Why we invested in Councilbox: The legaltech bringing security and legal validity to virtual meetings
- Alberto Gómez Managing Partner
We are pleased to announce our recent investment in COUNCILBOX, the leading platform for hosting and managing remote meetings that require legal validity. The €5 million Series A round was led by Adara, alongside Telefónica’s Wayra and ABANCA, and represents one of our first investments in the legaltech space. In addition to closing a Series A round of funding, COUNCILBOX welcomed Javier Polo to the team as CEO to lead the company through the next stages of internationalisation and growth.
Founded in 2015 by Galician entrepreneurs Agustín Tourón and Victor López, COUNCILBOX is a platform that helps organisations host virtual and hybrid meetings while simultaneously guaranteeing the legal validity of all discussions and decisions that take place.
As organisations seek out more secure solutions to host online shareholder meetings, assemblies, corporate committees, etc., we believe COUNCILBOX will lead the way. Here’s a look at why we’re excited to partner with the COUNCILBOX team.
The challenge: Arranging virtual or hybrid meetings with sufficient security and legal validity
There’s no shortage of recent news stories about malicious acts taking place on Zoom and other virtual meeting software. As demand for remote video conferencing tools skyrocketed in 2020, the security measures and the legal validity of platforms like Zoom came into question – especially for law firms, government organisations, and shareholder meetings.
According to a recent study by PWC and Broadridge, the number of virtual shareholder meetings in the US increased by 6x in 2020 and accounted for 39% of all meetings. However, most video conferencing platforms that exist today aren’t designed to host meetings with the traceability and legal validity that corporate and government-related meeting procedures require.
While numerous countries have passed laws to allow remote participation of shareholders via electronic means, several conditions must be met for the meeting to be considered valid. For instance, the meeting hosts must ensure real-time reception, and any recording of attendance and votes must occur through secure means.
The opportunity: Automating the legal documentation of remote and hybrid meetings
Many US states now permit virtual-only or hybrid shareholder meetings and several EU Member States have adopted legislation regarding virtual shareholder meetings, among them Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, and France. COUNCILBOX can be configured according to any legislation and is available in several languages, fulfilling the legal requirements set by individual countries.
The platform also features a secure voting system, identity verification of attendees, digital signatures, automatic minutes tracking, and more to meet the specific requirements of:
- Corporate meetings (for private companies or associations, plenary sessions, etc.)
- Elections (asynchronous, virtual, or hybrid voting for steering bodies of organisations)
- Administrative procedures
- Legal procedures (notary deeds, auctions, technical assessments, etc.)
Since launching, more than 700 organizations have used COUNCILBOX. Clients include Spain’s Ministry of Justice, the Spanish Olympic Committee, Booking.com, the Madrid Assembly, Acciona, Codere, Cuatrecasas, Solaria, Meliá Hotels, Banca March, Sacyr, the Mutual Society of the Legal Profession, and more.
In 2020, COUNCILBOX tripled its growth, hosting more than 600 meetings with more than 120,000 votes cast. In the first half of 2021, the platform has already hosted more than 450 meetings with more than 80,000 votes cast.
Uniquely qualified team
Founders Agustín Tourón and Victor López have the right domain expertise to scale COUNCILBOX’s offerings and team, possessing extensive experience in enterprise software solutions and corporate streaming services.
Agustín and Victor are joined by CEO Javier Polo, a seasoned entrepreneur and technology executive who most recently was CEO of the Spanish cloud gaming startup Playgiga, an Adara portfolio company that was acquired by Facebook in 2019. Playgiga was the first and only acquisition by Facebook in Spain to date, and we’re excited to work alongside Javier once again as he applies his deep industry knowledge and experience in growing and scaling startups to COUNCILBOX.
The Adara view: Where cybersecurity and legaltech intersect
As organisations continue to accelerate their digital transformation to ensure business continuity, we believe that hybrid meetings (physical and virtual) with legal guarantee and traceability will become the standard. We are excited to support COUNCILBOX on their mission to become a global leader in the legaltech space.