Lexop, the Montreal-based, soon-to-be 500 Startups alumni, is solving the traceability of digital assets conundrum the old-fashioned way: via email.
There is a simple reason why there are still bailiffs everywhere handing out printed notices to people: courts, firms and companies can certify that the message has been received and read by the recipient. Amir Tajkarimi, who studied Law for 7 years before founding Lexop, knows this. And the solution he created to digitize this process, albeit simple in appearance, is ingenious enough to make his startup part of the most recent cohort of projects selected by the famous 500 Startups accelerator.
Lexop is part of 18 startups (among over 3000 candidates) who will get to pitch its concept during a Demo Day at the end of this month, hoping to attract the much-needed capital that will help it expand in the US market.
The concept is straightforward: a web interface allows anyone with an email address to use Lexop’s platform, which secures, tracks and certifies that an email containing timely and sensitive information has reached (or not) its destination. This is crucial for law firms and real estate brokers who want to reduce the paperwork by digitizing their communications.
«To be admissible in court, it is mandatory that the exchange of documents be certified. That’s why there are still bailiffs around: it’s hard to say if an email of even a text message has been received and read», M. Tajkarimi explains.
So far, Lexop’s service is used by over 500 law firms in North America. However, real esatate agents use it a lot too, and account for over 70% of the Montreal company’s business. Many other businesses could also use such a technology, adds its founder. «It can make invoicing and payment collection easier, or it can be used to send special promotions and track if it’s been received or opened.»
Paying the bills
In theory, every transaction can be made easier and faster via email, if it’s properly secured and tracked. A surprising amount of people don’t open all their mail, or lose envelopes and bills, resulting in overdue payments. Emails can help solve this issue, Lexop believes.
«There are three problems with collecting overdue payments: people sometimes lose their mail, collecting agencies don’t do a very good public-relations job for your company, and we also found out that a simple “Pay Now” button in an email is simple enough that people will pay their bills faster than if they have to log into their bank’s online platform.»
To prove that, Lexop will soon announce a major partnership with a large Canadian retail chain that’ll help collect data on the way the technology works. Obviously, e-mail is not the blockchain. In fact, it’s as old as the Internet itself. But it can help bridge the gap between old habits and the digital world, while a functional, blockchain-based technology emerges for real.
Lexop actually has developers working on such a platform. In the meantime, by tracking and certifying email exchanges (and maybe text messages soon, too, although that is quite a challenge, admits Amir Tajkarimi), Lexop helps more traditional industries to move toward adopting newer technologies which might lead them, one day, to jump onto the digital and distributed ledger bandwagon.
It’s still just e-mail. But it is disruptive enough for 500 Startups.