For any promising startup, winning $100,000 in a pitch competition can be game-changing. For San Antonio-based Easy Expunctions, winning the Capitol Factory $100,000 cash investment out of 151 San Antonio-area entrepreneurs competing in the pitch challenge Tuesday at Geekdom is a resounding vote of confidence in founder Yousef Kassim and his startup’s legal document automation service.
For people seeking an expunction, a legal process for permanently removing certain types of arrests, charges, or convictions from a person’s public records, Easy Expunctions offers an online legal software service that checks a person’s record for eligibility without the need to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees for traditional legal services. Kassim developed patented software algorithms based on a state’s laws for obtaining expunctions and created an automated system to determine which criminal records are eligible for expungement from public databases. A person with a record of minor offenses can check Easy Expunction’s website for an immediate response to eligibility for the expunction service for which Kassim charges roughly $500.
“What I admire most about Yousef is that his business concept is built on a noble cause—helping people to move past mistakes they’ve made that don’t need to remain on their record,” San Antonio lawyer David Jones said.
Easy Expunction’s affordable service is a boom for many employees seeking jobs but who have a record of minor offenses and cannot afford the typical expungement fees of about $1,400 for lawyers working in Bexar county, with some cases costing as much as $2,500 or more.
“We’ll be adding the investment we won tonight to the rest of the money we’re raising as part of our next round,” Kassim said. “We’re looking forward to working with Capitol Factory as we position the company for exciting growth.”
As winner of the Capitol Factory’s Funding Day, Easy Expunctions will receive the cash investment in a convertible note, special access to an A-List of Texas’ top entrepreneurs, a year of unlimited co-working access at both Capital Factory and Geekdom, access to the Capital Factory mentor network, company formation by startup law firm Kastner & Gravelle if needed, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in free hosting credits from cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Rackspace cloud services.
“We really liked their clear value proposition, and they’ve shown how they’ve gained traction with their service,” Capitol Factory co-founder and executive director Joshua Baer said. “They also have shown the ability to execute and get the job done—they are a great example of a startup that can scale up nationally with capital.”
The Capital Factory ‘s mission is to be the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas. A group of 24 investors, mentors and entrepreneurs traveled Tuesday from Austin on a chartered Von Lane bus to Geekdom in San Antonio where the Capital Factory investment challenge took place. This is the Capital Factory’s second investment challenge at Geekdom; the inaugural challenge was held in December. Baer said the Capitol Factory team is already planning their return trip to Geekdom sometime in summer, with plans to return quarterly.
“San Antonio is growing, it’s the best it has ever been,” Baer said. “It makes sense to return to Geekdom and the great companies it attracts.”
For Baer, thinking strategically about fostering startup growth means thinking beyond only Austin and approaching growth holistically across the major markets in Texas, which can serve both business-to-business (B2B) services as well as business-to-customer (B2C) companies like Easy Expunctions.
“A startup like Easy Expunction that is a B2C company can expand its services across Texas first before scaling nationally,” Baer added.
The 151 participants in the challenge this time were not all tech companies.
“The great pitches we heard today showed the caliber of people developing startups at Geekdom,” Geekdom CEO David Garcia said. “There was an incredible diversity of business propositions, from blockchain applications to medical tech to services.”
Kassim intends to stay in San Antonio as he works to scale up Easy Expunctions.
“We are as committed to staying in San Antonio as [Spurs coach Greg] Popovich,” he said.
Featured image is of Capitol Factory co-founder Joshua Baer taking a selfie with Capitol Factory Challenge winner and Easy Expunctions founder Yousef Kassim (R). Photo credit: Iris Gonzalez.