Published May 1st, 2014 at 9:00 AM
Kyle Geary — The Hale Center for Journalism
Entrepreneurs packed into the auditorium at the Kauffman Foundation on an unseasonably chilly Wednesday morning to listen to presentations from two local startups: yurJURY and My Strategic Shopping.
First up to the plate was yurJURY. Chris Lucas is the CEO and founder of the online startup which, according to him, allows lawyers to “pre-litigate their cases using online panelists.” The Kansas City–based company officially launched in March, but Lucas says that he first came up with the idea in the early 2000s. Lucas practiced law in the 1990s and wanted to find a better way to find out what his cases were worth and how jurors would react to the information presented to them.
The service has two challenges to overcome. First, it needs attorneys to use the service. yurJURY costs attorneys $500 per case, but Lucas says that is minimal for attorneys. Second, it has to persuade individuals of varying demographics to act as jurors. Lucas says that, in order to do this, they offer a small monetary incentive on a per-case basis to each juror. He believes that this information-bearing system will be widely popular amongst the law practicing community.
“The response rate from attorneys has been amazing,” Lucas said. “I have not had any negative comment from any attorney. We’ve had many of the top attorneys in Kansas City endorse it and are going to use it, they are just waiting for a case to do it.”
yurJURY’s current website is a prototype, with an ability to handle a limited number of cases per day. Lucas said that the young company is looking for developers to revamp the system and expand it to a national scale.
Closing up the presentations was Maureen Welsh from My Strategic Shopping. She is the founder of the online price matching startup, which started in 2011. She says that her service has saved customers over $38,000 in just the last four months.
“It is a grocery savings program that emphasizes price matching groceries over any other grocery savings strategy,” Welsh said “What price matching allows you to do is get the best grocery sales from the surrounding area and capture them and then shop at just one store.”
Welsh is a former litigation attorney who stopped practicing law to raise her four children. She said that the idea for the company came from a mixture of her frugal nature and her experiences with other mothers.
“When I would go to the ‘mommy and me’ play dates and would talk to the other moms, they would have the same concerns and issues that I would have had if I did not know about price matching,” Welsh said.
Welsh decided to create the service, which not only provides the lists of prices of goods, but also educates the users on the why and how of price matching.
The service is cheap. At $1.25 per week (paid quarterly at $15 every twelve weeks), the cost could be made up with the savings users receive at the cash register. Welsh is not only the founder of the company, but a customer herself.
Welsh said that while there are challenges within her business, from educating customers to balancing her time between children and work at home, she plans to eventually expand her service to Nebraska and Oklahoma.