Ved Nathwani is a 19 yo dreamer, innovator and creator. He is a first-year law student at QMUL and the Founder & Host of The Exploratory Journey, a podcast exploring the evolving nature of work, business and society with the aim of inspiring the next generation. He is also the co-host of NextGen VC, a podcast demystifying VC for Gen Z. Ved is the Founder and Managing Director of Cataclysm Ventures, the world’s first LegalTech Angel syndicate.
Please tell me a little about your journey into the world of legal tech and venture capital.
I’m just finished my first year of studying law at QMUL. I first came across LegalTech a few years ago whilst preparing my application for law school and reading about the transformation the legal industry was facing in the midst of technological growth. At the time I didn’t think much about it, but over time my fascination grew. I kind of fell into venture capital quite by accident, through working with startups like Dffrnt, I got exposure to venture which ultimately led to me taking up roles at Ada Ventures, Social Impact Capital (SIC) and The Queen Mary Social Venture Fund (QMSVF). I fell in love with the fast-paced and impactful nature of early-stage VC, but started to think about combining both my growing interest in Legaltech and that of VC.
How did you start a legal tech investing syndicate? For those who do not know what a syndicate is, can you please define it?
The whole reasoning behind it was that traditional early-stage capital was not flowing to LegalTechs as it was into other verticals. After doing significant amounts of research I realised that many LegalTech startups were being funded by angel investors at pre-seed and seed stages. The reality was, however, that there was little structure to this. Cataclysm is a LegalTech angle syndicate and community, aimed at fostering and supporting the growth of early-stage Legaltech startups. I’m aiming for the syndicate to essentially become a community of angel investors who are interested in investing as a unit in LegalTech companies. The way I see the broader role of the syndicate is not only the provision of capital but also the sharing of knowledge and insights around LegalTech. The syndicate is still in its infancy and is not in full shape or form, I'm still experimenting with different ways in which I want it to function.
As a law student, how do you manage your podcast, your syndicate, and your law student duties?
This is a very good question! I get it a lot and honestly, I’m not fully sure. There are however a number of things that have helped, this includes properly time-blocking and also making use of to-do lists. I’m also a HUGE fan of Notion, which helps me keep track of everything (I’m going to be organising my notion after answering these questions haha). In order to fully manage everything, I can end up planning weeks or even months in advance. It must also be said that trying to balance everything does sometimes lead to sacrifices regarding things like socialising.
How would you define legal tech and why?
A lot of people see legal tech as technology, which aids the provision of legal services. However, I see it as slightly broader. In my opinion, Legaltech is any form of technology which has a legal element to it. For instance, if one views the role of a lawyer as someone who helps mitigate risk, then any software relating to risk or risk management falls into Legaltech. Similarly, if you follow that notion then cyber security products, which are built to mitigate against cyber risk, also then can be classified as Legaltech.