to do is marry both the concepts," says Namita. Well, in the light of the fact that it will take over 300 years for all the pending cases in the Indian court to be resolved, we better start believing in platforms like theirs.
For more on them, check out presolv360.com