NACHSHON GOLTZ &
Global-Regulation.com, launched Sept. 1, 2015.
CEO: Goltz is CEO.
Home base: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Day jobs: Addison is a Canadian technology lawyer (cameronhuff.com)
who works primarily with Bitcoin/ Internet startups.
Nachshon (aka Sean) is an Israeli and Canadian Lawyer; he teaches law at York University.
Education: Addison: J.D. (Queens University, Canada), Honors Bachelor of Science. Biomedical Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Nachshon: Ph.D (Can.), (Osgoode Hall Law School, Canada), LLM (Master of Laws), LLB (Bachelor of Laws). B.A. Psychology, (Haifa University, Israel).
Is this your first start-up? If not, what else have you done?
Nachshon: First. I worked as a lawyer in Israel consulting startups, high-tech companies and government organization and I was involved in the Israeli court system computerizing project. In Canada I am working on my dissertation (how to regulate the harm to children’s imagination development in virtual worlds), teaching law and publishing academic articles and book chapters on law and technology.
Addison: A friend and I started a parent teacher-interview scheduling software business in grade 12 that is still operating in several countries. (I’m no longer active.)
I run a legislature monitoring service (OntarioMonitor.ca FederalMonitor.ca) and started a flat rate legal services marketplace for Canada (flatlaw.ca).
What problem does you startup solve? Laws are being made available online by governments around the world, but people can’t find them, can’t compare them and sometimes can’t read them because they’re in another language. Users (primarily government policy staff and academics) need to conduct international legal research, but it’s time-consuming or even impossible if they don’t speak the language used in the documents. Our tool helps users access the laws and regulations that affect almost every aspect of our lives.
Global-Regulation.com is a search engine of laws and regulations from around the world. It has 320,000+ laws and regulations from 24 countries. We translate laws and regulations from non-English-speaking countries such as China, Mexico and Turkey. We aspire to eventually have all the laws available in English.
The software provides an comparative perspective of existing laws and regulations. While there are other tools on the market geared to lawyers that enable search per country, our site offers a comprehensive global search.
Among your clients: Universities: Harvard, Oxford, North Western, New York, Toronto. Units of the Ontario and Canadian governments.
Cost: Annual subscription fee is $724 CAD/year for law libraries in the U.S. and the same for government agencies, but per user (because they have many more active users). We are committed to bridging the gaps between developed and developing countries, so we employ an adjustable subscription fee based on location, calculated using the World Bank GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity.
What inspired this startup? Nachshon: I was running global-regulation.com as a service that collected regulatory case studies and indexed them. The work was manual and the process was time-consuming. I wanted to do more but didn’t have a developer to turn my ideas into a product.
Addison: OntarioMonitor.ca showed the value of providing government information, but there were difficulties in expanding the service internationally and selling. This summer, Nachshon pitched me on hiring him. We realized we were both keen on the concept of making laws accessible via an easy online search. We started selling it in September. A big success factor: in 2015 many countries made laws available online. We couldn’t have done this 10 years ago—it’s a combination of a fortuitous meeting and a worldwide movement towards making laws available to the public online.
Do you have funding yet? We are self-funded. We have received substantial in-kind support from Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. through their startup programs. This has made it possible to do the translations that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for a bootstrapped business. We started running the service based around a $10/month shared hosting account (it worked—we had paying customers).
Cheerleaders: Communitech and MaRS LegalX.
Biggest challenge: To convince enough regulators and law librarians that Global-Regulation.com is a “must have” tool.
What do you need in six months? In a year? Short term: we must expand our database to include even more countries, particularly non-English ones. We need to make key decisions about architecture so that we don’t suffocate from technical debt.
Twelve months: Convince several provincial/state governments to adopt the software. (We are currently doing a pilot at the provincial level in Canada.) Build an even better product. Get closer to our goal of a “one stop shop” for regulators.
What is next: We are expanding the database and improving the coverage. In the future we will add more person-to-person networking to connect regulators together.
Most important influencer: Nachshon: My uncle Tzvi Elpeleg who taught me to always remember where you came from—and that there are no limits to what you can reach. Addison: My father Don Huff taught me to be self-employed and played a role in the development of my government monitoring business. (He runs a media relations/lobbying firm). The importance of having role models for self-employment can’t be overestimated. People who don’t come from business families have different attitudes and perspectives.
What book changed your life: Nachshon: A book about The Chaos Theory, but I don’t recall its name. It made me realize that there is order in everything hence God.
Addison: Two books: The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek and Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom by Andrei Sakharov. Hayek’s book moved me more towards libertarian ideas. The book is still relevant today. Sakharov’s inspiring book shows that scientists can be political—and gives a direction for considering a more globalized world that we’re all responsible.
Advice for entrepreneurs: Nachshon: Never give up. Addison: Be sure you have enough money to not go broke when you’re starting your business.
Favorite vacation destination: Nachshon: Los Angeles. It reminds me of Tel Aviv (warm beach and laid back) but without the middle east in the background.
Addison: Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand. There’s a corner of the island where you can rent a shack for $12 U.S. a day and swim in the most beautiful warm water I’ve ever seen. It’s an incredibly beautiful place.
Favorite musician or group: Nachshon: Leonard Cohen. He is a dreamer. Addison: Chance The Rapper. His two (free, released online) albums are great. Why? Listen to them: http://chanceraps.com.
Favorite quote: Nachshon: “Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.”
Addison: “There are people out there that will sell you a poisoned cookie.” That quote is from my former law professor at Queen’s, Stan Corbett. He said that while talking about the need for regulation. It’s a good counterpoint to “deregulationists.”
What’s your mantra? Nachshon: “Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable.” (Paramahansa Yogananda). Addison: “It’s not so great being a lawyer at a big firm.”
Who would you want to be sitting next to you if you got stuck for 3 hours on the tarmac in a 737? Nachshon: Jean Boudrillard. A brilliant mind which I wish I had met when he was alive. I like to hear his opinion about my media theory.
Addison: Ralph Nader. I helped out with his 2008 presidential campaign and had a few good conversations with him. Unfortunately he was too busy out campaigning and I would love to be stuck with him on an airplane to chat further. He’s also surprisingly funny.
Monica Bay is a Fellow at CodeX and a freelance journalist for Bloomberg BNA Big Law Business. She is a member of the California bar. Twitter: @MonicaBay Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.