Hire an Esquire Doubles Revenue
Updated: May 17, 2022
As an attorney in a busy law firm, Julia Shapiro witnessed the growth of the contingent legal talent market firsthand. Surprised that staffing agencies hadn’t kept pace with the demand, Shapiro saw an opportunity to fill the gap. Her company, Hire an Esquire, matches law firms and other businesses with experienced legal talent from diverse practice areas on a temporary basis. The business took off, but Shapiro knew it would need capital to continue to scale. Knowing that the busy CEO didn’t have time to fundraise, a colleague introduced her to Star Strong Capital.
Staffing agencies’ business and engagement model has changed very little since the mid-20th century,” Shapiro says. “These companies are better suited to staffing interchangeable and administrative labor rather than the types of highly specialized and skilled contingent roles emerging in law, consulting, and other licensed and highly regulated industries.” Shapiro’s idea was to use technology to bridge the gap between the legal industry and the gig economy. Her company’s platform uses a proprietary algorithm to serve up pre-screened candidate matches to customer queries, making the process of finding
specialized legal talent efficient and transparent. Built-in functionality for tracking time, invoicing, and making payments further improves efficiencies.
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Shapiro needed funding to capitalize on available opportunities, but she didn’t want to fundraise. “The company is backed by seed funds and angel investment, so I was considering raising more capital, but fundraising is time consuming,” she said, adding that research shows that for underrepresented founders, like women, fundraising takes even more time and has a lower return.
Shapiro found Star Strong Capital to be a great fit for two reasons: The investment team understood her company’s values, and they were interested in both its short- and long-term success. Importantly for Shapiro, who was continuing to vet new product opportunities, the Star Strong team was also responsive, efficient, and easy to work with. “Getting additional capital from Star Strong didn’t distract us from growing our business,” she said.
“With funding from Star Strong, we had the resources we needed to meet new opportunities head on.”
—Julia Shapiro, CEO & Founder, Hire an Esquire
Since securing funding from Star Strong Capital, Hire an Esquire’s revenue has nearly doubled. Shapiro said the company wouldn’t have grown as quickly if her team had been forced to divert its attention, and time, to fundraising for the same amount of capital. “Star Strong was willing to work with us on a customized plan that worked for our business and enabled us to grow in a more efficient and focused manner. The team has been responsive, agile, and flexible in allowing us to modify our relationship to our developing and ongoing capital and business requirements,” she said. "Star Strong Capital was impressed with the Hire an Esquire product, team, and growth trajectory, and we are delighted to assist a woman founder to scale her legal talent platform." said Spring Hollis, Founder & CEO, Star Strong Capital.
Today, thanks to Star Strong, Hire an Esquire has the resources it needs to take advantage of other opportunities it has identified to further disrupt the staffing industry. “When COVID shut down all the courts and many businesses or forced them to go remote, that was a huge shock for many businesses and so many did not survive,” Shapiro said. “We were able to identify new opportunities created by remote work and changing industry norms. With our funding from Star Strong, we had the resources we needed to meet those opportunities and changes head on. This provided us with many great new ways to engage with current and new clients in fresh and more profitable ways.” The future looks promising for Hire an Esquire, which has opened offices around the company and boasts a growing network of more than 15,000 vetted legal professionals. Shapiro says her team is continuing to grow their current customer base while planning a new SaaS product launch for 2022. “I absolutely recommend Star Strong to other founders,” said Shapiro. “Working with the team has been a positive and empowering experience.”