Interview with Victoria Kopylov: CCO of Pocketlaw, former General Counsel of KRY
“ GDPR and other data protection laws are not there to stop us from using personal data. We have to learn from data to improve the quality of life for people! ”
Over the last 10 years Victoria Kopylov has become a black belt in navigating the legal roadblocks of digital transformation. In industries as diverse as music, health, and legal services she has challenged the status quo and played a key part in ground breaking changes. Her start-up journey started with Spotify, which led to becoming the general counsel for digital health care provider KRY. Her latest endeavor is as CCO for the digital legal saas platform, PocketLaw.
We sat down for a virtual chat with Victoria, to understand her recipe for changing industries without breaking the law.
What are the most common reactions you have gotten when introducing new solutions like KRY?
Victoria: When KRY started to take off, doctors and politicians used to claim that what we did was fraud! What we did was fully legal, but it was unregulated and that led to a lot of suspicion. Many people saw that the current way of doing things was not working, but they were still reluctant to try something new. People are generally terrified of changes and they will go to great lengths to prevent them, primarily because of fear I think.
What is required by the next generation of startups that digitalize more complex areas, such as health or legal services?
Victoria: You need to work together with the existing market players. As a small upstart you can’t take on a big established market on your own, you need alliances. Where would Spotify be if they hadn’t gotten the record labels onboard from day one? You need to build relationships. Find people who feel confident enough in their profession that they don’t feel threatened, and who have the drive and passion to change things because the current status isn’t good enough.
Who is the first customer or partner? What characterizes those persons or companies?
Victoria: Early adopters are curious, confident in their expertise, and don’t feel the same fear of losing what they have today — or at least that there is more to gain with something new. These are the lawyers that don’t feel right about charging 100 000 SEK for off-the-shelf agreements and see the need to change that, although it might hurt them short term. These are the doctors that see that people don’t get the healthcare they deserve because the healthcare system is inefficient, and acknowledge that you can’t just accept that because of unclear or outdated legal frameworks.
How should innovative companies handle laws and regulations that cement the existing ways of doing things?
Victoria: I think it’s important to be strategic in your legal approach, which means that you need to balance risk and return. If there is a big potential gain or value, especially for the “greater good of humanity”, you could take calculated legal risks combined with large efforts in explaining why a certain interpretation of the law is needed to generate that value for the masses. I see a lot of companies that I believe are too risk averse with legal considerations, which slows them down and risk losing that value. One example is the use of personal data. GDPR and other data protection laws are not there to stop us from using personal data. We have to learn from data to improve. The laws are there to make sure that we use the data in a transparent way and for good purposes that could (hopefully) improve quality of our lives — long term and for many.
How can you influence lawmakers to change regulations?
Victoria: When it was suggested to launch KRY in Germany, digital healthcare as such was actually illegal, so instead of launching fully like in Sweden, we did pilot projects in collaboration with the authorities. Now it is finally legal and digital healthcare is booming in Germany, and I’d like to think we supported that change!