Fondia opened its first international office in Stockholm in March 2012. It feels as if we would have been in Stockholm a lot longer. After all, since then we’ve also opened two other new offices; one in Tallinn, Estonia and the other in Seinäjoki, Finland.
The legal services market in Sweden is 2.5 times bigger than in Finland, which offers us interesting growth opportunities. The legal systems have lots of commonality, and Fondia’s products and services (e.g. the Legal Department Service where you can purchase in-house type legal service at a fixed monthly fee) are “exportable” more or less as they are. So, building a business in a new country is possible for Fondia without big investments in product development. Fondia’s free legal database, VirtualLawyer , is the only product that will demand quite a lot of localization work before we can launch it in Sweden. The work is progressing well and we hope to launch that later this year also in Sweden.
Fondia’s first year in Sweden has been promising, and our revenue and customer base has grown steadily. Fondia resides in an office hotel and we have a fantastic team of four lawyers and two more are about to be recruited. At the end of this year or in beginning of 2014 we will open Fondia House, our own, bigger office in Stockholm, for which we are looking for suitable premises.
A lot has happened in the Swedish legal services market over the past year. Fondia has got some interesting new competitors, and it feels like Fondia’s example has had an influence on the service offering. We are very happy to see competitors thinking along the same new lines; many things are happening in the legal industry internationally. Fondia is happy to be part of the innovation movement and looks forward to rewriting the legal industry. We are also building our partner network and looking forward to discussing with the other innovators on how we can work together to change this industry and provide seamless legal support in different countries through collaboration.
Fondia’s role and plan in Estonia is a bit different than in Sweden. In Estonia, Fondia is not as much striving for finding local customers for local legal assignments rather than offering services to Finnish, Swedish and other international customers. When it comes to Estonian companies, we mainly offer services for their Finnish and Swedish operations. The Tallinn office will also manage our operations in other Baltic countries. In these countries we will function mainly through local partners, at least for the time being.
We are also looking for new talent for our Tallinn office. Otherwise our business in Tallinn is in such an early stage that I will wait a while before taking a more specific on stand on it.
We will continue to build the Swedish and Baltic business and enhance and deepen our partner network with other innovative law firms. We will also continue to market our legal department services to international companies having operations in Finland as we see that they would greatly benefit from the legal department service where our experienced lawyers would take an overall responsibility for their Finnish legal needs at a fixed monthly fee. We are providing legal department service e.g. to Sappi and Thyssen Group, check their statements at http://www.fondia.com/en/company/our-clients/ ). We have also received some interesting applications from lawyers in new countries.
Our internalization is progressing well and by the end of the year it is time to think of Fondia’s next steps, so stay tuned!