Matthew Asir, a second-year in the University of Chicago College, was recently named to Forbes’ ninth annual 30 Under 30 list. An intended astrophysics major, Asir was recognized for founding The Legal Bullet, a legal-tech startup whose goal is to assist people with the United States' visa application process.
Released this past December, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list recognizes young people who have made significant contributions to one of 20 different industries, like education, finance and marketing. This year, panels of industry experts selected a total of 600 honorees from a pool of around 15,000 candidates. Asir joins many UChicago students and graduates who have previously made the list. Also selected this year was alumna Sofia Gross, AB’15, for her work with Snap, Inc., including a campaign that helped over 400,000 Snapchatters register to vote.
“I founded The Legal Bullet with the goal of making the immigration process easy and affordable,” said Asir. “In doing so, my hope is to encourage legal immigration in the employment arena and thereby spur economic growth and entrepreneurship.”
At just 22 years of age, Asir was one of the youngest of this year’s 30 Under 30 honorees. His work was deemed a significant contribution to the fields of law and policy by a panel that included former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe.
Harnessing technology for good
Born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, Asir attended high school in London. Shortly before beginning his studies at UChicago in the fall of 2018, he founded The Legal Bullet to address what he believed were major deficiencies in the United States’ immigration system.
“Currently, the process for a getting a visa to come to America is extremely expensive, time-consuming and complicated,” noted Asir. “A number of tech firms have tried to solve this by creating ‘do it yourself,’ TurboTax-esque platforms for visa applicants. However, a purely technological approach simply doesn’t work in an area of law as complex as immigration, and that’s where we come in.”
The Legal Bullet’s services combine the best that technology and human assistance have to offer. After inputting basic personal information into an online platform, users are placed in touch with an attorney who can walk them through the later, more complicated stages of the visa application process.
“We believe in using technology to streamline the visa application process as much as possible,” said Asir. “By automating most of the process and using a hand-picked network of immigration attorneys, we are usually able to reduce the overall cost of the process by around 60%, which can add up to thousands of dollars of savings for the client in question.”
Asir’s experience at the University has helped shape the way he has run The Legal Bullet over the past two years. His experience with The Legal Bullet has also had a reciprocal effect on his studies.
“The sorts of analytical skills that you learn in the Core have been absolutely invaluable for me,” said Asir. “Moreover, after gaining firsthand experience with running a company, I actually decided to change my major to astrophysics – something I’ve always been passionate about – because I felt that it would further develop my analytical skills.”
In the future, Asir believes that The Legal Bullet has considerable room for growth. The increasing pace of digitalization and globalization all but ensures that cheap, accessible and technologically up-to-date services like Asir’s will play an increasingly influential role in society.
“Personally, I believe that one of the biggest trends that we’ll see in business through the 2020s is companies using tech to eliminate geography as a restraint on talent,” said Asir. “Many companies have already taken advantage of tech to change the way companies hold conferences and communicate internally, but fewer have tried to use technology to fix the lags in the immigration system. I think my company has the potential to fill this need.”
As for being recognized by Forbes, Asir feels nothing but gratitude.
“It’s such an honor to have made the list at all, let alone to be one of the youngest entrepreneurs in any category,” he said. “I feel incredibly fortunate that I’ve been able to get this far with The Legal Bullet without any external funding. And I’m lucky that I’ve still had plenty of time to focus on my studies at UChicago, too.”